Are You Talking About Holland, Netherlands, or The Netherlands

One thing that has bothered me for a while.  In all fairness, it does not bother just me.  It also bothers my friends from Europe.  Most people outside of Europe do not really see the difference between Holland and Netherlands.  Is there really a difference?  Yes, there actually is.  Well, unless you are talking about Netherlands’ Football team.  That is soccer football, not American football.  Then it is Holland.  Otherwise you are talking about Netherlands.

So, what is the difference?  Netherlands is the entire country in Europe.  Notice I said  Netherlands, not The Netherlands.  That is because if you say The Netherlands you are talking about the country of Netherlands and all of the other countries and territories that the Dutch monarchy is over.  This is only the shortened form of the name The Kingdom of the Netherlands.  Holland, on the other hand, only talks about two regions in Netherlands.  There is North Holland and South Holland.  That is not to say that these two regions are not important.  North Holland is home to Amsterdam, the capital of Netherlands.  South Holland is where The Hague, the governmental seat of Netherlands, and Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port city, are located. 

Why do people use them interchangeably then?  That is most likely because people misunderstand what they are talking about.  They assume that they are all in reference to the same place.  However, that would be like assuming that Oklahoma can be used interchangeably with saying America.  While telling people you are from Oklahoma also implies you are from America.  If you have no idea that Oklahoma is in the United States of America and not down in South America it can get confusing.  The same goes for if someone says they are from Holland.  That means that they are either from North or South Holland in Netherlands within The Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Now you know!