Here's why you can't refer to the Netherlands as Holland anymore (2024)

Here's why you can't refer to the Netherlands as Holland anymore (1) Here's why you can't refer to the Netherlands as Holland anymore (2)
  • The Dutch government has officially decided to drop the moniker of Holland going forward, and will only refer to itself as the Netherlands.
  • The Netherlands actually consists of 12 provinces, two of which combined make up Holland, so referring to the Netherlands as a whole as Holland is just wrong.
  • This is all part of a rebrand as the country is trying to update its global image ahead of international events it is hosting in 2020, like the Eurovision Song Contest and the UEFA Euro 2020 soccer championship.
  • The rebrand hopes to manage Amsterdam's over-tourism, which has already been addressed by the country in the form of a ban on guided tours of the Red-Light District, as well as the removal of the famous "I amsterdam" sign.
  • The Dutch tourism board now plans to promote lesser-known parts of the country to spread tourists out across the Netherlands.
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Here's why you can't refer to the Netherlands as Holland anymore (5)

If you've ever gotten confused between the terms the Netherlands, Holland, and Dutch, you're not alone.

The Dutch government is well aware of the bewilderment it causes tourists and on January 1 officially decided that going forward, it will be called only the Netherlands (its people are still Dutch, though).

This not only streamlines things; it actually makes them more accurate.

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The Netherlands consists of 12 provinces, and two of these provinces combined — Noord- and Zuid-Holland (North and South Holland) — actually make up Holland, as Holland.com explains. So, calling all of the Netherlands Holland is just plain wrong.

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Here's why you can't refer to the Netherlands as Holland anymore (6)

The Guardian describes this simplified moniker as a rebrand, and "part of an attempted update of its global image" set to be officially launched at the Eurovision Song Contest in May, which takes place in Rotterdam.

According to the Guardian, businesses, the tourist board, and the central government have all agreed to use the new terminology going forward, as well as a new logo: the letters "NL" shaped like an orange tulip, combining both the national flower and color.

The rebrand hopes to manage Amsterdam's over-tourism, and to distance the Netherlands from its Red-Light District reputation. Amsterdam already banned guided tours of the famous area, which, according to the New York Times, saw more than 1,000 guided tours a week. This comes after the city removed its famous "I amsterdam" sign in December 2018 in a stand against mass tourism. The Dutch tourism board has vowed to focus on "destination management" rather than "destination promotion," and plans to promote lesser-known parts of the country to spread the many tourists out more.

Here's why you can't refer to the Netherlands as Holland anymore (7)

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry explained the rebrand by saying that "It is a little strange to promote only a small part of the Netherlands abroad, that is, only Holland."

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The timing of this can be attributed to the fact that the Netherlands is gearing up to host a variety of high-profile international events in 2020.

According to Dutch News, the Netherlands expects 29 million tourists to visit by 2030 — a whopping 10 million more tourists than it saw in 2018, a number it was already struggling with. To put that into perspective, its total population is around 17 million people.

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Here's why you can't refer to the Netherlands as Holland anymore (8)

Here's why you can't refer to the Netherlands as Holland anymore (2024)

FAQs

Do people still refer to the Netherlands as Holland? ›

The Dutch government has decided to stop using the term “Holland” to refer to the country and only go by the official name, the Netherlands.

Is it the Netherlands or Holland? ›

In some languages, Holland is used as the formal name for the Netherlands. However, Holland is a region within the Netherlands that consists of the two provinces of North and South Holland. Formerly these were a single province, and earlier the County of Holland, which included parts of present-day Utrecht.

What do the Dutch call themselves? ›

In the Dutch language, the Dutch refer to themselves as Nederlanders.

What is another name for the Netherlands? ›

The name Netherlands means “low countries.” The country is sometimes called Holland, but the name only applies to two provinces, North and South Holland, which border the North Sea in Amsterdam and The Hague.

Why don't we say Holland anymore? ›

The Dutch government has officially decided to drop the moniker of Holland going forward, and will only refer to itself as the Netherlands. The Netherlands actually consists of 12 provinces, two of which combined make up Holland, so referring to the Netherlands as a whole as Holland is just wrong.

Why did the Netherlands change their name from Holland? ›

The government has started to rebrand the country as the Netherlands to enhance its image in the face of global competition. For decades, the Dutch government used “Holland” and “the Netherlands” interchangeably to describe the country known for its iconic canals, tulip fields and windmills.

Why do Americans call Holland the Netherlands? ›

Holland is actually just part of the Netherlands, one that lies along most of the coast and includes the country's three largest cities. So the Dutch people that English traders met were typically from Holland, which is how the name came to be generally used.

What four countries make up the Netherlands? ›

The Koninkrijk der Nederlanden (Kingdom of the Netherlands) is made up of 4 countries: Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Netherlands.

What do you call a person from Holland? ›

People from Holland are called Dutch by English-speaking people only. This word is the English counterpart of the Dutch words 'diets' and 'duits'.

What do locals call Amsterdam? ›

Cities named this way were Amsterdam, Berlin, Delft, and Rotterdam. Mokum, without Aleph, is still commonly used as a nickname in the Netherlands for the city of Amsterdam.

What are German people called? ›

Germans (German: Deutsche, pronounced [ˈdɔʏtʃə]) are the natives or inhabitants of Germany, or sometimes more broadly any people who are of German descent or native speakers of the German language.

Why is Going Dutch called Going Dutch? ›

Where does going Dutch come from? Going Dutch means that every person in a group of diners or imbibers pays for their themselves. It's popularly thought the expression originated as a British slur towards the perceived stinginess of Dutch people.

Do the Dutch prefer Holland or the Netherlands? ›

Overall Dutch people prefer that people say 'The Netherlands'. This is because 2 provinces in the Netherlands are called 'Noord-Holland' and 'Zuid-Holland'. These are just provinces and not the original country name. That is why the Netherlands sounds better and is also more correct.

Why do the Netherlands have two names? ›

Many people seem to think that the two names are interchangeable. But North Holland and South Holland are actually just two of the 12 provinces of the Netherlands, which is officially called the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

When did the Netherlands flag change? ›

Flag of the Netherlands
Adopted1575 (first full colour depiction) 1596 (red replacement for orange) 1937 (red reaffirmed) 1949 (colours standardised)
DesignA horizontal triband of red (bright vermilion), white, and cobalt blue
Marine Geus or Prinsengeus
UseNaval jack
Proportion2:3
19 more rows

What do we call a person from Holland? ›

People from Holland are called Dutch by English-speaking people only. This word is the English counterpart of the Dutch words 'diets' and 'duits'.

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