15. Your garden
The Dutch are known for the tulip, which is actually an adaptation of the Turkish variety, and happens to sell a huge amount in the flower market. But the Dutch are growing a lot more than that... and shipping it to your local flower shop. A whole 24% of the horticultural trade is driven by the Dutch, and that number jumps up to 50% when you’re talking about flowers only. That’s a lot more than tulips. It’s food too -- the Dutch are also the world’s leading onion growers.
16. Modern fire-fighting
Jan van der Heyden was a Golden Age Dutch painter… and really got into fire-quenching technology. Not only did he develop the modern roll-up fire hose with his brother, Nicolaes, in 1673, but he also developed an advanced pumping system, tinkered with the fire-engine model, published history’s most famous firefighting book, and set up and led the first Amsterdam volunteer fire department. The story goes that he witnessed the destruction of Amsterdam’s original town hall, conveniently located next to his house, and he got super motivated to prevent that from happening again. He also set up the city’s -- and one of the world’s -- first street-lighting systems, because, you know, he was bored, probably. Or maybe he wanted to keep his fire brigade on their toes.
17. Levees (dykes) and man-made islands
The Dutch have been fighting back floods, draining land, and building islands since they started populating their wet corner of Europe. In addition to boasting a number of impressive projects -- locks, seemingly endless levees, and at least half of Amsterdam -- they’re the go-to experts abroad, helping countries like Japan and the US build water defenses and the city of Dubai new islands of entertainment.