Welcome to the host country: The Netherlands.

To all World Police & Fire Games competitors, family, friends and directors - Welcome to the Netherlands and, most of all, welcome to Rotterdam. It is with great pride that we would like to introduce you to the Netherlands and the City of Rotterdam through our Travel Guide. But before we explain how we will host the World Police & Fire Games in 2021 in our city, and also in a few other cities, we would first like to introduce you to our country and beautiful city.

The Netherlands

After many tales of windmills, clogs, dikes and tulips, first-time visitors to the Netherlands (or Holland) can be forgiven for not knowing quite what to expect. It may be a small country in size, but it certainly isn’t in impact. Famed for its liberal social politics, maritime trading traditions, battles to hold back the sea, robust multiculturalism, and leading technological communications, the Netherlands is a mosaic of cultural intrigue.

Facts & Figures

Language Dutch
Currency Euro
Capital city Amsterdam
Highest point 323 m (Vaalserberg, Limburg)
Lowest point - 6,7 m (Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel, Zuid Holland)
National anthem Wilhelmus (since 10 May 1932)
  The Netherlands Rotterdam
Inhabitants 17.1 million 630,000
Surface area 319.4 km² 41,528 km²
Population 488 people per km² 2,951 people per km²
Number of cultures 190 173
Flag Red/white/blue Green/white/green


The constitution of the Netherlands mostly dates from 1848 with some revisions undertaken in 1983. Parliament consists of an upper chamber (Eerste Kamer) of 75 members elected by provincial councils and a lower chamber (Tweede Kamer) with 150 members elected every four years by proportional representation. The cabinet is the executive body and its constituents cannot be members of the cabinet and parliament at the same time.


The House of Orange-Nassau has governed the Netherlands since 1815 and King Willem-Alexander (1967) was crowned in 2013. His wife Máxima, who is originally from Argentina, serves as the queen consort.


A fifth of the Netherlands is reclaimed from the sea (polders) and about a quarter of the country is below sea level. There are 20 national parks and a few modest hills, with the country’s highest point in Limburg reaching a height of 323 meters.


The Dutch cow is a revered milk machine producing 35 litres a day. This tiny country is one of world’s top three largest agricultural producers and is responsible for just over 20 percent of the world’s potato exports.

Media and culture

The Netherlands has the highest museum density in the world, with nearly 1,000 institutions. The television programs Big Brother and The Voice are Dutch inventions and the film director Paul Verhoeven is known internationally for the movies RoboCop and Total Recall.


Dutch icons of style are nurtured in the revered Design Academy Eindhoven and the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, both of which attract large numbers of international students. Dutch design is admired for its minimalist, quirky, and often humorous qualities.


With over 17 million inhabitants and a density of 488 people per km2, the Netherlands is the most densely populated country in the European Union and one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The surface area of the Netherlands is just over 41,500 km2. The capital city is Amsterdam and the Government is located in The Hague. Over 40% of Dutch people live in the “Randstad”, an area that includes a number of cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.

Rotterdam has a relatively young population. Most people are between 20 and 34 years of age (24.5%) or between 35 and 54 (27.9%). This makes Rotterdam the youngest city of the Netherlands.

Typical Dutch culture

The Dutch are creative, open-minded and pragmatic. In contact with others, they are also rather direct, honest and open. The Dutch are famous for their tolerance towards social issues such as abortion, euthanasia and use of (soft)drugs. The people of Rotterdam are mostly known for their work ethic and efficiency, but also for their directness, sober approach, and honesty.

Food & beverages

The traditional Dutch kitchen has been mostly influenced by the farm life of earlier times. The Dutch enjoy their main meal in the evening and this is usually a combination of potatoes, vegetables and meat. Stews, hotchpots and soups are also common for the Dutch. For breakfast and lunch, the Dutch usually eat sandwiches made with all kinds of sweet or savoury ingredients. This varies from meat and cheese to chocolate sprinkles, chocolate spread, and peanut butter.
People often drink coffee or tea at breakfast and lunch. During the colder months, hot chocolate is also a popular beverage. When having an alcoholic drink, the Dutch prefer a beer. In 2015, the average Dutch person drank 83 litres of beer.
The total beer production in that year was 2.7 billion litres of which 1.9 billion litres was exported. That makes the Netherlands the largest exporter of beer in the world. The Dutch beer culture has developed in the past years with a growing number of breweries making beers in a growing number of styles.

Edam and Gouda are Dutch cheeses which are also very popular outside of the Netherlands. Other famous Dutch foods are mostly sweet, such as pancakes, local pies, stroopwafels and oliebollen, which is a kind of donut. Typical Dutch snacks are kroketten and frikandellen. Fish is sometimes eaten as fast food. Herring is held by its tail when you eat it and kibbeling is a dish of fried pieces of battered white fish. The Dutch kitchen has also been influenced by foreign kitchens. The Dutch borrow heavily from Indonesian, Chinese and Italian cuisine.