The Netherlands at a glance
|Official country name:||Kingdom of The Netherlands|
|Area:||41,000 square kilometre|
|Education:||Aged 25 to 64: primary education 15%, secondary 65%, higher 28%, other 2% Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over virtually 100%|
|Capital city:||Amsterdam (population 820,000)|
|People:||Over 95% of the population are Dutch, |
5 % Indonesian, Surinamese, Turkish, African
|Life Expectancy:||Female 83 ; Male 80|
|Languages:||The official language is Dutch which is spoken by almost the entire population. The principal minority language is Frisian while English is also widely understood|
|Government:||Constitutional monarchy, stable democracy|
|Banks:||Mondays - Fridays from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00/5:00 p.m.|
|Post offices:||Mondays - Fridays from 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. |
Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
|Shops:||Mondays - Fridays from 9.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m. |
Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Either Thursday night or Friday night from 7.00 p.m. - 9.00 p.m.
ElectricityThe voltage in Holland is 220 volts. Hotels may have 110/120 volt outlets for shavers, but travellers are advised to bring a power converter and adapter for two-prong, round-prong plugs.
Medical FacilitiesMedical facilities are of high quality and widely available. Customers' medical insurances are not always valid in the Netherlands; please check before coming here. Travellers have sometimes found it necessary to take out extra medical insurance with specific overseas coverage.
SmokingSmoking is increasingly banned by companies and in public buildings as organisations are becoming increasingly concerned at the health risks to their employees, as well as wanting to create healthier living and working environments. Most organisations set aside specific areas where smoking is allowed. The majority of hotels and restaurants have smoking and non-smoking rooms and public areas.
Alcohol and drugsA person can legally buy beer and wine from the age of 18 years. For spirits and other strong drinks the age limit is also 18 years. Alcoholic beverages are sold at wine stores and supermarkets. Supermarkets may only sell beer, wine and alcoholic beverages with an alcohol level not exceeding 13%.
Drinking and driving. It is a criminal offence to ride a bicycle under the influence of alcohol (measured at over 0.05 % blood-alcohol level).
Drug trafficking, including buying, selling, producing and processing either hard or soft drugs is an offence in Holland. However, it is not an offence for persons over 18 to use a limited amount of soft drugs as long as this has no negative effect on third parties. The 'coffee shops', where soft drugs may be purchased, can be described as cafés where small amounts of soft drugs can be bought, but where alcoholic beverages are not available. Although the sale of soft drugs is actually an offence, coffee shop owners escape prosecution provided that they sell only very small quantities for personal consumption. No drugs may be sold to persons under 18, nor are minors admitted to these premises.
Climate in Holland
The Netherlands has a temperate sea climate being influenced by the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. As it is a small country there is very little variation in climate between the regions, although the influence of the sea is rather less the further inland (eastwards) you go. This sometimes results in the dramatic, cloudy skies, which can often be seen perfectly expressed in the paintings of the Dutch masters. Rainfall is distributed throughout the year, with the dryer period between April and September. This is also the best period for cycling, temperature-wise. Late Spring, i.e. beginning of April to the beginning of May is a good time for cycling along the bulb fields which are in full bloom at that time.
Weights & Measures
|1 ton = 1016.048 kg (kilogram)||1 cup = 0.24 l (liter)||1 inch = 2.54 cm (centimeter)|
|1 pound = 0.45 kg||1 pint = 0.47 l||1 foot = 30.5 cm|
|1 ounce = 28 gr (gram)||1 gallon = 3.78 l||1 yard = 91.5 cm|
|1 dram = 1.77 gr||1 quart = 0.95 l||1 mile = 1.6 km (kilometer)|
|1 acre = 0.45 ha (hectare)|
Money & CurrencyAll major credit cards are accepted in the Netherlands, although not every outlet accepts them. In virtually every village or town you can get money from a cash dispenser (ATM) using your foreign bank or credit card and providing it has the Cirrus logo on it.
The currency in the Netherlands is the 'Euro'. The so-called 'euro zone' consists of the Member States (countries) of the European Union where the euro has been adopted as the single currency. The euro zone currently includes Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Cyprus, Malta, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The symbol for the euro € was inspired by the Greek letter epsilon and refers to the first letter of the word "Europe". The two parallel lines at the centre represent the stability of the euro. The official abbreviation for the euro is EUR.