The Kingdom of the Netherlands or the Netherlands (Nederland) is often mistakenly referred to as ‘Holland’, which accounts for only 2 of the 12 connected regions that make up the country.
The Netherlands began its independent life as a republic in the 16th century. It’s foundations lie in flourishing trade of its maritime exploits, which placed this tiny but rich country at the forefront of European culture.
Water plays an integral part of the national psyche as well as its geography. An estimated 20% of the total area is water, and much of the land has been reclaimed from the North Sea in efforts which date back to medieval times and have spawned an extensive system of dykes. It’s capital Amsterdam, has gleaned its character from land reclamation, being built around an intricate canal system.
The Netherlands, is a lively mix of tradition, with its windmills, clogs and tulips, and fast-paced modern European life. It’s an ideal destination for those who enjoy pursuits like cycling or walking, there is a strong tradition of outdoor activities and partly due to its accessibility, the country side is well used. But it is a cultured land as well, having produced many of the world’s most famous artists from Rembrandt and Vermeer in the 17th century to Van Gogh in the 19th and Mondrian in the 20th.