Holland vs Netherlands

Holland vs Netherlands, it’s complicated to the Dutch as well. Ok, not all of it, Dutchies do understand the difference between Holland and Netherlands, but the overseas areas, that’s a different story! The video I shared with you last week hopefully will give you some insights in the Kingdom, the Caribbean countries of the Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten, and the Caribbean municipalities of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius, which together with the Caribbean countries are called the Dutch Caribbean. The picture below, although in Dutch, makes it more visible.

plaatje koningkrijk

In the Netherlands, we speak Dutch. This is not Deutsch, which is the language they speak in Germany. Our history makes that the Dutch, who live in the Netherlands, on average are not happy when they are confused with the Deutsch, who live in Germany. Compare it with calling an Iraqi person Iranian. Sensitive history going on here, let’s just say that just because the first letters are the same, the people who it applies to don’t feel similarity.

To sum up, Dutch people live in the Netherland and speak Dutch. German people live in Germany and speak Deutsch or German. German in German is Deutsch. Dutch in Dutch is Nederlands. Following?

Why explain the difference between Holland and the Netherlands? Since obviously there is more to address? Well, simply because Holland is only part of the country and not the whole country. You need to get your geography knowledge straight. Calling the Netherlands “Holland” is like saying “Texas”, when you mean the USA, or saying “Pyrenees” when you mean France. It just doesn’t cover the content of what you are trying to say.

I know, many Dutchies won’t correct you. Partially because we want you to understand and if “Holland” is what you understand than we will work with that. Partially because we are tired of explaining. So once and for all: 2 of our 12 provinces are called Holland (North and South), the 10 other provinces have different names, all together we call it the Netherlands.

I know it’s confusing that lots companies that focus on tourists use “Holland” in their communication, but let’s just assume that is because when people visit the Netherlands, they most likely visit one of the two Hollands, since that’s where most of the sightseeing is being done. There is more to explore though, options that are not in one of the two Hollands, just to name a few:

There is Breda which is considered the economic heart of West-Brabant. The city is known for is beautiful old inner city and its renewed harbour.

Then there is Den Bosch, the capital of Burgundian living in Brabant. This town is also known as ‘s Hertogenbosch, and although often assumed the second name is the original one, Den Bosch is actually the oldest name of the town.

There is Kralendijk, the Caribbean capital of Bonaire. For both tourists and locals Kralendijk is the place to be on the island. You could go diving or take a water taxi and visit the deserted island Klein Bonaire.

There is Middelburg, a beautiful historical town in Zeeland. The city is situated on the former island Walcheren. In the 11th century an abbey was founded. Until today this abbey is one of the biggest cityscapes of Middelburg.

Last but not least (really lots more to discover) is Valkenburg, in the south of Limburg. This area has several grottos which consist of marl and limestone. Together they form several corridors which in total are about 200km long.

The Netherlands is small in size, true, but we in our differences we are huge. To show that it’s not just about whether we name the country Holland or the Netherlands, look at this picture below:

Nl hol



On our roughly 41.500 square kilometres we offer a variety of differences. We have different dialects, different pronunciations, different celebrations, different ideas about vaccination and there is a lot more to it than what this image shows you.




Let’s talk about how small the country actually is. To compare The Netherlands would fit 230 times in China. Chines cities like Beijing and Shanghai have more inhabitants than the entire Netherlands, which has a little over 17 million people. We have more people visiting the country, than living here. In 2017 about 17.6 million tourists visited the Netherlands. 18.5 million are expected in 2018. There is a huge growth expectancy: in 2030 over 29 million tourists are expected to visit our beautiful “low land”.

So how about getting the name straight by explaining our lovely visitors that this is the Netherlands? Repeat after me: Tourists will be visiting “the Netherlands”, where the “Dutch” live, who speak “Dutch”. Fingers crossed they will expand their horizon by visiting Valkenburg or Breda.