The Netherlands is home to over 17 million people, much of whom live in cities on the west coast. Northeast of Amsterdam, flat fertile fields undergo a colorful transformation in the spring. Bulb farmers cut the heads off tulips before the blooms hit their peak.
Southwesterly winds blow across the Netherlands. The flat landscape makes it an ideal place for wind turbines. Patrick van de Kraats and his team install blades on a turbine. Over 25% of the Netherlands' landscape sits below sea level, making flooding a constant risk.
In the summer, day-trippers admire the network of low fields, raised canals, windmills and dikes. Ad Wisse is the guardian of the World Heritage site. The windmills transfer water from the lowlands to the canals.
Port of Rotterdam (03:59)
The international port is Europe's largest seaport. The Maasvlakte 2 is a 2,000-hectare artificial peninsula that allows the world's biggest vessels to offload their cargo. Robotic cranes unload the containers and driverless vehicles transport them around the terminal.
Lettuce Farm (04:15)
Many farmers prepare their land for the autumn chill. Mark and Roy Delissen generate an "everlasting spring" with purple LEDs inside their greenhouses. The brothers utilize automation for efficiency, but workers check and pack each lettuce by hand.
Fort Bourtange (05:13)
Villages built in star formations dot the landscape. Historians believe Bourtange's design had a military purpose. Earthen walls absorb canon fire and corners allow cover fire from every angle. Bourtange is the only fort never taken.
Floating Homes (06:15)
The west side of the Netherlands is a dense web of interconnected urban centers; Amsterdam has a population of 800,000. Architectural firms collaborate on an estate of innovative eco-homes that workers tow to a waterway in the capital city.
Bonfire Rivalry (06:16)
In winter, Scheveningen and Duindorp residents compete to create the biggest bonfire on the outskirts of The Hague; the tradition began in the 1950s. Duindorp wins, and both communities light their pyres on New Year's Eve.
New Year's Day Swim (03:59)
For over 50 years, thousands of people have gathered on the beaches to participate in the icy swim. Participants in swimsuits and orange Santa hats run into the water. Innovation and community spirit is integral to Dutch culture. (Credits)
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