Holland is a small region of the Netherlands, it is divided into two: Northern Holland and Southern Holland. Its capital is Amsterdam, but its government is located in The Hague. Its surface is about 41,528 square kilometers. It has a population of 16 and a half millions, with 488 inhabitants per square km. It is located in Europe; in fact it was one of the six founding member of the European Community so, obviously, it is a member of the European Union; its currency is the Euro.
It has a multicultural society, there are over two hundred different nationalities in Amsterdam alone. The Turkish, Surinamese, Moroccans and Antilleans from the Dutch Caribbean are the largest minorities.
The official language of Holland is the Dutch; however most people speak English, German and French.
CLIMATE AND SURFACE
Holland has a maritime climate, with cold summers and mild winters. Its average temperature during summer is 17.4 °C and during winter 2.8 °C.
Holland has around of one quarter of its surface is below sea level. Its lowest point is found in Nieuwerkerk aan de IJssel, Zuid-Holland with -6.7 metres. On the other hand its highest point is in Vaalserberg, Limburg with 323 metres.
During the middle ages most of the population was Christians but nowadays the majority of the citizens are non-believers. Despite this there is a mixture of different religions thanks to inmigration: 27% roman catholics, 17% protestants, 6% muslims, 1% hindu and 1% budhist.
GOVERMENT AND MONARCHY
The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system, which means the Parliament makes the decisions and the power of the Queen is stablished by the constitution. Queen Beatrix has been the queen since 1980. The Prime Minister is the head of the Cabinet (which is made up of the Ministers and the Secretaries of State).
If the Queen Beatrix abdicates the throne the next one in the succession line is Prince Willem-Alexander, who is married and has three daughters.
THE NETHERLANDS OR HOLLAND?
The Netherlands are often confused with Holland as the same country but actually Holland is just a province from the country which is the Netherlands. There are several provinces:
• North Bravant
• North Holland
• South Holland
Holland has around a thousand windmills. In a couple of fortifications around Amsterdam there are some windmills wich are part of the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Every Dutch citizen has a bike and there are twice as many bikes as cars, but there are no less than 15,000 km of cycle paths.
It has more than 4,400 km of navigables rivers, canals and lakes and Amsterdam has 1,281 bridges over the canals.
Holland has the highest concentrations of museums in the world, with over 42 just in Amsterdam. The Van Gogh collection in the Van Gogh museum and the Kröller-Müller Museum are the largest ones in the world.
Dutch are the tallest people of Europe in average.
Amsterdam is built entirely in piles.