10 FACTS ABOUT THE NETHERLANDS THAT YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW
A small introduction to my home country.
- •Weed is technically not legal. It is actually illegal, but 'tolerated' because of a terrible policy. So, surprisingly, pot is more legal in Alaska and Colorado than in the Netherlands.The drug law was already kind of disfunctional before, but about a year ago it has become completely ridiculous. Pot shops (we call them coffee shops, even though nobody ever visits one to get some coffee) are allowed to sell it and to have a small amount in storage. However, they are not allowed to grow it themselves or buy it from a grower. This means that the pot is supposed to magically appear in their storage. I bet the person who wrote the law was pretty damn high when they wrote it.
- •Dutch people are on average the tallest in the world.The average Dutch woman is 171 cm (5'6") tall, and the average Dutch man is 184 cm (6'0") tall.
- •In 2001 the Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.
- •The Dutch landscape is pretty much completely flat, aside from a few hills.The top highest hill/mountain, the Vaalserberg in the south east, (mountain is too much credit, really) is 322.7 metres (1059 feet) above sea level. In addition, 26% of the county's surface is below sea level, and approximately 2/3s of the country is in danger of flooding if the sea level gets too high. We're screwed when the dikes break. This is also why we take global warming very seriously.
- •The Netherlands has the most expensive royal family in Western Europe.Yes, it's more expensive than the British royal family. This surprised me.
- •The Netherlands and Holland are strictly not the same thing, even though the country is marketed as such abroad.Holland is an area of the Netherlands that consists of the coastal provinces North Holland, South Holland, and a part of Utrecht.
- •The country is famous for its tulips, but those actually originate from Turkey.
- •One of the country's 12 provinces, Flevoland, is less than 100 years old and is completely made of reclaimed land.It is about three times as big as Manhattan.
- •The Netherlands was the first country in the world with designated bike lanes, which can be found all over the country.There are over 19 million functioning bicycles in the country. That's more than 1 per person, as there are 16.9 million people living here.
- •As you may have heard in Pulp Fiction, most Dutch people dip their fries in mayonaise.Though ketchup, peanut sauce, and curry ketchup are also popular.