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JLeslie's avatar

Why and when did the US start referring to Holland as The Netherlands?

Asked by JLeslie (57188points) 5 days ago from iPhone

My Dutch friends use Holland, it seems to me it would make sense to follow their lead.

Did other countries stop using Holland too?

From what I understand Holland technically is only part of the Netherlands, but the entire country was referred to as Holland.

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30 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I’ve called the country Netherlands since 1953, in grammar school after the floods of that year.
It was explained to us in class calling the country Holland was like calling the USA New York.

Demosthenes's avatar

Holland has long been the most populous and most familiar region of the Netherlands (it’s home to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague). It’s similar to when people use “England” to refer to the entire UK. I’m not sure when it became more common, but it seems old-fashioned to me. I have some records from the ‘60s and ‘70s that say “Made in Holland” on them.

Darth_Algar's avatar

“Netherlands” has been in use (officially or otherwise) for many centuries now. Longer than the US has existed at least.

stanleybmanly's avatar

You have it backwards. “Netherlands” was the term for “the low countries” in the heyday of of the Holy Roman Empire, centuries prior to the common usage of Dutch or Holland. In fact the word Netherlands was in place when there was no distinction between Germany and Holland. The very word describes what was commonly known about that part of the world at the time.

Pandora's avatar

Netherland is a monarchy that has Holland in it. The reason Holland stands out is because in the early years it was the first major trading providence. So as stated above, it would be like calling the United States, New York. Holland is 2 provinces in the Netherlands, not a country.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Pandora Did you go in grammar school in California in the 1950’s? Asking because that is where “like calling USA New York” is direct quote from teacher.

jca2's avatar

According to Wikipedia: Holland is a region and former province on the western coast of the Netherlands.

So all of Holland is The Netherlands but not all of the Netherlands is Holland.

All of New York is the USA but not all of the USA is New York.

jca2's avatar

All zebras are horses but not all horses are zebras.

Pandora's avatar

@Tropical_Willie 1. I’m from the east coast.2. I’m not that old. 3. I got the New York reference from you, as I commented in my statement.

Yellowdog's avatar

Yeah, Holland is only a part of the Netherlands.

They gave us the name “Yankee” which means “Young Kid(s)” in Dutch

JLeslie's avatar

As I said above, I see that Holland is part of the Netherlands, but as a child I remember it being referred to as Holland. Every Dutch person I’ve ever met says Holland, although maybe most of them were actually from Holland specifically. I asked one Dutch friend here recently, and she said she uses Holland. I wish Whitenoise was still here to ask.

I use Asian for people from India, Pakistan, etc, and most people in America don’t, but technically I’m correct, and my Pakistani-Scottish friend calls herself Asian, so who is right there? Common usage in America I don’t use Asian for anyone outside of what used to be called the Orient, basically east Asia. So, the question was more about common usage.

I was under the impression back when I was young in America The Netherlands was referred to as Holland, but maybe not. I don’t remember learning Netherlands in geography in school. I guess I must be wrong about what was taught, or what people used, looking at all of these answers.

Edit: I googled and this says Holland was commonly used to refer to the entire country. https://www.holland.com/global/tourism/information/netherlands-vs-holland.htm

Yellowdog's avatar

In MY mind/understanding, Holland evokes images of Friesian and Saxony and an almost Danish culture typical of the Friesian Islands and north coast of the Netherlands. It evokes images of wooden shoes and wind pumps (erroneously thought of as ‘windmills’ )

Netherlands, overlapping everything Dutch, is more the image of Belgium and Luxembourg, or the Benelux countries.

I don’t think of it much, as both are Dutch—but maybe the Netherlands are just a tad more French—and Holland as a bit more low German or marginally Danish in ambiance.

But I always DO associate the Netherlands as containing Holland and being synonymous

JLeslie's avatar

@Yellowdog That’s interesting.

In Michigan there is a town called Holland, MI, and they have a tulip festival every year, and tulip time is a big deal. Many Dutch settled there, and are still there. I grew up in NY as a young girl, and many areas of NY have Dutch names, and Dutch colors, and I’m sure many people know NY originally was called New Amsterdam. NY has the Holland tunnel, and the sports teams have Dutch colors, and the Manhattan flag is Dutch colors, and I think most of the NYC Boroughs have a Dutch reference in their flag.

I just find it odd I don’t remember hearing The Netherlands until I was an adult. I might not have been paying attention though. Lol.

Yellowdog's avatar

Yes, Tulips are also what I associate Holland with: Windmills, wooden shoes, and Tulips.

New York city, the original capitol of the U.S. was formerly New Amsterdam and the original American culture probably as Dutch as it was English, and at least the lower half of the state of New York has the Netherlands as its base culture,

I remember trying to find Holland on a map in eighth grade—thinking the country was still a quaint place it was in storybooks. I only ran across the names Nederlands, Netherlands, and Hook of Holland,

flo's avatar

Provinces in Holland

1.North Holland
2.South Holland
3.Flevoland
4.Gelderland
5.North Brabant
6.Overijssel
7.Drenthe
8.Utrecht
9.Groningen
10.Friesland
11.Zeeland
12.Limburg

From the link above in @JLeslie‘s post.
But shouldn’t the heading be the provinces in Netherlands?

