Although the seat of Netherlands government is in The Hague, Amsterdam is the nominal capital. It is also the country’s largest city, with a population of more than 851,000, and the most visited, with over 3,5 million foreign visitors a year.
The Netherlands is a country situated in Western Europe, bordering Belgium to the south and Germany to the east. To its north and west is the North Sea. Although the Netherlands is the country’s official name, people often call it Holland. The provinces of North Holland and South Holland form only part of the Netherlands.
Queen Máxima has a particular concern for the integration of immigrants into Dutch culture. She was a member of a special parliamentary commission which sought to recommend ways to increase the participation of female immigrants in the workforce. Máxima stresses the importance of learning the Dutch language for immigrants (as she did) in order to fully participate in Dutch society. Dutch is the Queen’s third language; she is also fluent in Spanish (her native language) and English. She speaks French at a conversational level.
We had the unique opportunity of seeing our Queen when she arrived at the Palace
There are approximately 881,000 bicycles in Amsterdam. Oddly enough, there are only about 799,400 people living in the city. Some estimates say around 100,000 bicycles are stolen each year. That might account for the discrepancy between the numbers of residents and bicycles!
25,000 is the number of bicycles that end up in Amsterdam’s canals each year. Oddly, they say only 8,000 bikes are pulled out of the canals annually. It sounds like there are quite a few bicycles still lurking under the waters.
Did you know that Amsterdam is built on 11 million wooden poles and has more than 100 kilometers of canals?