What does 'Dutch Lowlands' mean, and can we make a cycling tour in this area?
The name Netherlands came into use in the fifteenth century. Unlike others, it had no ethnic origin but was initially a geographic term, which merely indicated the distinction with a higher-lying area.
“The independent country name "the Netherlands" only dates back to 1815, but the area and its people have a much longer and vibrant history.
Located in northern Europe, with its neighbors Belgium and Germany, the Netherlands contains 451 km (280 mi) of coastline along the North Sea. The Netherlands also contains the mouths of three important rivers: the Rhine, Schelde, and Maas. These rivers are a big part of history dealing with water and attempts to prevent flooding.
The Dutch have been working to hold back and reclaim land from the North Sea for over 2000 years. Beginning around 400 BCE, the Frisians were first to settle the Netherlands. They started building villages, which were earth mounds upon which they built houses. "Terpen" were built to protect the villages from flooding. Once there where several thousands of them, there are now about 1000 terpen that still exist in the Netherlands.)
The Frisians also built small dikes around this time. These were usually rather short (about 27 inches or 70 centimeters high) and made of natural materials found around the local area.
The following centuries, the Dutch worked to slowly push back the water of the Zuiderzee, building dikes and creating polders. Once the dikes were built then canals and pumps were used to drain the land.
From the 1200s, the iconic windmills were used to pump excess water off the fertile soil.
Nowadays, around 27% of the Netherlands is below sea level. This area is home to over 60% of the country's population of approximately 17 million people. The Netherlands has an average elevation of 36 feet (11 meters).