JLeslie's avatar

@flo Well, my link indicates The Netherlands is ok with the whole country being referred to as Holland. The link is a Holland tourism site.

flo's avatar

@JLeslie Where does it indicate that The Netherlands is ok with it?
That just looks to me as a simple error. Imagine a list of the 50 States and the heading said The States in NY, or something.
Besides I’m sure there are people who would say that it’s ok with them that the sun is called the moon.

JLeslie's avatar

@flo It looks to me like that is a website created in cooperation the Holland/Netherlands tourism bureau. I might be wrong about that. Even if it is not a Netherlands site, it doesn’t change that the website is called Holland.com, so that means a lot of people are still using the name Holland I would think, supporting the idea that Holland is used to mean the whole country by at least some people, probably more than some. I’m not trying to argue that it should be referred to as Holland, I am only saying it is done.

The states in NY is different, because no one refers to NY as the entire USA. That’s never been a thing.

flo's avatar

@JLeslie “It’s a been a thing” can be said about a million things though. It can become a thing if more people did the same thing with NY and the states, it just so happens it hasn’t been a thing.

JLeslie's avatar

I use Netherlands by the way, I know that is technically more correct.

Sure, I agree anything can become a thing, and sometimes the things are annoying they are so inaccurate. I’m not arguing with any of that.

flo's avatar

I understand. There is so much real stuff that requires brain power to understand, ....
By the way, I got Wikipedia and National Geography for kids and I don’t know why I don’t find the list there.

JLeslie's avatar

@flo On this Quora thread the people who are Dutch seem to be agreeing Holland is sometimes used to refer to the whole country, and not just by Americans. One person states that most people there don’t mind, but some regions of the country do.

What list where?

flo's avatar

@JLeslie That’s a mystery… to me.

flo's avatar

@JLeslie You edited to add to your last post. It just so happened I saw it. To answer your Q National Geographic for Kids, does it have the list of the provices that make Netherlands? I found it in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netherlands after my last post, and after tons of scrolling. I would have thought that list would be found on any site that’s about the ABC of Netherland, either immediately or without the need to scroll/search so much. It’s like what language/s is/are spoken or the population etc.

JLeslie's avatar

@flo I know what the Netherlands is. I don’t understand your answer. This morning I asked a Dutch Facebook friend, he wore this:

…it does not annoy me a lot. But that might be because I am from the two western ‘states’ (or provinces) of the Netherlands. Those are North and South Holland. It used to be on state, the mightiest one, untill Napoleon Bonaparte dividend them. But in Holland we refer to ourselves a lot like ‘ those Hollanders’, unless you live in Friesland, which has it’s own language for instance. Or from the deep south, Limburg, which is almost Belgium. These people have a strong regional pride. And they are right, because there are gorgeous areas there too. But abroad, the image of tulips, Amsterdam, Canals woorden shoes, called klompen, and windmills ( did you know that one of my ancesters, Floris van Alkemade invented the Dutch windmill?) still lives on and those are definitively western Holland. Those are the positieve signs. Let us not forget about the stingyness in Dutch treat or a Dutch Uncle, lol. Those are more from the people of Zeeland (Sealand) who are stingy to the bone and proud of it. So I don’t think it annoys a lot of people around here, except from some diehard regionals, to be called, Dutch or Hollander, when, in fact they mean, The Netherlands. Does this help a bit?

I already knew some of what he wrote, but I went ahead and pasted the majority of it anyway.

I think it’s the whole tulip, windmill and tourist thing. As I think about it more, it’s possible the people I interacted with when I was younger possibly went to Holland or were from Holland, so maybe they were only referring to Holland and not the entire country, and my interpretation was wrong.

flo's avatar

@JLeslie I was just pointing at what’s in the link you posted. One of the he basic things about Netherlands, i.e the 12 provinces. Someone already has answered you OP? I’m guessing. I don’t have an naswer to the OP.

JLeslie's avatar

No problem. :)

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Interesting. My family on my Mom’s side is Dutch. Her Grandparents immigrated from the Isle of Texal.
3 of my cousins and their Dad just spent two weeks visiting.and sight seeing.
We all call it Holland.

Yellowdog's avatar

My first girlfriend, when we were in Kindergarten, was a Dutch girl named Hanneke. She spoke Dutch, German, and Walloon or French. and was learning English. There were other ethnicities—several Hispanic and Russian children. But Hanneke is why I became fascinated with Holland and wanted to be Dutch.

Not sure why we got along so well and were not particularly friends with anyone else.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Correction. My mom’s parents immigrated. My grandparents.

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