Culture of the Netherlands

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Culture of the Netherlands
The Netherlands and its people have long played an important role as center of cultural liberalism and tolerance. The Dutch Golden Age is popularly regarded as its zenith.
Language
The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch, spoken by almost all people in the Netherlands. Dutch is also spoken and official in Aruba, Brussels, Curaçao, Flanders, Sint Maarten and Suriname..
There is a tradition of learning foreign languages in the Netherlands most of the total population have good knowledge of English, then German, French and Spanish.

Religion
Christianity is the most common and deep-rooted religion in the Netherlands. Other Religions are Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism

 

Art 

Dutch Golden Age painting was among the most acclaimed in the world during the seventeenth century. From the 1620s, Dutch painting broke decisively from the Baroque style typified by Rubens in neighboring Flanders into a more realistic style of depiction, very much concerned with the real world. Types of paintings included historical paintings, portraiture, landscapes and cityscapes, still life and genre paintings.

Some of Famous Artists in Netherlands are:
1-REMBRANDT
Painter.
Lifespan: 1606 – 1669
Rembrandt dominated the Dutch Golden Age which is considered as a very important period in the development of art. He is known as the master of light and shadow. 
Masterpiece: The Night Watch
2 -VINCENT VAN GOGH
Lifespan: 1853 – 1890
Vincent Van Gogh was a Post-Impressionist artist whose difficult life and posthumous fame are well known around the world. His paintings have had a deep and profound influence on twentieth century art .
3-PIETER CLAESZ
Lifespan: 1597 – 1660
Active during the Dutch Golden Age, Pieter Claesz is considered among the masters of still life painting. 
Masterpiece: Vanitas with Violin and Glass Ball

Architecture
In the Dutch Golden Age, Due to the thriving economy, cities expanded greatly. New town halls and storehouses were built, and many new canals were dug out in and around various cities such as Amsterdam, Leiden and Delft for defense and transport purposes. Many wealthy merchants had a new house built along these canals. These houses were generally very narrow and had ornamented façades. The reason they were narrow was that a house was taxed on the width of the façade. 
At the end of the 19th century, there was a remarkable neo-gothic stream or Gothic Revival both in church and in public architecture, notably by the Roman Catholic Pierre Cuypers, who was inspired by the Frenchman Viollet le Duc. The Amsterdam Rijksmuseum (1876–1885) and Amsterdam Central Station (1881–1889) belong to his main buildings.
During the 20th century Dutch architects played a leading role in the development of modern architecture. Out of the early 20th century rationalist architecture of Berlage, architect of the Beurs van Berlage, three separate groups developed during the 1920s, each with their own view on which direction modern architecture should take.

Literature
Dutch literature, Is the body of written works in the Dutch language as spoken in the Netherlands and northern Belgium. The Dutch-language literature of Belgium is treated in Belgian literature.
The earliest text that can claim to contain examples of Old Dutch was the early 10th-century “Wachtendonck Psalm Fragments.”

Poetry and prose
The work of Heinrich von Veldeke, the earliest known poet to use a Dutch dialect, typified the age’s religious zeal, which emanated from the French centres of learning. Dutch 13th- and 14th-century texts were generally written in the cultural centers of Flanders and Brabant, where, for reasons of trade, the prevailing influence was French. 
The 1260s chivalry was on the decline; the titles of Jacob van Maerlant’s later works bear witness to a late 13th-century reaction against romance. Van Maerlant’s compendia of knowledge, including his Der naturen bloeme (“The Flower of Nature”) and Spieghel historiael (“The Mirror of History”), answered a demand for the kind of self-instructional literature that long remained a characteristic of Dutch literature.

