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Netherlands

Geography & Topography

Capital: Amsterdam, 783.364 inhabitants

Area:  41,543 square kilometers

Language: Dutch (official), Frisian (official)

Religion: Roman Catholic 30%, Protestant 20% (Dutch Reformed 11%, Calvinist 6%, other Protestant 3%), Muslim 5.8%, other 2.2%, none 42%

Currency: Euro

History

The Netherlands is a country located in the North-West of Europe with Belgium and Germany as its neighbouring countries. The country was a founding member of NATO and the EEC (now the EU), and participated in the introduction of the euro in 1999. In October 2010, the former Netherlands Antilles was dissolved and the three smallest islands – Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba became special municipalities in the Netherlands administrative structure. The larger islands of Sint Maarten and Curacao joined the Netherlands and Aruba as constituent countries forming the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Performing Arts

Music

The most recognisable instruments in traditional Dutch music are:

Draaiorgel: This is one of the instruments most commonly associated with Amsterdam, and indeed Holland in general. Despite actually being of Italian origin, the use of the draaiorgel in Amsterdam is widespread. This is a large instrument which can best be described as an automatic pipe organ, and generally has interesting design externally.

 

 

 

 

 

Beiaard

Beiaard

 

Beiaard: This is an instrument which consists of various bells linked together. It can vary in size with the largest being quite a sight to behold. The beiaard in the mint tower in Amsterdam is one of the more famous examples and is well worth a visit.

 

 

 

Fanfare

 

 

Fanfare: In this sort of music a procession of people will walk together playing different instruments, which can include drums, saxophone and the trumpet. Generally it is traditional Dutch music which is played, especially during events. It will be rare to find a festive event in Holland which does not include a fanfare.

 

 

Dance

There is great variety in dance in the Netherlands. The traditional dance is the Dutch folk dance, however this is hardly practised anymore. Many Dutch practise ballroom dancing, but also salsa, due to the immigrants from Surinam and Dutch Antilles, and line dance is very popular. Also tango has a large following.

Many young girls start their dancing career with classical ballet and jazz dance.

Only a few dances are invented by the Dutch. Most of the Folk Dances are Scottish in origin. The Dutch are inventors of Hakken, which was mainly danced in the Hardcore techno and Gabber scene in the Nineties. Jumpen, which was invented in Belgium, developed further in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is one of the leading countries in the Brazilian version of zouk (a successor to lambada).

The reality show and competition Dancing with the Stars has popularized Ballroom dancing and the Dutch version of So You Think You Can Dance helps the popularity of modern dance in the Netherlands. Ice dance has been popularised by the TV shows Dancing on Ice and Sterren Dansen Op Het IJs.

 

Some interesting facts:

  • There are around 16 million bicycles in Holland, which supposedly means almost one for every inhabitant.
  • The highest point in the country is called the ‘mountain’ and it is as much as 323 meters high.
  • Hollanders usually have a bunch of flowers in their living rooms.
  • Holland has the highest museum density in the world, with almost 1000 museums.

 

Dutch Community in Australia:

More information on the Dutch community: