Population: 16,491,000 of whom most are Dutch but Holland has a very open immigration policy which causes some to worry that they’ll soon be swamped with fast-breeding Turks, Moroccans and Indonesians.
Languages spoken: Dutch, which sounds like a pleasant version of German. Most Dutch speak pretty good English anyhow, having learnt from TV.
Government: A friendly democracy that pays thing like ‘artist dole’ to anyone creative enough to paint, write or sing rather than work. And for Americans, the Netherlands and Holland are the same thing in practice.
Economy: First world, affluent and expensive.
Religion: Christianity is till doing pretty well in Holland and there are country areas which are so traditional and joyless that things like acting are considered to be sinful.
Climate: Holland has a temperate climate which means it’s miserable and rainy all winter with lots of fog.
Holland is part of the EU which means that once you’re inside Europe you can reach the land of tulips, windmills and coffee shops without crossing any borders. Add to that Holland’s liberal immigration policy and you’ll see why so many people come to live here.
When to Travel in Holland
Holland – and Amsterdam in particular – get packed with tourists in the summer months and it can get hard to move around the centre of town for all the cameras, guidebooks and people wearing baseball hats and shorts for the first time in 20 years.
The summer is, however, when the fog, rain and cold make a temporary retreat and Holland is at its prettiest. In winter those picturesque canals become chilly and damp beyond belief.