Netherlands

Bordering the North Sea between Belgium and Germany, the Netherlands is low and flat, except in the southeast where some hills rise up to 322m. About half of the country is below sea level, with much of the land reclaimed from the sea. An extensive system of dikes and dams protects against flooding.

Holland is famous for its flowers, both wild flowers such as daisies and buttercups and cultivated varieties, best known among them the Dutch tulip. Wild or large animals are practically nonexistent but many bird species can be found, especially seagulls swarming over the coastal areas. Many kinds of fish abound in the lakes and rivers and harbour seals are found along the North Sea coast.

Air and water pollution are significant environmental problems in the Netherlands. Pollution of the country's rivers results from industrial and agricultural pollution, including heavy metals, organic compounds, nitrates and phosphates.
The generation of 6,000 megawatts from North Sea wind parks would provide enough energy to run all ... / ©: WWF Netherlands
The generation of 6,000 megawatts from North Sea wind parks would provide enough energy to run all trains in the Netherlands and to power six million homes
© WWF Netherlands

Country Eco-tips

Energy and Water
  • Electricity in the Netherlands is generated mainly from gas and coal; the use of renewable energy sources for power generation has been increasing, especially wind power.
  • The public drinking water supply in the Netherlands is one of the best in Europe.
  • Tap water in Amsterdam is safe to drink, buying bottled water is unnecessary.
  • Water in Amsterdam contains little calcium so it is relatively safe for machines that use water, such as coffee makers and electric kettles.
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Recycling
  • Curbside recycling exists throughout the Netherlands; there are many recycling bins throughout Amsterdam for paper and glass.
  • Deposit systems are in use for beer bottles and other plastic and glass containers. These items can be returned at automated machines in most supermarkets.
 
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Transport
  • The Netherlands is a small country and easy to get around by train or bus.
  • Amsterdam has been testing several buses that run on hydrogen and emit no harmful emissions.
  • The cities of Utrecht, The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam have tram systems. Rotterdam and Amsterdam also have a subway system.
  • A popular way to see Amsterdam is by boat through the city’s extensive canal system.
  • With over 13 million bikes and 15,000km of bike lanes, biking in the Netherlands is the way to get around. Bike-sharing programmes exist in Amsterdam and other cities.
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Food
  • Many vegetarian restaurants and health food stores can be found in Amsterdam and most other large cities - http://www.happycow.net/europe/netherlands
  • For organic products, check out the Noordermarkt farmers market in Amsterdam on Saturday mornings.
  • In addition to the big-name Dutch beer brands, you can also find organic beers ranging from light pilsners to rich browns and dark stouts.
  • A number of Dutch retailers and supermarkets are displaying the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) eco-label, indicating that their seafood products come from well-managed fisheries. Look for the label when buying seafood in the Netherlands.
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Green Spots
  • Schiermonnikoog National Park: Located on an island in the very north of the country in the Wadden Sea, this national park is known for its tidal flats, salt marshes, sand dunes and beaches. Many bird species are found here and seals can occasionally be seen lying on the sandbank at the northwest end of the island.
  • Vondelpark: Covering 47 hectares, this is Amsterdam’s largest and most popular park, providing a perfect getaway from the city. The park consists of a mosaic of lakes, meadows and woodlands, and hosts a film museum, open air theatre and several playgrounds.
  • Oosterschelde National Park: Covering 37,000 hectares in the country’s southwest, this is the Netherlands’ largest national park. It is known for its extensive tidal areas, which attract many bird species. The park is popular for scuba diving as well as sailing, fishing, cycling and bird watching. There are regular sightings of seals and porpoises.
  • De Hoge Veluwe National Park: An easy day-trip from Amsterdam, this national park of woodlands, sand dunes and heathlands is home to wild boars, and red and roe deer. Free white bikes are available to get around the 5,500-hectare park.
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Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the above information. However, WWF makes no warranties, expressed or implied, regarding errors or omissions and assumes no legal liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use.
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