What is the difference between the Netherlands and Holland?

The difference between the Netherlands and Holland is that the latter are two of the twelve regions of the former: North Holland and South Holland.. The confusion usually comes because the area of ​​Holland has had more political and economic weight in the history of the country. Cities such as Amsterdam – the capital -, Rotterdam – one of the largest ports in Europe – and The Hague – seat of the Government and Parliament – are in the Dutch provinces, while other relevant cities, such as Arnhem or Maastricht, are in the provinces. of Gelderland and Limburg, respectively.

Netherlands is the State, Holland is two regions

The territory of the Netherlands is made up of twelve provinces and three islands located in the Caribbean with a special character but governed under the same Constitution: Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba. In turn, it is one of the constituent entities of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with Aruba, Curacao and Saint Martin, three other Caribbean islands. The name of the country is Dutch, which comes from the place name Netherlands (conjunction of ‘lands’ and ‘lowlands’) in Dutch, which is also the name of the official language.

The population density of the Netherlands is higher than that of almost all European countries. However, about half of the country’s inhabitants are concentrated in the ring formed by the main metropolises of the two Dutch provinces and Utrecht. It is not in vain that this region, known as Randstad, is part of the European blue banana, the economic center of the continent. It is a highly developed area, favored by the course of the Rhine and Meuse rivers and driven by the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century.

The geography of the two Netherlands is also different from other parts of the Netherlands. The western part of the country, where the provinces of South and North Holland are located, is especially flat and is below sea level. It is flooded with canals and marshy territories on the seashore used for agriculture: the so-called polders, characteristic of these regions. On the other hand, in the eastern half of the country the land rises above sea level.

A common error that the Government wants to correct

In culture and sport, the country that participates in Eurovision, the Olympic Games or football competitions is the Netherlands, and not Holland, a common mistake especially in the football field. The Dutch tourism industry had promoted the country as Holland (it is the name of its official website), but in 2020 a new image came into effect with the Netherlands (NL) brand. The Government wanted to prevent all its citizens from being referred to by two of its regions from abroad. Therefore, its objective is to publicize the potential of the entire national territory and thus balance the tourism, trade and investment that the country received, concentrated in Amsterdam, and distribute it throughout all the regions.

In Spain, the Royal Spanish Academy recognizes the frequency of errors in Spanish. The Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Dudas admits both names in colloquial speech, while in official texts it recommends using the official name of the Netherlands. The error is repeated in other languages: in English it is common to use holland rather Netherlandsin French Hollande instead of Pays-Bas and in Portuguese Holland rather Netherlands. However, this type of confusion also occurs with England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, which are different territories although they are often used without distinction.