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    18 Surprising Facts About The Netherlands

    Dutch much?

    1. Dutch men are the tallest in the world.

    2. The Dutch are the largest consumers of licorice in the world.

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    It's locally known as "drop," and the population consumes more than 32 million kilos of the chewy stuff per year.

    3. Home births are popular in the Netherlands, and account for 20% of all births.

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    These statistics aren't up-to-date, but for reference, just 0.92% of US births occurred at home in 2013.

    4. The Netherlands was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage.

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    Which they probably recognized as less "bizarre" and more common sense. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    5. Most of Amsterdam is built on wooden poles 12 meters deep.

    Flickr/Fons Heijnsbroek / Via Flickr: city-amsterdam

    Because the city was founded on swampy land, most of its buildings rest on wooden piles entrenched in the first layer of sandy river floor. Altogether, there are nearly a million piles supporting Amsterdam, many of which have been replaced with concrete and steel piles over the years for better stability.

    6. French fries are served with mayonnaise.

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    There's also the option of peanut sauce, ketchup and onions, and cheese.

    7. The Dutch have the lowest incidence of lactose intolerance.

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    *bitterly clutches lactose pills*

    8. Netherlands ranks as the top country for plentiful, nutritious, and affordable food, according to a 2014 Oxfam report.

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    10. Lisse is home to Keukenhof — also known as the "Garden of Europe" — the largest flower garden in the world.

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    It maintains up to 800 varieties of tulips.

    11. Amsterdam has 1,281 bridges.

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    They connect the city's 165 canals.

    12. De Drie Gezusters ("The Three Sisters") is the biggest pub in all of Europe.

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    Hopefully it's also home to the most bathrooms of any bar in Europe.

    13. An emergency alarm goes off around the whole country on the first Monday of every month.

    14. The Schiphol Airport — the main international airport of the Netherlands — is actually located more than four meters below sea level.

    15. The Dutch greet each other with three kisses on the cheek.


    The practice might seem novel to Americans, but the three-kiss rule is commonplace all throughout the Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland.

    16. The Dutch usher in the start of spring with Rokjesdag, or skirt day, the day women start showing off bare legs and wearing short skirts again.

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    Men can participate too by wearing shorts (or skirts!).

    17. On December 5 and 6, the Dutch celebrate a winter holiday known as Sinterklaas that is centered around St. Nicholas.

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    And as we all know, St. Nicholas is also the figure around whom the holiday of Christmas is based.

    18. Every summer, thousands of Dutch children and their parents participate in a four-day evening march called the Avondvierdaagse while slurping on half-cut lemons.

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    The lemons are topped with peppermints and meant to give the walkers energy.


    Oops! Dutch men are the tallest in the world. An earlier version of this post said they were the second tallest.


    The Dutch celebrate Sinterklaas on Dec. 5. An earlier version of this post misidentified Sinterklaas as Christmas.