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For Educators

Where in God’s World? The Netherlands

by Tina Tocco

 

Fascinating Facts about the Netherlands

This small western European country is bordered by Belgium and Germany, with the North Sea running along its coastline. The Netherlands is about twice the size of New Jersey.

The Netherlands is famous for its tulips. Each spring, beautiful blooms in a kaleidoscope of colors can be spotted everywhere—from fields and parks to markets and parades. The Netherlands’ cool spring nights and well-drained soil form the perfect environment for growing these flowers.

Kids here begin school the day after they turn four years old. They study many of the same subjects as you, like reading and science. All students begin learning English by age 10. Some schools also teach German, Spanish, or French. Most primary school students never have homework. Playtime is considered more important than doing assignments at home.

Some animals you might see in the Netherlands include bats, foxes, pine martens, seagulls, pheasants, rose-ringed parakeets, wild boar, and mouflon (wild sheep).

A traditional Dutch breakfast is hagelslag (buttered toast covered with sprinkles). Sprinkles are the most popular bread topping here, so they come in many varieties, such as white chocolate and fruit flavors. Other popular foods here include erwtensoep (chunky pea soup) and pannenkoeken (large pancakes that can be topped with anything from ham and cheese to ice cream).

Field hockey, ice skating, tennis, and cycling are popular sports here (along with soccer, of course). An unusual Dutch sport is fierljeppen, in which participants vault over a canal using a long pole!

Easter in the Netherlands

Easter is a joyful time in the Netherlands, filled with Easter markets, festivals, and brunches. Just like in the U.S., people love decorating Easter eggs. Many people here also decorate their homes with willow branches strung with bows and small wooden eggs. One of the most fun traditions for kids is the Easter breakfast box. Primary students here decorate boxes, stuff them with treats like chocolate eggs and jam, and give them to  classmates.

Learn the Language

The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch. Try these Dutch phrases:

How are you? — Hoe gaat het met je?

 

Look at all the tulips! — Kijk naar alle tulpen!

 

No homework! — Geen huiswerk!

 

Happy Easter. — Gelukkig Pasen.

 

Thank you for the breakfast box. — Bedankt voor de ontbijtbox.

 

Good night. — Goede nacht.

 

mhooper

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