Mystical writing reached a remarkable lyrical intensity in the poetry and hortatory prose of a Brabantine laywoman, Hadewijch (late 12th to early 13th century), and this inspired later mystics

The writers of the “Golden Age”
Spieghel, the greatest of a generation straddling the old and the new, wrote for both the burgher and scholar. His Nieujaarliedekens (“New Year Songs”) and Lieden op ’t Vader Ons (“Songs on the Lord’s Prayer”) continued a medieval tradition in a Renaissance style echoing Erasmian moderation; his learned Twe-spraack vande Nederduitsche letterkunst(1584; “Dialogue on Dutch Literature”) was intended to popularize the use of a national language
Daniël Heinsius, a celebrated humanist at the University of Leiden, wrote plays in Latin.
A poet, playwright, and painter, Gerbrand Adriaenszoon Bredero took his material from the life of the commoner; his medium was the folk song, farce, or comedy
Amsterdam was the home of the poet and dramatist Joost van den Vondel. 
The 20th Century
The writers of the Dutch revival of the 1880s were essentially individualistic, but in the next generation a new concern for philosophical and social problems became apparent. Significant early poets were A. Roland Holst, J.C. Bloem, and P.N. van Eyck, a philosophical poet and essayist. 
It should be emphasized that from the 1930s Dutch literature and Flemish literature have been part of a composite literary culture: the writers, literary organizations, and departments of culture of the two countries have worked in close cooperation.

Music and dance 


The Netherlands has multiple musical traditions, ranging from folk and dance to classical music and ballet. Traditional Dutch music is a genre known as "Levenslied", meaning Song of life. Themes can be light, but are often sentimental and include love, death and loneliness. Traditional musical instruments such as the accordion and the barrel organ are a staple of levenslied music, though in recent years many artists also use synthesizers and guitars. Artists in this genre include Jan Smit , Frans Bauer and the late André Hazes.
Traditions

 

A prime traditional festivity in the Netherlands is Sint Nicolaas or Sinterklaas. It is celebrated on the evening before Sinterklaas' birthday on December 5, especially in families with little children. Sinterklaas has a companion known as Zwarte Piet, which in recent years has come under scrutiny in light of accusations of racist caricatures.
Other traditions are often regional, such as the huge Easter Fires or celebrating Sint Maarten this holiday is celebrated in some parts of Groningen, North Holland and the southern part of Limburg and to a lesser extent in South Holland and Zeeland. The same thing happens on January 6, with Epiphany in some areas in the South of the Netherlands. In North-Brabant, Limburg and some other parts of the Netherlands people celebrate Carnaval. 
Another traditional Dutch celebration is King's Day (Koningsdag) in honor of the King's birthday. The day is known for its nationwide vrijmarkt ("free market"), at which many Dutch sell their secondhand items. It is also an opportunity for "orange madness" or oranjegekte, for the national color, when the normally strait-laced Dutch let down their hair. Often dyed orange for the occasion.
Cuisine 
Dutch food is traditionally characterized by the high consumption of vegetables when compared to the consumption of meat. Dairy products are also eaten to great extent, Dutch cheeses are world-renowned with famous cheeses such as Gouda, Edam and Leiden. Dutch pastry is extremely rich and is eaten in great quantities. When it comes to alcoholic beverages wine has long been absent in Dutch cuisine (but this is changing during the last decades); traditionally there are many brands of beer and strong alcoholic spirits such as jenever and brandewijn. The Dutch have all sorts of pastry and cookies (the word "cookie" is in fact derived from Dutch), many of them filled with marzipan, almond and chocolate. A truly huge amount of different pies and cakes can be found, most notably in the southern provinces, especially the so-called Limburgish vlaai.
Dutch cuisine is characterized by its somewhat limited diversity; it varies greatly from region to region.

Sports

Football is the most popular sport in the Netherlands. Notable Dutch football teams and clubs include: Amsterdamsche Football club Ajax in 1900, Feyenoord Rotterdam in 1908 and PSV Eindhoven in 1913.
Another almost national sport is speedskating. It is common for Northern Dutch children to learn how to skate at an early age. Long distance skating and all-round tournaments are the most popular and most successful areas for the Dutch. In the history of the world championships, the champion of the 10 km has always been a Dutchman. Notable athletes are Sven Kramer, Rintje Ritsma and Ard Schenk
Also popular are swimming, field hockey, judo and cycling.

 

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