The Netherlands

The Netherlands are aptly named because they are the lowest lands in the world. The highest point in the Netherlands is about 300 feet above sea level. In fact, much of the Netherlands is kept dry only by an intricate system of dikes, canals, and water pumps. The population of the Netherlands is approximately 15.3 million. The official languages of the Netherlands are Dutch and Frisian, and many Dutch people are descended from Frisians, Saxons, and Franks. School for Dutch children begins at the age of 5 and officially ends at 12, where students may then choose to enter a 6-year pre- university secondary school, and later continue on to one of the Netherlands’ many universities. They also have the option of going to a 4-year general school after primary school and then enter work. As many as 85 percent of all Dutch live in cities or towns, with one third of the population living in the Ranstad area, which is made up of the large cities, including Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Haarlem, Leiden, and Rotterdam.

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