The Netherlands is a country in Europe neighboring the North Sea, Germany, and Belgium; its capital is Amsterdam. The Netherlands, mainly referred to as Holland, was one of the first parliamentary democracies, as it was modern from the beginning according to resources. The country houses five large international courts. Sixty percent of the population exists below sea level, and much of the land has been reclaimed by a system of dikes and polders. Three major rivers run through this extremely flat country, with exception to lower hills existing side-by-side with glaciers from the ancient past. The Netherlands is highly populated and well known for its windmills, Avant-garde artistry, and social acceptance of various lifestyles; it remains liberal with regard to homosexuality, immigration, prostitution, etc. and its economy is extremely market-based.
In the Second World War, the Netherlands remained mainly neutral, although many of their armies were aligned, but Hitler and his army invaded them anyway in 1940. French forces came to the Dutch’s aid, yet it was too late. In recent history, the economy has improved greatly due to alliance with neighboring states, and as far as natural disasters are concerned, in 1953 a huge flood collapsed a few dikes and almost two thousand people drowned, so the government got on board creating a program that was directed at preventing future flooding; the project took about thirty years to complete. In the sixties and seventies, culture began to bloom in the Netherlands; class and religion collapsed in many ways, and the youth began rejecting aspects that made up the previous society. Some of the breakthroughs of change had to do with women’s rights, disarmament, and a leniency on drug issues, as well as same-sex marriages.
The Netherlands has housed many of the world’s finest artists—especially in the seventeenth century including Rembrandt, Jan Steen, Vermeer, and several hundred years later the tradition continued with Vincent van-Gogh and Escher. In addition to world famous painters, the Netherlands has had its share of philosophers, which include Spinoza and Descartes. In the Golden Age, literature blossomed with Joost van den Vondel and Hooft, making up some of the most exceptional writers of the nineteenth century.
Upon visiting the Netherlands, it is essential that the visitor take a close look at the famous windmills, tulips, Delftware pottery, and cheese that make up so much of what the Netherlands are associated with. The Vondel park, associated with Joost van den Vondel is certainly worth seeing, as tourists and locals alike visit this quiet and peaceful oasis—far from the city. The spot is perfect for inline skating, and it has a large playground for children, as well as four terraces with exquisite views. The Anne Frank House is also a huge hit for tourists; it’s possible to get a glimpse at the way in which the Franks went into hiding in 1942, and even a clearer glimpse into their lives, as journals, furniture, and other media, including Anne’s diary, give quite a detailed description of how it must have been. The Vondel Park and the Anne Frank House are essential to visitors if they want to gain a small but useful perspective on the history of the vast Netherlands.