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 Realize Holland and Cultural Icons of Holland 认识荷兰及其文化符

     1 认识荷兰
     Holland is a name in common usage given to a region in the western part of the Netherlands. The term Holland is also frequently used to refer to the whole of the Netherlands. This usage is generally accepted but nevertheless unofficial and disliked by many Dutch people in the other parts of the Netherlands.
     From the 10th century to the 16th century, Holland proper was a unified political region, a county ruled by the Count of Holland. By the 17th century, Holland had risen to become a maritime and economic power, dominating the other provinces of the Dutch Republic.
     Today, the former County of Holland consists of the two Dutch provinces of North Holland and South Holland, which together include the Netherlands' three largest cities:country capital Amsterdam; seat of government, The Hague; and Rotterdam, home of Europe's largest port.
     The predominance of Holland in the Netherlands has resulted in regionalism on the part of the other provinces. This is a reaction to the perceived threat that Holland poses to the identities and local cultures of the other provinces.
     Holland tends to be associated with a particular image. The stereotypical image of Holland is an artificial amalgam of tulips, windmills, clogs, cheese and traditional dress (klederdracht). As is the case with many stereotypes, this is far from the truth and reality of life in Holland. This can at least in part be explained by the active exploitation of these stereotypes in promotions of Holland and the Netherlands. In fact only in a few of the more traditional villages, such as Volendam and locations in the Zaan area, are the different costumes with wooden shoes still worn by some inhabitants.
     2 荷兰文化符号的表达方式
     Tulips郁金香-National Flower国花
     Windmills    风车
     Wooden Shoes   木鞋
     Wooden shoes are a holdover from Holland's agricultural roots. In the days before plastic and rubber became mainstream, wood was a cheap, readily available material for making strong, waterproof shoes that were perfect for working long days in the fields.
     Cheese 奶酪
     The Dutch are known for being fond of their cheese. After all, every postcard from the Netherlands that doesn't feature tulips seems to be of a piece of cheese. In fact, the Dutch are such famous cheese-eaters that they are known abroad as "cheese-heads".
     National Anthem 国歌
     The Dutch national anthem is supposedly the world's oldest, but it's also one of the strangest. It's basically just a short autobiographical summary of Prince William of Orange, as sung by himself.
     Bicycle 自行车
     In the everyday life of Holland the bike is a familiar sight. Sixteen million people own approximately thirteen million bicycles! Nearly everyone has one, and some people even have two.

     Tulips are Holland's national flower, and when in season you can view vast fields of them in certain parts of the country.
     You see, the flowers are not native to Holland, and the only reason they even have them in the first place is because Dutch marauders stole them from Turkey in the 17th century.
     The Turks resent this, and in recent years have tried to reclaim the tulip as their own national symbol.
     The farmers grow these beautiful crops of flowers and then, in the harvest time, usually in the late spring, they chop off the tops of the flowers and sell them to gardeners around the world.
     The farmers here were wearing the most famous part of Dutch costume-wooden shoes!
     Some people still wear wooden shoes today-usually just farmers and other people who spend a lot of time wading through dirt.
     The clogs that you can buy in most stores are intended more for decorative purposes. Real clogs intended for wearing are usually far less attractive.
     Anyone who loves spring flowers, especially tulips, should visit the Keukenhof Gardens near Amsterdam, the capital city of Holland.
     Keukenhof Gardens are reputed to be the world's largest flower gardens.
     It has over 7 million spring flowers planted; many types of brilliant bulbs are in bloom for the entire season!
     The best time to see the tulips is around mid-April, but it varies somewhat with the weather.
     A short distance outside of Amsterdam is the Flower Auction Aalsmeer, which is the world's largest flower auction.
     Aalsmeer is the "flower" capital of the country.
     In addition, the spectacular flower parades can be seen throughout Holland from April through September.
     The first and biggest parade is a huge attraction drawing tourists from home and abroad, is held at the end of April every year.
     The floats in the parade are all made of flower petals. That is really an amazing sight!
     Another former staple of Dutch agricultural life, mills were originally used for all sorts of practical purposes such as grinding flour, sawing wood, or pumping water.
     Today they've mostly been rendered obsolete by modern machinery, but some can still be seen operating in the Dutch countryside.
     Because they're such treasured national symbols, there is a windmill conservation movement in Holland that seeks to preserve the remaining survivors.
     Though windmills may be disappearing, wind turbines are plentiful.
     Because Holland is so flat and windy, wind power remains a popular source of energy.
     When you're driving across long stretches of flat farmland, collections of tall, white wind turbines are a common sight.
     Windmills have always played a great part in the life of Holland and its inhabitants.
     It is only in Holland that so many windmills are present in so small an area.
     These windmills moreover are in very reasonable, many of them even in excellent, condition and a considerable number of them are working regularly.
     There are windmills of the most varied types:drainage mills, corn mills, and industrial mills for all sorts of purposes.

     Emily:If I want to travel abroad, where should I go?
     Jack:What about Holland?
     Emily:Holland is a nice choice.
     Jack:Yes. It is dubbed as the Nation of Windmill, Nation of Flower and Nation of farmland.
     Emily:And it is through Holland that tulips become well known in the whole world.
     Jack:Yes. The tulip is the National flower of Holland.
     Emily:Windmills in Holland are also famous.
     Jack:It is only in Holland that so many windmills are present in so small an area.
     Emily:Holland is such a romantic place.
     Jack:You can also the spectacular flower parades in Holland.
     Emily:That must be an amazing sight.
     Jack:Yes. You are right.
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