Yes, the rumors are true – the Dutch are the world’s tallest people, with an average height of cm. Dutch men are also the tallest globally, standing on average at cm. This is good news if you are single and seeking a tall, (not so) dark, and handsome man in the Netherlands! Some researchers say that environmental factors such as low social inequality, universal healthcare, and heavy dairy consumption are all contributing factors. So if you want to grow a few inches taller, it might be worth hitting the Dutch cheese markets!
There are over 1,000 windmills in the Netherlands, many of which are open to visitors throughout the year. Some windmills, such as the 19 at the Kinderdijk UNESCO World Heritage Site, are still being used to drain water from the land. Others, such as Molen de Valk in Leiden, meanwhile, are used to grind grain into flour. Like many windmills in the Netherlands, this also includes a museum and invites guests to peek inside and learn about its history. Only a few windmills still operate commercially in the country, but they are still well worth a visit if you get the chance.
14. The Dutch produce around six million souvenir clogs each year
You won’t find many things more iconically Dutch than a pair of wooden clogs. The Dutch have been wearing these hard shoes (or klompen) since medieval times to protect their feet while doing hard labor. These clunky shoes were ideal as they are sturdy, waterproof, and easy to clean. Although you will still sometimes see them in the fields in rural areas of the Netherlands, nowadays they are largely sold as tourist souvenirs. And with a whopping six million of them being produced each year, you certainly won’t have any trouble finding your size – that’s if you’re bold enough to wear them!
Now, this fact might surprise you because believe it or not, the Netherland’s iconic flower, the tulip, did not originally grow on Dutch soil. The colorful tulp was actually imported from Turkey in the 16th century, yet it has played a vital role in Dutch culture ever since. In the 1630s, tulip mania gripped the Netherlands, and prices rose until bulbs cost as much as houses! This attracted many farmers to switch to cultivating the flower, before the industry suddenly collapsed in 1637, leaving many people in poverty. It wasn’t until the last winter of WWII when the starving Dutch discovered tulip bulbs as a food source. Now, every third Saturday in January, the Dutch celebrate National Tulip Day – the official start of the tulip season – with free flower picking and flower festivals.
16. Almost 80% of the world’s flower bulbs come from the Netherlands
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Netherlands is the world’s leading exporter of flowers, most of which are tulips. Around two billion tulips leave the country each year and travel to different destinations around the globe. In most cases, the flowers are sold at the famous FloraHolland auctions in Naaldwijk, Rijnsburg, and Aalsmeer, the world’s largest trading center for plants and flowers. Thousands of visitors come to the auction each year to discover the massive logistics operation required to transport the blooms around the globe. Others, meanwhile, flock to one of the most famous places to visit in the Netherlands, the beautiful Keukenhof Gardens, to marvel at the spectacular sea of tulips.
17. The Netherlands is the world’s second-biggest beer exporter
Flowers aren’t the only fun thing to come out of the Netherlands – there’s beer too! The Netherlands is famous for many Dutch brews, which include many well-known brands such as Heineken, Grolsch, and Amstel. It makes sense then that the country is the second-biggest beer exporter in the world, after Mexico. Dutch brewers exported US$2.1 billion worth of beer in 2019, with almost 40% going to US markets. The number of beer breweries in the country has also grown exponentially in recent years; from roughly 180 in 2012 to nearly 700 in 2018. Needless to say, you won’t be going thirsty in this beer-loving country.