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The Netherlands or Holland?

The provinces of Holland

The two provinces of North Holland and South Holland are highlighted in yellow on the map. The country as a whole is referred to as the Netherlands.

Officially, the country is called the Netherlands. That’s the name you’ll see on things like currency and stamps but, confusingly, the country is also referred to as Holland – especially internationally.

Technically, the term Holland refers to just two of the country’s 12 provinces. They were, historically, the dominant provinces.

From the great ports of Holland, merchants sailed to and from destinations all over Europe, and merchants from all over Europe gathered to trade in the warehouses of Amsterdam and other trading cities of Holland. Wikipedia

Some Dutch people get upset if you refer to Holland rather than the Netherlands but at the same time many people, including the Dutch, use the terms interchangeably.

If you watch the Dutch national team play soccer, you’ll hear the crowd cheering “Hup Holland, Hup!” and the official tourism website has the address www.holland.com.

There’s no doubt that Holland is easier to say (and spell) than the Netherlands. Maybe that’s why the shorter name is more widely used among tourists and many locals.

We use both names on this blog because we want people to be able to find us, whether they’re searching for terms such as “visit Holland” or “visit the Netherlands”.

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