Re: Izzlekizzles Guide To Europe
Date: March 15, 2010 08:18PM
Ice told me you wanted to know more about attractions and history of the Netherlands. Maybe it was just a trick to get me into that big ffa, but anyway, here is what I know:
You've already heard about the drug policy, and the red light districts. Many tourists come for the canals, or for 17th century paintings. I've already mentioned Amsterdam above. Should you care to go out of town, a major attraction are the flower fields in Lisse, but I think you may be too late for that, in July. Another attraction are the old windmills. There are many of these, but at a place called Kinderdijk there are many close together. Of course we have lots of beach. They may be crowded in summertime, though, and there is no guarantee of good weather. Another thing that might interest you is our defences against the water. Maybe a regular dyke wouldn't interest you, but in the province of Zealand they built an extensive and expensive system of dams, some of which can be opened to have regular tides. These will only close when there's heavy, dangerous storms. I'm not sure how much of this is open to the public, though.
About Dutch history: the Netherlands and Belgium were part of the Habsburgian empire that also ruled Austria-Hungary and Spain, around 1500. In the next century, an 80-year independence war erupted against Spain, resulting in independence for the northern provinces. Soon, these provinces became a substantial factor internationally, battling the Portuguese, Spanish, French, and English over trade to colonies. Indonesia became the most prominent colony, but there were many settlements or forts along the African and South Asian coast in Dutch hands. Dutch sailors found Australia, and the Dutch were the only Europeans to get a trading post in Japan. In America, some Caribbean islands were in Dutch hands, and there were settlements in Brazil. The most important colony there was New Amsterdam, contemporary New York. Dutch focus was on trade rather than colonization. 1672 was the year of disaster for the republic, as it waged war against England, France, Saxony, and Muenster simultaneously. The French occupied the land for a while, but were driven off by a rebellion against exorbitant taxes. With the fourth Anglo-Dutch war, from 1780-1784, the English surpassed Dutch maritime powers, and the Dutch ceased to be a dominant factor on the seas. New Amsterdam was taken by the English during one of the wars.
Since then, there were occupations by the French under Napoleon, and by the Germans under Hitler. After Napoleon's defeat, Belgium came under Dutch rule, but rebelled and became independent in 1830-1839. After WW II, the Indonesians successfully fought their independence. Suriname became independent much later. Nowadays, the Netherlands Antilles are the only overseas parts of the Netherlands.
That's about it, in a nutshell.