Quick facts about the Netherlands
Total: 41,526 sq km. Water: 7,643 sq km, land: 33,883 sq km
16,067,754 (July 2002 est.) (Dutch 83%, other 17% (of which 9% are non-western origin mainly Turks, Moroccans, Antilleans, Surinamese and Indonesians - 1999 est.))
Amsterdam (population 724,908 (city), 1,268,908 (surrounding area)), although the Hague is the nation's seat of government
Dutch, Frisian, English widely spoken
Euro (EUR), since 1 January 2002. Until then it was Netherlands guilder (NLG)
Time:1 hour ahead of GMT
As much of northern and western Europe, the Netherlands has temperate maritime climate: cool summers and mild winters
Constitutional Monarchy with a parliamentary system; Head of the State is Queen Beatrix
The Netherlands is the 11th wealthiest nation in the Western world; GDP of 22,142 dollars US per capita
European Union residents require their EU papers to enter. Visitors from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and the USA can stay for 90 days without a visa
Banks open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
Stores open Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm, Saturday until 5pm.
Evening shops open from 3-5pm until midnight or later.
It is customary to give taxi drivers and waiters a tip of about 10 percent, in case of good service
165 canals,1281 bridges,8 wooden bridges,400.000 bicycles,700.000 inhabitants,145 nationalities,1400 cafe's and bars, 294 coffee shops, 42 museums, 21 markets, over 3,5 million foreign visitors a year
Prostitution in Amsterdam:
Prostitution has been legal in the Netherlands since Napoleon made it so in 1815 and in 1996 the Dutch government started to tax it. According to statistics, there are now over 25,000 prostitutes in the Netherlands and over half of these are said to be illegal immigrants. Like many cities in the world, there are a large number of brothels in Amsterdam but unlike other cities there are a large number of red light windows in the Red Light District where prostitutes sell sex in their day-glo bikinis. These windows offer protection systems for the girls and there is also a prostitutes union (the red thread). Sex always involves a condom and costs around 50 euros for oral and then full sex. There are also many brothels, both low and high class. In high class brothels such as Yab Yums sex can cost upwards of 150 euros an hour. A trip to Amsterdam would not be complete without seeing the brightly lit windows of the red light district. A real experience for anyone.
Holidays and special days in the Netherlands
Nieuwjaarsdag: 1 January
Goede Vrijdag: 14 April
Eerste paasdag: 8 April
Tweede paasdag: 9 April
Koninginnedag: 30 April
Bevrijdingsdag: 5 May
Hemelvaartsdag: 17 mei
Eerste pinksterdag: 27 mei
Tweede pinksterdag: 28 mei
Eerste kerstdag: 25 December
Tweede kerstdag: 26 December