Quick Notes on the Netherlands

– While many commonly refer to the country as Holland, this term only encompasses two of the twelve Dutch provinces: Noord (North) Holland and Zuid (South) Holland.

– The three largest Dutch cities – Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Den Haag (The Hague) – are each located in the two provinces that make up Holland. This is a likely explanation for the innocent mistake of using the term Holland when one is really referring to the entire country.

– The region that includes Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg is called Benelux.

– Amsterdam is appropriately known as a tourist hotspot for not just the Netherlands but all of Europe. In the warmer summer months, it can get quite crowded, so much so that the national tourism board encourages tourists to visit anywhere in the Netherlands other than Amsterdam. The New York Times recently suggested Delft and The Hague for tourists looking for a quieter and more intimate experience than in Amsterdam. You can read more on that here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/06/12/travel/traveling-europe-summer-crowds.html

– The most recognizable Dutch staples might be beer and cheese. Heineken is one of the best-known beers worldwide and the village of Gouda gained notoriety for its cheese of the same moniker. Architectural and engineering features such as canals, dikes, and windmills are commonly associated with the Dutch landscape.

– The three largest Dutch cities each pique the interest of tourists for unique reasons. Amsterdam houses historic museums and is shaped by intricate canal paths. Rotterdam is known internationally as an architectural hub, with sleek, bold design influencing the city. The Hague is home to renowned institutions such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICC has a relationship with the UN Security Council, while the ICJ is the main judicial arm of the United Nations.

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