How to survive your stay in the Netherlands, check the practical guide for living in Holland.
The Netherlands (or ‘Holland’) is a kingdom in Western Europe. A large portion of the country lies below sea level (’Nederland’ means ‘low country’). The landscape is flat; it is only in the south of the country that you will find a few modest hills. You will notice straightaway that people of all different nationalities live here side by side. In their work and in their lives, the Dutch are used to great cultural diversity. This is possibly why their English – and often their French and German – is so good.
… and delightfully equal
The Netherlands is a free country. You can say what you want to anyone here. Everyone is equal: for example, patients find that doctors are very approachable, and students can go up to lecturers at any time. You will soon get used to this.
Free time and lifestyle
There is much to see and plenty to do in the Netherlands. The cities and villages all have calendars crammed with festivities throughout the year. Many Dutch people like to spend time socialising with friends and, though not known for their haute cuisine, cooking and dining together is a popular pastime. International dishes are a particular favourite and readily available in supermarkets and restaurants. Pasta dishes, rice or curry are frequently enjoyed here and are eaten with just as much (if not more!) relish as authentic Dutch stew with meatballs.
On your bike
In the Netherlands, there is no need for you to have a car: public transport (train, bus) can take you wherever you want to go. A real must-have – and cheap, too! – is a bike. Like many millions of Dutch people, you will find cycling a quick way to get from A to B, especially in a busy city.
Holland has an open economy that has maintained an international focus for centuries. Strong, well-known Dutch brands and products have found their way into countries all over the world, where they have become firmly embedded in the local culture. Just think of Shell, Heineken, Philips and TomTom.
The Netherlands lies in Western Europe. The Netherlands is easily accessible, has one of the largest ports in the world and an airport from where you can fly to every corner of the earth. This is why the Netherlands is a major importing and exporting country. It is also an excellent base from which to travel to other countries in Europe.
Distances from Breda
- Amsterdam 108 km = 1 hour by train
- Antwerp 57 km = 1 hour by train
- Brussels 98 km = 2 hours by train
- Paris 410 km = 3.5 hours by train
Distances from 's-Hertogenbosch
- Amsterdam 93 km = 1 hour by train
- Antwerp 103 km = 1.5 hours by train
- Brussels 155 km = 2.5 hours by train
- Paris 460 km = 4 hours by train
Watch the More than windmills and clogs video to learn more about centuries of innovation in the Netherlands: