Dutch Quirk #73: Not have any mountains…or hills…or bumps

HomeCultureLifestyleDutch Quirk #73: Not have any mountains…or hills…or bumps

As the Dutch saying goes: “God may have created the earth, but the Dutch created the Netherlands.” Unfortunately, they forgot to add mountains, or even hills.

For centuries, the Dutch have pumped water out of the surrounding sea to make way for building expansion and agriculture. While impressive, sometimes you just need to get high (not that high 🚬).

What is it?

The quintessential windmill and canals you imagine when you think of the Netherlands served an important purpose (and still do): they pump, contain, and manage water flow from the sea to the land. 

Since the ocean floor is flat, the resulting Dutch horizon is fairly featureless.  

The ironed out landscape lends itself to easy cruising on a bicycle, with hundreds of interconnected trails that take you from town to town, or get lost in a field of tulips in the countryside. 

However, if you wanted to test your Dutch legs, they have built a mountain specifically for cycling.

Why do they do it?

The Dutch are an innovative people. With a growing population, they decided to make more land for themselves, instead of simply finding a new place to live. 

(So next time you start making excuses, maybe take a page out of their book.) 😉

Why is it quirky?

Typically, when a society is running short on space, we build up: skyscrapers, apartment complexes, and towers.

But not the Dutch. Instead, they picked a perpetual fight with Mother Nature to keep their civilization afloat.

Missing the mountains?

If you are looking to get some vertical perspective, consider a hike up Vaalserberg (322.4 m), a visit to the sand dunes in Zuid-Kennemerland National Park.

If that’s not enough for you, perhaps you can join the cause to build one

Do you miss the sense of an incline underfoot, or do you prefer the negative altitude? Tell us in the comments below!

Megan Witkin
Megan Witkin
Previously never living more than an hour away from her home in Colorado's Rocky Mountains, Megan's quick immigration to the Netherlands left her saying "Bring on your (rook)worst." A woman of many talents, Megan is not only a former English teacher but is fluent in memes, TikTok, and (now) writing about the Netherlands.


    • Never mind if there is the odd miserable so-and-so. I think Dutch Quirks are fun and interesting – just like Dutch people.


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