The Beauty of Europe

by Olivia Maurer

Netherlands: The Land of Flowers

The Netherlands (Not to be confused with, Holland, as Holland is referring to a region on the west coast of Netherlands.) is a small country located far north, near the edge of Europe near the ocean. It's climate is fairly cold during the winters, and it is always a nice temperature in the summer (nice enough to produce their major natural exports, like flowers and fish).

This small yet beautiful country is run by a constitutional monarchy, which implies that they are ruled by a King (Willem-Alexander) and a Queen (Queen Maxima). Although they are a Queen and a King, their power over the country is limited, and they are not part of the European union ever since the late 1800's. Currently, their main concern is the rise in bankruptcy since 2013, which is still an ongoing concern.

There are many places to visit and admire, such as Tulip fields that cover the plains of the Northern part of The Netherlands which almost resemble boxes of crayons. You can often find many windmills in these areas, as the farmers use these to create electricity or water pumps since they are far away from a modern society, and do not have regular access to electricity and water pumps. Although the land in the Netherlands is known to be incredibly low (they were forced to create stone walls to act as flood barriers because it is low) wind still flows through the tulip fields regularly enough to keep the windmills spinning.

Other popular attractions are the streets of the country that sell flowers and other popular exports. The Netherlands gives off a very small-town Dutch feeling in most parts of the country. Historical landmarks include the infamous Anne Frank house, where Anne Frank and her family took refuge in their family friend's attic in WWII.
Before you decide to visit the Netherlands, there are certain things you must know. Their official language is Dutch, so unless you are visiting this part of Europe for a short time, or if you are in a popular location where tourists are usually found (they usually speak English in these parts), you should at least know a few key phrases. Although 42% of the population do not have a religion, 30% is Catholic.
Their currency is the Euro, so you may need to visit a bank before doing anything else.

Norway: Land of Fish

Norway, located far North, to the middle of Europe near the ocean. Because of its location near major bodies of water, their major export is fish, usually herring, and it is a very nice temperature in Norway, although it does have very frigid winters.
The land is typically low. There are not many sudden elevations in the ground,which makes it easy for people to travel without having to make any dangerous drives over mountains or any sudden drops. There are, however, many many mountains in some areas of Norway, which are popular geographical landmarks, especially the fjords in Trolltunga, and the mountains above Oslo river.
Norway is run by a Constitutional monarchy, run by King Harald V, and like the Netherlands, their power is limited.

With 5,000,000+ people, Norway is home for many Dutch people (which means that their official language is Dutch), who's main religion, at a whopping 82%, is the Church of Norway (Evangelical Lutheran), which practices Roman Catholicism.

While visiting Norway, tourists should consider visiting places such as the capital of Norway, Oslo, and Trolltunga (featured in the picture above).

Switzerland: Land of Cheese and Chocolate

Switzerland, located in Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy, this German-oriented country is a popular European tourist spot, because of the rich cuisine, delicious exports, and the beautiful small, rural towns.
The swiss are famous for making exports with milk in them, such as swiss chocolate and cheese. They have a lot of livestock because of the rural area, but that doesn't just limit it to food; They also export fish and oil.

Their government is a Confederationl, or a Federal Council, which is a government run by multiple branches and people. The President of the Confederation is a man named

Didier Burkhalter. He has a limited power, and so does the rest of the Confederation.

With a population of 5,000,000+ people, Switzerland is still a very rural country in most parts, with nature and foliage everywhere, along with long, calming plains of grass and cattle. But this does not necessarily mean that all of Switzerland is rural. There are a couple large cities, such as Zurich. Although they are cities, they are not necessarily the big cities with skyscrapers and street lights everywhere like we've gotten used to imagining. Zurich, and many other Swiss cities, are usually well kept-looking, and the buildings are usually made of bricks.

Good places to visit in Switzerland are not hard to find, as all of it is usually beautiful. However, the most popular of the tourist attractions are Switzerlands many castles, like Chateau de Prangins, home to the Swiss National Museum.