Nederland, Holland, the Netherlands

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The Netherlands

The capital of NL



Holland, the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Netherlands

A nomenclature


The Netherlands is the continental part of the Koninkrijk der Nederlanden, "the Kingdom of the Netherlands."*

The historical region of Holland, geographically approximating the modern provinces of North- and South Holland, has long been and is now the richest, most culturally-developed, most industrialized, and most-densely-populated region in the Kingdom — and, indeed, still ranks high in each of these categories in the entire world.

Holland, the region, has long been dominant within the Netherlands — economically and culturally if not by explicit political-military rule. The word "Holland" has probably been synonymous with that power to many people at home and abroad.

It's possible to offend a Dutch person by refering to the Netherlands as "Holland;" but the offense is unlikely to be profound or acute. (Yet, there are some who would add caveat to that statement: various regions within the country have distinct-enough historic and cultural identities that an objection to their inclusion in "Holland" is not trivial.)

In defense of anglophones, many other Europeans call the Netherlands a variation of "Holland." Indeed, the ratio appears to be about equal between a version of it and a translation of "low country."

And it's the Dutch themselves, after all, who chant "hup hup Holland" at an international soccer match. (Although, naturally, one ought not surmise too much about a culture based upon the behavior of its sports fans.)

In any case, calling the Netherlands "Holland" is not explicitly correct, but it wouldn't normally be much of a gaffe.


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* The Kingdom of the Netherlands, besides its continental European territory, also comprises Suriname, on the north coast of South America, as well as the Carribean Aruba and Dutch Antilles,** a tiny island and two groups of tiny islands, respectively.

** The Dutch Antilles was dissolved in 2010, although all of its constituent islands remain a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

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