Life in the Netherlands
What does it mean to be a dutch

Life in the Netherlands

Whether it's the Dutches' egalitarian approach, friendliness, the fact that the country was the first to legalize gay marriage, the generally low crime rate, the expanding economy and great work-life balance, Dutch gezelligheid, the hash, the boats, or even the windmills, depending on who you ask, you'll get different answers to what's wonderful about being an expat in the Netherlands – perhaps as many as there are expats. Anyway, here are some facts below about life in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands' name reflects its low-lying topography, with more than a quarter of its total area under sea level.

Now a constitutional monarchy, the country began its independent life as a republic in the 16th century, when the foundations were laid for it to become one of the world's foremost maritime trading nations.

Although traditionally among the keener advocates of the European Union, Dutch voters echoed those in France by spurning the proposed EU constitution in a 2005 referendum.

The Netherlands has 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. It attracts visitors from across the globe.

The Netherlands has an extraordinarily strong economy for its size. It’s a leader in service industries such as banking, electronics (Philips) and multimedia (PolyGram), and it has a highly developed horticultural industry dealing in bulbs and cut flowers. Agriculture plays an important role, particularly dairy farming and glasshouse fruits and vegetables. Rotterdam harbor handles the largest shipping tonnage in the world, a vital facility in a country that provides more than one-third of Europe’s shipping and trucking. Large supplies of natural gas are tapped and refined on the northeast coasts.

Dutch business is largely dependent on exports and has been caught in a larger downturn in Europe and the USA. The last five years have seen a slowdown in the economy, which is a marked change from the heady ’90s when the Dutch economy was the envy of Europe. While the country’s unemployment rate (6.5%) is not the best in Europe, it’s still lower than those of its closest neighbors, Germany (11.6%), Belgium (8.4%) and France (10%). 

healthcare system in the netherlands

The healthcare system in the Netherlands is largely recognized as one of the greatest in the world. Of course, this does not stop individuals from complaining — Dutch healthcare is largely non-interventionist. Despite the fact that doctors do not dish out pharmaceuticals carelessly, the Netherlands spends about 10% of its GDP on health.

A Dutch doctor (huisarts) is in charge of collecting all of your medical data and serving as the gatekeeper to all other sorts of medical care, so they will be your first point of contact if you have a health concern (unless it's an emergency, of course). They can handle common health concerns, do standard gynecological and paediatric checkups, and recommend you to additional services such as hospitals, specialists, home midwifery, and physiotherapy. Appointments are typically 15 minutes or less in length.

EDUcation in the netherlands

For their children, who are required by law to begin school at the age of five, expats must choose between an international school in the Netherlands and a Dutch school. In practice, children in the Netherlands begin attending school at the age of four, with official reading and writing classes beginning at the age of six. Everyone has access to free elementary and secondary education, and Dutch schools have high quality standards.

Parents searching for child care should only engage an au pair from a reputable organization.

Adoptive parents must meet a variety of requirements, including being at least 18 years older than the kid they wish to adopt. The Netherlands is leading worldwide efforts to guarantee that all adoptions are in the best interests of the child. Adoption rights for same-sex parents are the same as for heterosexuals.


Population 16.7 million
Area - 41,864 sq km (16,164 sq miles)
Major language - Dutch
Major religion - Christianity
Life expectancy - 79 years (men), 83 years (women)
Currency - euro

Did You Know That:

The Schiphol Airport is actually 4.5 m below sea level.

It is only logical that the Van Gogh Museum and the Kröller-Müller Museum house the largest Van Gogh collections in the world.

For 4 evenings in a row during May and June since 1909, thousands of Dutch school children and their parents walk 5 or 10 km at a time through streets in huge processions called the avondvierdaagse, or 'evening four-day marches' while slurping on half-cut lemons and sweets on strings around their necks.

75% of the world's flower bulb production comes from Netherlands.

Most graves are leased for 10, 15 or 20 years only and not purchased due to the short supply of grave space.

It has more than 4,000 km of navigable canals, rivers and lakes.

It was one of the six founding members of the European Union.

The highest point in Netherlands, Vaalserberg, is only 323 meters above sea level. The rest of the nation is as flat as a pancake.