The Netherlands stands out for its great inventiveness, its problem-solving attitude and its openness to the world.
For decades the country's historical ties with other parts of the world have brought people of non-Dutch origin to settle in Holland, which makes the Dutch generally open-minded and tolerant towards foreigners. Today Dutch society is home to more than 190 different nationalities living in its many cities and villages.
Although Dutch is the national language, the majority of the population also speaks English and very often another foreign language, such as German or French.
There is much cultural and ethnic variety in the Netherlands. Many religions are represented, so whatever your belief is, you will find a group that shares it.
The climate is typical of a marine west coast: changeable but moderate, with mild winters and cool summers. Days with temperatures below 0 or above 25 C are unusual. Clouds and wind are common features. The annual rainfall is moderate but unpredictable.
Despite being reserved, the Dutch have a manner of speaking that may startle you by its directness. You will notice that you can say exactly what is on your mind, as the Dutch are not easily offended.
Dutch society is organized in a non-hierarchical way. For example, teachers tend to be very accessible and true interlocutors for their students.
The Dutch tend to be less competitive than many other Westerners. High value is placed onteamwork and consensus.