The Netherlands is connected to both Germany (the eastern border) and Belgium (the southern border). All the way south in the province of Limburg there is a spot where all three countries connect. The western and northern part of the country border the North Sea and the Wadden Sea, respectively. The Wadden Islands that lie in the Wadden Sea are also part of The Netherlands, as are some islands in the Caribbean Sea.
The Netherlands consists of 12 provinces that each have their own capital. Amsterdam is part of North-Holland. Haarlem is the capital of North-Holland, while Amsterdam is the capital of the country. There is a central government that is housed in The Hague.
All provinces also are governed by the Provincial States that can be found in the provincial capitals.
The Netherlands literally means the lower lands. The biggest part of the country lies below sea level, hence the name. Thanks to the dunes at the coast line and all the dikes across the country, the land is protected from the sea.
The Dutch are renowned worldwide for their ability to master the water that is everywhere in this country.
Time In Holland
The Central European time applies that consists of summertime and wintertime. Summertime starts every last weekend of March, when the clock is set one hour ahead at two o’clock early Sunday morning, making it three o’clock instantly and depriving you of an hour of sleep. Wintertime starts every last weekend of October, when the clock gets turned back one hour at two o’clock, allowing you to sleep an hour longer. All of this is done to maximize the hours of sunlight during the day, although adversaries argue that it’s very unsettling for their biorhythm.
The Netherlands acknowledge New Year’s day, Easter (March/April), King’s Day (April 27), Liberation Day (May 5), Ascension Day, Pentecost and Christmas as national holidays.
The Netherlands is part of the Schengen area. Some nationalities need a visa for stays up to 90 days, others don’t.
The Netherlands is part of the European Union, so you’ll need Euros for your stay here. ATM machines are widely available on streets and often inside shops or supermarkets. There are restaurants and lunchrooms that don’t accept cash, but usually you are free to choose your method of payment. Credit cards are widely accepted (usually Visa and Master Card, American Express less so), but in restaurants it is advised to check up front if they do accept your card.
Tipping is not mandatory, but it is very much appreciated in bars, lunchrooms, restaurants etc. The Dutch usually tip 5% to 10% of the total amount, but only if the service was good. It is important to note that service in general is not as good as it can be in other countries.