The Kingdom of the Netherlands, in North West Europe,  is also known as Holland. It is a small, flat country, largely reclaimed from the North Sea and is characterized by its dams, dykes, canals and windmills. It is a modern country, a founder member of the European Union and a member of NATO. It has joined with neighboring Luxembourg and Belgium to form the Benelux economic union. The capital city is Amsterdam, but Rotterdam is known for its large port and The Hague is the home of Europol, the EU’s criminal intelligence agency.

The official language is Dutch, but many Dutch people also speak English and some French. The currency is the Euro. The Netherlands has liberal attitudes towards drugs, prostitution, euthanasia and homosexuality. Amsterdam is a popular city to visit for its history and its cafés, which also sell cannabis for personal use.

The climate in the Netherlands is a maritime climate with winters below freezing, and summers are warm but wet. It is often cloudy and overcast.


The thriving economy is based on food processing, shipping, chemicals, petrol refining and machinery. Exports include flowers, plants and bulbs as well as tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. The Netherlands has the lowest unemployment in the EU. Immigrants have come to the Netherlands to find jobs from Indonesia, Germany, Surinam. Morocco, Aruba and Turkey. Some of these countries were part of the former Dutch colonies. EU residents do not need a visa to enter and work in the Netherlands but current regulations should be checked for changes and other paperwork may be required. The country is one of the most densely populated in the world with heavy traffic on major roads and bridges.

Real estate in Holland is in high demand and prices are higher than in nearby Germany. Properties are available for rent, especially apartments and small townhouses which are commonplace. An international remover may be required for importing your household goods. The cost of living is high in the Netherlands on food and clothing as well as utilities. There are a number of English-speaking ex-Pat communities mainly in the cities.

Education in the Netherlands is to a high standard. Healthcare is also good. Once fully provided for by the state, a new system has been introduced requiring all residents to pay for a basic medical package and visitors who are staying temporarily in the Netherlands are also required to have basic health insurance as a condition of entry.