Netherlands vs. Holland

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What is the difference between Holland and the Netherlands? The Netherlands consists of 12 provinces but many people use “Holland” when talking about the Netherlands.

  • The two provinces of Noord- and Zuid-Holland together are Holland.
  • The 12 provinces together are the Netherlands.
  • Holland is often used when all of the Netherlands is meant.

The official name of the country is the Kingdom of the Netherlands. King Willem-Alexander is the king of the nation. Holland actually only means the two provinces of Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland. However, the name Holland is often used when all of the Netherlands is meant.

A brief history of the Netherlands and Holland

Between 1588 and 1795, the area currently representing the Netherlands was the Republic of Seven United Netherlands. The republic was conquered by French troops in 1795 and became the Batavian Republic. Napoleon appointed his brother Louis as king in 1806, turning the country into a kingdom. The Netherlands remained a kingdom after Napoleon’s defeat. At that time, the area called “Holland” made the biggest contribution to the entire nation’s economy and wealth. As such it became the commonly used name to indicate the entire country.

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