Nederland, Holland, and The Netherlands

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The Netherlands

The capital of NL



The United Kingdom of the Netherlands, The Netherlands, and Holland

The nomenclature


The Netherlands in Dutch is Nederland — 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 such a variation and a local 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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