Although the population as a whole is “graying” rapidly, with a high percentage over age 65, Amsterdam has remained one of the liveliest centres of international youth culture.
There, perhaps more than anywhere else in the country, the Dutch tradition of social tolerance is readily encountered.
On such land, building is possible only on “rafts,” or after concrete piles, sometimes as long as 65 feet (20 metres), have been driven into the silt layer.
The Dutch reputation for tolerance was tested in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, when an increase in immigration from non-European Union countries and a populist turn in politics resulted in growing nationalism and even xenophobia, marked by two race-related political assassinations, in 20, and the government’s requirement that immigrants pass an expensive ‘‘integration’’ test before they enter the country.
In the southwest, the disastrous gales and spring tide of February 1, 1953, which flooded some 400,000 acres (162,000 hectares) of land and killed 1,800 people, accelerated the implementation of the Delta Project, which aimed to close off most of the sea inlets of the southwestern delta.
These delta works were designed to shorten the coastline by 450 miles (725 km), combat the salination of the soil, and allow the development of the area through roads that were constructed over 10 dams and 2 bridges built between 19.
In the late Pleistocene Epoch (from about 126,000 to 11,700 years ago), the Scandinavian ice sheet covered the northern half of the Netherlands.
After this period, a large area in the north of what is now the Netherlands was left covered by moraine (glacial accumulation of earth and rock debris).