Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands, and is also spoken in former Dutch colonies, including Aruba, Sint Maarten, Suriname Curaçao, Flanders, Sint Maarten and Suriname. The language is also understood and spoken by many people in Belgium. In some regions of Germany, Dutch dialects are spoken.
The Netherlands are nested on the seashore, and historically this was the land of ports, merchants and immigrants. All of these factors are reflected in the Dutch culture with its diversities and regional differences. In Dutch culture, diversity and tolerance are regarded as top values, so everyone feels comfortable in this country.
Over the centuries, Dutch culture has been known for advances in art, architecture, music, technology and literature. Dutch art is best known for the Dutch Golden Age painting that united a number of schools and artists, including Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Halsm, Joachim von Sandrart, Jan Steen, and many more. Later, the Netherlands became one of the centers for impressionism, with Vincent van Gogh being the most famous Dutch impressionist.
Many aspects of the Dutch culture, such as holidays, cuisine, traditions and preferred pastime vary significantly depending on the region – except, perhaps main Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter, widely celebrated everywhere. When it comes to smaller occasions, the Netherlands boast a diverse culture, with a variety of local festivals, carnivals and traditions that differ from province to province. The best way to experience this country is to travel, which is especially exciting if you speak a bit of Dutch.