Every year thousands of people come to Canada to start a new life. They come with many different skills and the hope of contributing to their new society. Your interest in reading about the Netherlands may arise from the HOST Program, which provides assistance to newcomers. This booklet will introduce you to the Netherlands and help you to understand your new friends' culture.

 The people of the Netherlands share a special connection with Canada. Canadian soldiers liberated the country from German occupation at the end of the Second World War. Queen Wilhelmina's daughter, Princess Juliana, spent the war years in Ottawa, where Princess Margriet, sister of the present Queen Beatrix, was born in 1943. The Netherlands still sends 25,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa every year by way of thanks, and every spring they bloom during the city's Tulip Festival.

Many Dutch immigrants have relatives or friends in Canada. Today's Dutch newcomers are often farmers, business entrepreneurs or professional people. Most speak English and find our way of life somewhat familiar. Still, some aspects of Canada may seem strange. Canada's winters are longer and often colder than those in the Netherlands. And some of our wide-open rural spaces and wilderness areas are very different from Dutch landscape.
Remember that you share some important similarities with your new friends. They will want to know the same things you would if you moved to a far-away place. What is my new neighbourhood like? Where can I buy food for my family? Which school will my children attend? How do I get around in my new community? What is important is that you offer your time, concern and friendship. You have much to offer each other.

 Although this cultural profile provides insight into some customs it does not cover all facets of life. The customs described may not apply in equal measure to all newcomers from the Netherlands.