News On January 1, stop telling a Dutchman that he...

On January 1, stop telling a Dutchman that he is Dutch!


In recent days, the news has been around the world and aroused astonishment. The Dutch government is demanding that the country be called the Netherlands and no longer Holland, as is often the case. The opportunity to recall the difference between the two terms

Dutch media had already announced it last October. The Foreign Ministry wants to end the misuse of the term “Holland”. The government has therefore decided to change the official logo of the Netherlands, which is used to promote the country’s tourism abroad.

The English word “Holland” has thus been replaced by “The Netherlands” [Pays-Bas]. Cost of the operation: 200,000 euros. From 1st January, embassies and universities will therefore be forced to abandon the first term, which actually only refers to part of the country.

The new Netherlands logo.

Surprisingly Spanish

The Dutch version of the free newspaper Subway reports the surprise caused abroad by this decision and which the international press has echoed in recent days.

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World News :

In Spain but also in several parts of America and Australia, there is much talk of the Netherlands which will no longer be called “Holland” from 1st January. [Les médias de ces pays] now explain the difference between the Netherlands and Holland. ”

The Netherlands is made up of twelve provinces

Holland is made up of only two provinces: South Holland and North Holland where there are big cities like the capital Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. The ten other provinces of the Netherlands are therefore not in Holland. For example, the country’s fourth largest city, Utrecht, is located in the province of Utrecht and therefore cannot be considered Dutch.

According to private television RTL Nieuws, with this reminder, the government hopes to promote tourism in the rest of the country, often forgotten in favor of the provinces of North Holland and South. But the problem would also come from the Dutch themselves. To simplify, when they are abroad, underlines the newspaper De Volkskrant, many Dutch people present themselves as “Dutch” from “Holland”.


  1. Hiya, thanks for covering this, but it isn’t entirely correct.

    We Dutchmen have no trouble with being called Dutch (it’s a word of Germanic origin that simply means ‘people’. In a broader sense, it would also include the people of Germany, who call themselves Deutsch).

    What we don’t like is when you call the whole country Holland. It would be like calling the whole of the UK ‘England’ (which the Scots, Irish, and Welsh wouldn’t like, for obvious reasons).

    Yes, the Netherlands has twelve provinces. Two of those are called Holland (North and South). Most stereotypes of the Dutch are based on people of those parts.

    But there are ten (10) other provinces! You could even say that ‘Holland’ is only a fraction of the country, and by no means representative of the whole.

    Each province has a unique history, and some look totally different from what you may have been fed by the tourism board. It’s not all tulip fields, dikes and windmills. There are three other languages here.

    It’s mostly the Dutchmen from the Holland provinces who would call the country Holland abroad. They generally think they’re the centre of the Netherlands.

    ‘Enforcing’ the correct terminology, therefore, is the only right thing to do, and should have been corrected ages ago.

  2. I’m from Holland/The Netherlands and I have to, unfortunately, tell you that your article is wrong. Yes, there are 12 provinces in the Netherlands. Yes, two of them are named North-Holland and South-Holland. But… All 12 provinces are part of the Netherlands and are therefor Dutch. For us Dutch people, ‘Holland’ is just another name to name our country when we are abroad, because a lot of foreigners have not heard of ‘the Netherlands’ but do know ‘Holland’.

    To sum up: 12 provinces in the country ‘the Netherlands’ which is also named ‘Holland’ sometimes. All provinces are Dutch and are inhabited by Dutch people.


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