The Dutch people are polite and courteous and prefer formal greetings on first meetings. The Dutch are a nation of cyclists and Amsterdam 540,000 people have bicycles – not surprising when you consider how flat the land is.

The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch, spoken by almost all people in the Netherlands. There is a tradition of learning foreign languages in the Netherlands: about 87% of the total population is able to converse in English, 70% in German, 29% in French and 5% in Spanish.

The largest group, 26.6%, is Roman Catholic. The rest is distributed over a multitude of Protestant churches making up the 18.3% of the population. The largest of which is the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, which in fact is an alliance of three churches, two Calvinist and one Lutheran.

The use of soft drugs is allowed, and even sold at “coffee shops” – in the form of cookies.

You will find a variety of international food, from ethnic to Italian and, of course, traditional Durch food. Potatoes feature prominently in dishes. Local dishes include Pofferjes (small pancakes traditionally served warm with powdered sugar sprinkled on top), Patat (French fried with mayonnaise), Haring (raw herring fish with raw onions), and Vlaai (pastry with a fruit filling). Dutch beers can be very good and are quite strong. Bars are open all day and also serve tea and coffee. The water is safe to drink.

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