Holland is at the crossroads where the German, British and French cultures meet.
|Surface area||41,528 square kilometres, one quarter of which lies below sea level|
|Longest distance north-south||300 kilometres|
|Longest distance east-west||200 kilometres|
|Lowest altitude||6.76 metres below sea level (near Rotterdam)|
|Highest altitude||323 metres (near Maastricht)|
|Climate||Moderate maritime climate|
The country is situated in the west of Europe and borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south and the North Sea to the north and west.
From Holland, many European capitals are within easy reach. Brussels is two hours by train, and a short flight from Amsterdam will take you to London, Paris, Madrid or Berlin.
Holland's relatively small area of just over 41,000 square kilometres is home to more than 16 million people.
What you will notice first when you arrive in Holland is the landscape. The country is extremely flat. While there are some hilly areas in the southeast corner of the country, even in those regions youc an see for miles around. The broad, unbroken expanse of sky that is characteristic of the Dutch landscape.
Another distinct characteristic is that there is water everywhere, in the form of lakes, rivers and canals.
Water and wind
Holland lies on a flat, low delta and a quarter of the land lies below sea level. Because of its location, the Dutch have have gained specialised knowledge on water management. Several Dutch companies are involved in water conservation and land reclamation projects throughout the world.
In the 17th century, wind was the most important source of energy. Windmills were not only used to pump water out of the polders to keep them dry. They were also needed to mill grain, to power saws used for cutting timber for shipbuilding, and to operate the copper beaters’ hammers. Some mills were even used to produce paint.
Today just under 1,000 windmills survive, which are lovingly cared for as part of our Dutch heritage.