Thursday, February 13, 2014

Language, Capitol & Currency in the Netherlands

Most people in the Netherlands speak Dutch. It is a West Germanic, Low Franconian language that originated in the Early Middle Ages (c. 470) and was standardized in the 16th century. 

There are also some recognized provincial languages and regional dialects, such as in the province of Fryslân (Friesland) the Frisian language (not a dialect!) is spoken. Except for the western provinces, The Foundation Dutch Dialects (Stichting Nederlandse Dialecten,) recognizes about 3 dialects per province.
Dutch is also spoken in Aruba, Brussels, Curacao, Flanders, Saint Martin and Suriname. Most Dutch people can also speak and understand English quite well.

Netherlands being the most densely populated country of the world has very interesting cities, beautifully preserved nature, and varied landscape, always fresh through the wind from the sea.

Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands, stands on the estuary of the bay IJ that is a lake, formerly a bay, in the Dutch province of  North Holland and about 20 km from the North Sea coast. Throughout its 800-year history, Amsterdam has combined a hard-headed approach to commerce and business with a remarkable willingness to experiment with new ideas, from the Rationalism of Erasmus to the revolutionary Protestantism's of Luther, through the republicanism of the 17th century.

Amsterdam is a beautiful city which combines old world charm such as lovely homes on the canals built during Amsterdam's prosperous past, world renown museums to celebrate its greatest painters, and beautiful fields of tulips.  Amsterdam is one of Europe's great centers of visual Arts today.

The Netherlands or Holland?
Here is a little know fact, almost a secret. "What should I call it?  Holland or Netherlands?" Many people incorrectly call the Netherlands, "Holland." In fact, only the central part of the Netherlands is geographically named Holland. This part of the country consists now of two provinces Noord Holland (North Holland) and Zuid-Holland (South Holland). This is the region with important cities as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague (Den Haag), Delft, Leiden and Haarlem.

Today, the Euro is the coin of the realm in the Netherlands. However, it wasn't always the case. In the 17th century, the Dutch Guilder was the official currency of the Netherlands. Here is another piece of trivia. The name Guilder is an English translation of the Dutch name "gulden" which was an adjective which meant "golden."


    Following the worldwide recession, the Netherlands did not avoid the slowdown and unemployment has dropped. In addition, the OE-CD's strategic study points out that the working population is aging. As a result, the Netherlands is stimulating its economy through fundamental reforms to adapt labor institutions for an aging population, increased workforce mobility, and transition to long-term revitalization. This will pay enormous dividends in the future.

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