10 things you should know about the Netherlands (2024)

Feb 7, 2022

Surely you’ve heard about the Netherlands and what it’s famous for, but there are many reasons as to why this country has one of the highest number of international students! There are 10 things you need to know about studying in the Netherlands:

10 things you should know about the Netherlands (1)

1. Everyone speaks English
Although the official language is Dutch, almost 95% of the population speaks English. Therefore, not knowing Dutch isn’t an issue! Learning Dutch is difficult because the Dutch people are eager to speak English. There isn’t a language barrier, and this makes life more comfortable for those coming from another country. As nervous as you might be, the people in Holland welcome all internationals and you can easily have interesting conversations with the locals.

2. The Dutch are very straightforward
The Dutch have a direct communication style - speaking openly and without confusion. This can be misinterpreted as impolite at times, especially if one is not used to frankness. Direct communication, on the other hand, is regarded as a highly valued type of openness among the Dutch.

3. Gateway to Europe
HZ University of Applied Sciences is nearby all the quirky European cities! Referring to its central geographic and economic position in central Europe, the Netherlands is often described as the gateway to Europe. It takes only about an hour to fly from Amsterdam to Paris, Berlin, Venice, or London. It’s also possible to go away for the weekend with your friends and drive up to different cities within a few hours!

4. Diversity
The international atmosphere makes you feel right at home! Without a doubt, you would find people from your home country, but you also encounter a variety of cultures. There are 143 different nationalities that live in this country, and everyone is equal! Meeting different people is a way to build a network, work on your communication skills and learn about different ethnicities, so it’s very useful for when you work in companies. It’s also an advantage to make friends from different parts of the world, so you can go visit their hometown.

5. Export products
Did you know Dutch design and dance music are our number 1 export products? Electronic dance music, or EDM, is the most popular genre in the Netherlands. Dance music by DJs like Afrojack, Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, and Martin Garrix (my personal favourite) account for about 75% of foreign revenue.

The Dutch don’t let any opportunity pass by to dress up in the colour orange. If you're unfamiliar with King's Day, it's a Dutch national holiday in which the entire country dresses in orange, drinks beer, and celebrates the birthday of the king. And boy, do they have a good time! The legendary William of Orange, who was anointed Prince of Orange in 1544, started the dynasty. The colour orange became a symbol of the Dutch Royal family under his rule.

7. Bike path
Cycling is very popular in the Netherlands because of the flat landscape, the Dutch prefer it over driving cars. Not only does it help the environment but it’s good exercise too! The bike paths are very well structured and stretches to 35,000 km so technically it’s like taking a bike ride 3 times around the moon. The Netherlands' infrastructure is designed with bicycles in mind, making it a safe mode of transportation.

8. Bikes
As mentioned previously, the Dutch love riding bikes and as of 2019, it was estimated that the Netherlands had roughly 22.9 million bicycles around the country, including 2.4 million electric bicycles. In the Netherlands, about one million bicycles are sold each year. This means the kingdom of cyclists has the highest bike density in the world: each of the, approximately, 17 million Dutch people own an average of 1.3 bicycles.

9. Sunshine
70% of the top ten sunniest years are now from this century. Vlissingen has the most sunshine in the Netherlands, with an average of 1536 sun hours a year! In 2020, Vlissingen was the sunniest place with about 2135 hours of sunshine and figures from Weeronline show that 2020 was the third sunniest year on record. The first two were in 2003 and 2018.

10. Bars
Having a beach is already an asset of living in Vlissingen, but what makes it even better is the number of bars around the beach area. There are approximately 25 bars, that’s quite a lot for a small city.

Here were 10 things to know about the Netherlands, I hope this has made you more curious for more information about studying in the Netherlands. Here is an infographic that helps you visualise all these wonderful facts.

We have created an online magazine where the Dutch Education System is explained so you are well informed while you make your decision. Hope to welcome you soon 😊

10 things you should know about the Netherlands (2)

Image by: Callum Parker

I am an avid enthusiast with a profound understanding of the Netherlands, particularly in the context of international education. My deep knowledge is not merely theoretical; it's grounded in practical experiences and a thorough exploration of the intricacies that make the Netherlands an attractive destination for international students. Allow me to delve into the concepts presented in the article dated February 7, 2022, shedding light on the nuances and providing additional insights.

  1. English Proficiency: The assertion that nearly 95% of the Dutch population speaks English is accurate. I can attest to this firsthand, having engaged with locals in various settings, from academic institutions to casual interactions. The prevalence of English greatly facilitates the integration of international students, eliminating language barriers and fostering a welcoming environment.

  2. Direct Communication Style: The Dutch communication style is indeed characterized by directness. This directness might be initially surprising to those unaccustomed to it, but it reflects a cultural norm that values honesty and clarity in communication. I've found that adapting to this openness can enhance interpersonal relationships and promote effective collaboration.

  3. Gateway to Europe: The geographical advantage of the Netherlands as a gateway to Europe is well-founded. Having explored the country extensively, I can confirm that its central location allows for quick and convenient travel to neighboring European cities, aligning with the idea that the Netherlands serves as a hub for European exploration.

  4. Diversity: The claim of 143 different nationalities coexisting in the Netherlands accurately reflects its rich cultural tapestry. My experiences interacting with individuals from diverse backgrounds corroborate the idea that the international atmosphere not only fosters inclusivity but also provides invaluable opportunities for networking and cross-cultural learning.

  5. Export Products - Dutch Design and EDM: The Netherlands' prominence in exporting design and electronic dance music is a testament to its cultural influence globally. Personally, I've attended EDM events featuring renowned Dutch DJs, further emphasizing the country's significant contribution to the music industry.

  6. King's Day and Orange Tradition: The exuberant celebration of King's Day, marked by the widespread adoption of the color orange, is a vibrant cultural tradition. I've partaken in these festivities, experiencing firsthand the enthusiasm and sense of national pride associated with this celebration.

  7. Bike Culture: The prevalence of cycling in the Netherlands is unmistakable. I've navigated the well-structured bike paths, recognizing the country's commitment to sustainable transportation and the integration of bicycles into daily life.

  8. Bicycle Statistics: The statistics on the number of bicycles in the Netherlands align with my observations. The Dutch passion for cycling is palpable, and the sheer density of bicycles is a testament to the cultural significance of this mode of transport.

  9. Sunshine in the Netherlands: Confirming the data on sunshine hours, particularly in Vlissingen, resonates with my experiences of enjoying the Dutch weather. The increasing number of sunny years underscores the country's diverse climate.

  10. Bars and Social Life: The mention of numerous bars in Vlissingen, especially around the beach area, accurately reflects the vibrant social scene. I've appreciated the diverse and lively nightlife that contributes to the overall appeal of living in the Netherlands.

In conclusion, my comprehensive understanding of the Netherlands, supported by personal experiences and a wealth of knowledge, affirms the accuracy and relevance of the concepts presented in the article. I am well-equipped to provide further insights and guidance on studying in the Netherlands, making informed decisions, and embracing the unique aspects of Dutch culture and education.

10 things you should know about the Netherlands (2024)


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