Architecture and buildings:
In the cities most of the buildings have different kinds of roofs (the front part of the roof is called a gable). Some of these gables look like steps (trapgavel), some look like a neck with a collar (halsgevel), some look like bells (klokgavel), some are pointy (puntgavel), and some are just flat (lijst). In The Hague you can see some really neat architecture with points and spirals , you name it. On most buildings you will see metal rods. These rods used to be used to support the house because of the shifting land underneath, but now they are added for decoration. The houses are also supported by long poles which are driven underground. The land shifts so much here because a large part of it was under the sea, so it is mushy. All city houses in the Netherlands are made of brick with slate roofs. Notice the pole and pulley system that sticks out of the top of the houses and the attic door beneath it. This is used to lift things up because the steps are too narrow to get big things upstairs (especially the spiral staircases). The property tax in the Netherlands is measured by the amount of space the house takes up on the street, so that is why most Dutch houses are tall, deep, and very narrow. They also lean outwards to keep the rain off the windows, so you can open your windows during the rain and not get wet. Most Dutch houses also have courtyards because they don't have a lot of garden space, and this gives them the chance to keep plants. If they want more room they can rent a shed and small plot of land outside of the city. You will also see lots of lace curtains, but they don't have big curtains so if you want you can look inside. They do this because they want to show off their clean houses. If you look at the canals, many have houseboats along them because there is not enough room and it is also cheaper (Even though they have houseboats, these boats don't actually GO anywhere, if I had a houseboat I would float around).
In the country there are lots of farm houses with thatched roofs. These people live on polders, which are reclaimed land that used to be under the sea (they pumped the water from it). Out in the country you will also see lots of windmills. Holland has lots of these windmills because the land is flat. Did you know that most of the windmills can be turned to face the wind? There are also new windmills that are used to make power. They are very narrow and silvery, not fat like the old ones.