When people hear the words the Netherlands, most of them think of a country with cheese, tulips, windmills and people wearing wooden shoes. Although some parts of the Netherlands are like that, most of it is quite modern. While the northeast of the country is predominantly rural, the west is very much urbanized. In fact this western part can boast the biggest port in the world: Rotterdam. To the west and north of the Netherlands is the North Sea. Since much of the country is below sea level, dikes are used to keep the water out. In the past, windmills were built to pump the water into canals and from the canals into the sea. This pumping is now done by means of huge pumping stations, but there are still some windmills left.
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