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Holland & Netherlands – what's the difference?

Holland & Netherlands - what is the difference?

The Netherlands. It is much more than camping holidays, seas of tulips, cheese, football, or a trip to the canals of Amsterdam.

Our neighbor is a country with great culture and a long history, full of exciting developments and achievements. And while they are often referred to as Dutch abroad, that term is not entirely accurate.

A Brief History of the Netherlands

After the division of the Frankish Empire, most of the provinces of what is now the Netherlands belonged to the East Frankish Kingdom and then to the Holy Roman Empire.
At times this division also included large areas of present-day Belgium, parts of northern France and western Germany.

During the 16th century there were many uprisings in the region. William of Orange succeeded in winning large parts of the population over to his side and in strengthening the resistance against Phillip II and Duke Alba.
The area later called itself the “Republic of the Seven United Netherlands”.
End of the In the 18th century the French conquered the country and in 1806 Napoleon appointed his brother Louis as the new king of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Although the king changed after Napoleon's fall, the monarchy remained intact.

The Netherlands experienced great economic and social growth and at times played a leading role in world politics.

The Holland region was crucial for the growth of the monarchy at the time and is therefore often used abroad as a synonym for the Netherlands.

The The official name used today is “Kingdom of the Netherlands”. The current head of state is King Willem Alexander.

The difference between the Netherlands and Holland


The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated regions in the world. Overall, it is home to over 17 million people. Also because of their colonial past there were and are streams of immigration from all parts of the world. This also makes the religious system in the country heterogeneous and diverse.
Today, the Netherlands is divided into 12 provinces and is a decentralized unitary state.
The different provinces are Limburg, Gelderland, Overijssel, Drenthe, Groningen, Flevoland, Friesland, Utrecht, North Brabant, Zeeland, as well as North and South Holland.


Holland, often used as a country name, is only two of the country's 12 provinces, as can be seen in the list. The region is particularly important due to its strong share in the economy, culture and tourism. The two provinces make up more than a third of the total population of the Netherlands. Over 6 million of the approximately 17 million inhabitants live in one of the two Dutch areas. This is also where the three largest and perhaps most well-known cities in the country are by far: Amsterdam with around 900,000, Rotterdam with around 650,000 and The Hague with around 550,000 inhabitants.
Long the North Sea there are usually long dunes along the coast. Much of the region is below sea level.

What we owe to the Netherlands

Despite its small size in terms of area, the Netherlands has become significantly larger in terms of achievements and inventions. We owe them not only the tulip trade today. Starting with the sawmill, through the first submersible in history to the first share on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. The Netherlands have shaped and revolutionized many areas of today's world affairs. Especially in the so-called golden age in connection with the thriving financial complex and the great trading power of the large sea fleet.
The invention of the telescope and the microscope can also be attributed to the Netherlands.
And we still benefit today in the technological sector enormously from the development and production of the company Phillips and its subsidiaries. The company ASML, which is a global leader in semiconductor production, should also be highlighted here.

Special personalities apart from the inventions mentioned can be listed in long lists. Some are, for example, the artists Van Gogh and Rembrandt, footballer Johan Cruyff, Queen Beatrix, or Erasmus of Rotterdam. The latter was one of the greatest scholars of his time and his influence as a humanist and theologian extends far into the present day.

In 2020 Holland was removed from official usage as a synonym for the Netherlands. To date, the Office for Tourism, among others, has still used this term itself, while it was and is very untypical among locals.

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