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Netherlands hotels — cheap accommodation Netherlands

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Netherlands hotel and accommodation destinations (alphabetical list)

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Alkmaar hotels

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Almelo hotels

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Almere hotels

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Amersfoort hotels

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Amstelveen hotels

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Amsterdam hotels

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Apeldoorn hotels

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Arnhem hotels

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Assen hotels

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Bergeijk hotels

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Bergen op Zoom hotels

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Breda hotels

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Buren hotels

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Coevorden hotels

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Culemborg hotels

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about Netherlands


The Netherlands (Dutch: Nederland) is the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, a constitutional monarchy. It is located in northwestern Europe and borders the North Sea, Belgium and Germany. The country is often referred to by the name Holland, although this is technically incorrect; Holland was the economic powerhouse during the time of the United Provinces (1581–1795), during the Napoleonic era it was split into North and South Holland (refer to subsection on Names).

The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated and geographically low-lying countries in the world (its name literally means the Low Countries) and is famous for its dikes, windmills, wooden shoes, tulips, and perceived social tolerance. Its liberal policies are often mentioned abroad. The country is host to the International Court of Justice. Amsterdam is the official capital as stated by the constitution. The Hague is the administrative capital (the seat of government), the home of the Queen, and the location for most of the embassies.

The Netherlands ranked fifth on the 2004 list of nations with the highest standard of life, behind Norway, Sweden, Australia, and Canada.

The English adjective and noun for "from the Netherlands" or "a person from the Netherlands" is "Dutch."

Netherlands geography

A remarkable aspect of the Netherlands is the flatness of the country. About half of its surface area is less than 1 meter above sea level, and large parts of it are actually below sea level. An extensive range of dikes and dunes protect these areas from flooding. Numerous massive pumping stations keep the ground water level in check. The highest point, the Vaalserberg, in the southeasternmost point of the country, is 321 m above sea level. A substantial part of the Netherlands, e.g. all of Flevoland and large parts of Holland, has been reclaimed from the sea - these areas are known as polders.

In years past the Dutch coastline has changed considerably due to human intervention and natural disasters. Most notable in terms of land loss are the 1134 storm, which created the archipello of Zeeland and the 1287 storm, which killed 50.000 people and created the (former) Zuyderzee (now) IJsselmeer giving Amsterdam direct access to the sea. The st. Elisabethflood of 1421 and the mismanagement in it's aftermatch destroyed a newly reclaimed polder replacing it with the 72 km2 Biesbosch tidal floodplains. The most recent storm disaster was in 1953 whereby large parts of Zeeland were flooded and 1,836 people were killed.

The disasters were partially man-made, the people drained relatively high lying swampland for use as farmland. This drainage caused the fertile peat to compress and the ground level to drop, locking the landusers in a vicious circle whereby they'd lower the waterlevel to compensate for the drop in groundlevel, causing the underlying peat to compress even more. The vicious circle is unsolvable and remains to this day. Up until the 19th century peat was dug up, dried and used for fuel, futher adding to the problem.

To guard against floods a series of defenses against the water was contrived. In the first millenium villages and farmhouses were build on man-made hills, called "terps". Later these terps where connected by dikes. In the 12th century local government agencies called "waterschappen" or "hoogheemraadschappen" (Eng. waterbodies) started to appear, whose job it was to maintain the waterlevel and to protect a region from floods. The waterbodies are still around today performing the exact same function. As the groundlevel dropped the dikes by neccesity grow and merged into an integrated system. In the 13th century windmills come in use to pump water out of the areas by now below sealevel. The windmills were later used to drain lakes, creating the famous polders. In 1932 the Afsluitdijk was completed (Eng. "Barrier Dam") blocking the former Zuyderzee off from the North Sea and thus creating the IJsselmeer. It is part of the larger Zuiderzee Works in which four polders totaling 1,650 km2 were reclaimed from the sea. After the 1953 disaster the Delta project was begun, a vast construction effort designed to end the threat from the sea once and for all. The official goal of the Delta project is to reduce the risk of flooding in Holland to once per 10,000 years (for the rest of the country the protection-level is once per 4,000 years). This is achieved by raising 3,000 km's of outer sea-dikes and 10,000 km's of inner, canal and river dikes to "Delta" height and by closing off the sea estuaries of the Zeeland province. The project started in 1958 and was completed in 2002. Because of new risk-assesment it's currently restarted mainly in the form of dike re-enforcements.

The Delta project is the single largest construction effort in human history and is considered by the American society of civil engineers as one of the seven wonders of the modern world

The country is divided into two main parts by three rivers Rhine (Rijn), Waal and Meuse (Maas). These rivers not only function as a natural barrier, but also as a cultural divide, as is evident in the different dialects spoken north and south of these great rivers.

The predominant wind direction in the Netherlands is southwest, which causes a moderate maritime climate, with cool summers and mild winters.

Also of interest: National parks (Netherlands).

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Netherlands".

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