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Geography, Weather, & Wildlife of the Netherlands

Geography

Dutch Geography - Tulips and a windmill
Tulips and a windmill

The Netherlands is located on the North Sea in the northwest corner of mainland Europe, a region commonly known as "Benelux," which is a combination of the names "Belgium," "Netherlands," and "Luxembourg." The Netherlands is bordered by Belgium (south) and Germany (east).

Geographically, the Netherlands is one of the world's lowest lying countries as much of it is actually below sea level. The country would be mostly under water if it weren't for the people's ability to "reclaim" land. In these, and in other areas, the country is very flat with a large number of rivers, creating a great agricultural environment.

Weather

Dutch Geography - Bridge in the winter
Bridge in the winter

The Netherlands rarely experiences the cold, harsh winters that neighboring Germany gets regularly, although winds can make the country feel significantly cooler. Being on the water, the Netherlands gets a warming effect during the winters and a cooling effect during the summers, making the country relatively temperate.

Amsterdam averages 35° F (2° C) during the winter with lows many times sinking to below freezing (32° F (0° C)) and daily highs only getting a bit warmer than the average. Summers are much nicer as daily highs are at about 70° F (19° C), although again these temperatures do drop to the mid-50s (12-13° C) at night. Variations across the country are relatively minor due to the country's small size and flat landscape. The winds and rain can make it feel significantly cooler quite quickly as the country is generally cloudy and rain can arrive during any season.

Wildlife

There are few mammals still in the wild, but instead reside on nature reserves in the Netherlands. In times past though, these animals, including deer, fox, beavers, and boars were more common throughout the country. More common is sea life in the lakes, rivers, canals, and the ocean. These animals are also dwindling in numbers so fishing is restricted or limited in many areas.

There is a huge variety of birds that travel through the Netherlands as they migrate along the Atlantic Ocean. Depending on the particular species, these birds may stay a season or just stop by in passing to their final destinations. There are few amphibians or reptiles in the Netherlands.

This page was last updated: March, 2013