G.i.n was invented by the Dutch and introduced to the Brits
The Brits are known to love a refreshing g.i.n and tonic on occasion, and they have the Dutch to thank for that. Gin (or jenever) was actually invented in the Netherlands in the 16th century and reportedly became popular in Great Britain after William of Orange (King William III) occupied the English, Scottish, and Irish thrones with his wife Mary. The term ‘Dutch courage’ allegedly derives from when g.i.n was used by the Brits and the Dutch to gain bravery by getting in.to.xicated during the Thirty Years’ W.a.r (1618–1648).
Fancy a sh.ot, anyone?
Orange is the national color of the Netherlands
Despite the Dutch flag being red, white, and blue, orange is actually the national color. This is because the monarchy is from the House of Orange, and until becoming king, Willem-Alexander was the Prince of Orange. To honor the country’s heritage, the Dutch wear orange on days of national pride, and their sports teams wear bright orange uniforms, too. On Koningsdag (King’s Day), on 27 April, Dutch people also dress in orange and celebrate their country with outdoor parties, picnics, and parades.
The Dutch turned carrots orange
Speaking of orange… another surprising fact about the Netherlands involves the humble carrot. For centuries, almost all carrots were yellow, white, or purple. However, in the 17th century, most of these crunchy vegetables turned orange. Amazingly, the transformation was purely political. Dutch growers cultivated them as a tribute to William of Orange who led the struggle for Dutch independence. However, the striking color stuck, and the original species were eventually phased out.
Now, how’s that for a juicy fact!
The Dutch eat more licorice than any other nation in the world
If you like licorice, then you’ll literally feel like a kid in a sweetshop in the Netherlands. This drop-loving nation can’t get enough of the stuff and consume around 32 million kilos of it every year! That works out at more than 2,000g per person; the highest per capita consumption of licorice in the world. Despite being an acquired taste, there is certainly no shortage of the sweet black treat in Dutch supermarkets and candy shops. And because it is believed to have anti-inflammatory and other medicinal properties, many people also use it to treat various ailments. That said, excessive consumption is to.xic to the liver and cardiovascular system, and may cause high b.l.o.o.d pressure.
So go easy on the drop!
The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same-s.e.x marriage
The Netherlands is known to be a progressive and liberal nation, and this is partly due to the fact that the Netherlands was the first country to legalize same-s.e.x marriage. Since 2001, it has been possible for two men or two women to marry in the Netherlands. Since then, over 15,000 same-s.e.x couples have tied the knot. The number of same-s.e.x marriages also saw a peak in 2018, when over 1,500 couples got hitched. Today, same-s.e.x marriage is possible in 28 countries besides the Netherlands.
Yay for love!
One in eight babies are born at home in the Netherlands
If you are planning on having a baby in the Netherlands, then you might be surprised to learn that home births are still fairly common in the country. In fact, as many as one in eight babies are born at home. This is one of the highest rates of home births in the developed world. That said, they are becoming less common than they were in the 1990s. Back then, 35% of women chose to give birth at home, compared to just 13% in 2017. This decline is thought to be connected with an increase in the demand for pain relief which can’t be administered at home. Despite these concerns, though, home births are still covered by Dutch health insurance.
Almost 80% of the world’s flower bulbs come from the Netherlands
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Netherlands is the world’s leading exporter of flowers, most of which are tulips. Around two billion tulips leave the country each year and travel to different destinations around the globe. In most cases, the flowers are sold at the famous FloraHolland auctions in Naaldwijk, Rijnsburg, and Aalsmeer, the world’s largest trading center for plants and flowers. Thousands of visitors come to the auction each year to discover the massive logistics operation required to transport the blooms around the globe. Others, meanwhile, flock to one of the most famous places to visit in the Netherlands, the beautiful Keukenhof Gardens, to marvel at the spectacular sea of tulips.