This article is about the region in the Netherlands, not that country itself. For the country of the Netherlands as a whole, see Netherlands
is a geographical region
and former province
on the western coast of the Netherlands
The name Holland
is also frequently used informally
to refer to the whole
of the country of the Netherlands.
This usage is commonly accepted in other countries and is also commonly employed by the Dutch
However, some in the Netherlands, particularly those from regions outside Holland, find it undesirable, misrepresentative, or even offensive to use the term for the whole country.
From the 10th to the 16th century, Holland proper was a unified political region within the Holy Roman Empire
as a county
ruled by the counts of Holland
. By the 17th century, the province of Holland had risen to become a maritime and economic power, dominating the other provinces of the newly independent Dutch Republic
Etymology and terminology
The name Holland
first appeared in sources for the region around Haarlem
, and by 1064 was being used as the name of the entire county. By the early twelfth century, the inhabitants of Holland were called Hollandi
in a Latin
is derived from the Old Dutch
This spelling variation remained in use until around the 14th century, at which time the name stabilised as Holland
(alternative spellings at the time were Hollant
). A popular but erroneous folk etymology
holds that Holland
is derived from hol land
("hollow land" in Dutch) purportedly inspired by the low-lying geography
of the land.
"Holland" is informally used in English
and other languages, including sometimes the Dutch language
itself, to mean the whole of the modern country of the Netherlands
This example of pars pro toto
is similar to the tendency to refer to the United Kingdom as "England",
and developed due to Holland's becoming the dominant province and thus having the majority of political and economic interactions with other countries.
The people of Holland are referred to as "Hollanders" in both Dutch and English, though in English this is now unusual. Today this refers specifically to people from the current provinces of North Holland and South Holland. Strictly speaking, the term "Hollanders" does not refer to people from the other provinces in the Netherlands, but colloquially "Hollanders" is sometimes used in this wider sense.
In Dutch, the Dutch word "Hollands
" is the adjectival form for "Holland
". The Dutch word "Hollands
" is also colloquially used by some Dutch people in the sense of "Nederlands
" (Dutch), occasionally with the intention of contrasting with other types of Dutch people or language, for example Limburgish
, the Belgian varieties of the Dutch language ("Flemish
"), or even any southern variety of Dutch within the Netherlands itself.
In English, "Dutch" refers to the Netherlands as a whole, but there is no commonly used adjective for "Holland". The word "Hollandish" is no longer in common use. "Hollandic
" is the name linguists give to the dialect spoken in Holland, and is occasionally also used by historians and when referring to pre-Napoleonic Holland.
County of Holland
In 1432, Holland became part of the Burgundian Netherlands
and since 1477 of the HabsburgSeventeen Provinces
. In the 16th century the county became the most densely urbanised
region in Europe, with the majority of the population living in cities. Within the Burgundian Netherlands, Holland was the dominant province in the north; the political influence of Holland largely determined the extent of Burgundian dominion in that area. The last count of Holland was Philip III, better known as Philip II
, king of Spain. He was deposed in 1581 by the Act of Abjuration
, although the kings of Spain continued to carry the titular appellation of Count of Holland until the Peace of Münster
signed in 1648.
A map of Holland from 1682
In the Dutch Rebellion against the Habsburgs during the Eighty Years' War
, the naval forces of the rebels, the Watergeuzen
, established their first permanent base in 1572 in the town of Brill
. In this way, Holland, now a sovereign state in a larger Dutch confederation, became the centre of the rebellion. It became the cultural, political and economic centre of the United Provinces
: Verenigde Provinciën
), in the 17th century, the Dutch Golden Age
, the wealthiest nation in the world. After the King of Spain
was deposed as the count of Holland, the executive and legislative power rested with the States of Holland, which was led by a political figure who held the office of Grand Pensionary
Many Europeans thought of the United Provinces first as Holland
rather than as the Republic of the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands
. A strong impression of Holland
was planted in the minds of other Europeans, which then was projected back onto the Republic as a whole. Within the provinces themselves, a gradual slow process of cultural expansion took place, leading to a "Hollandification" of the other provinces and a more uniform culture for the whole of the Republic. The dialect of urban Holland became the standard language
Under French rule
Departments of French Empire North 1811
The formation of the Batavian Republic
, inspired by the French revolution
, led to a more centralised government. Holland became a province of a unitary state
. Its independence was further reduced by an administrative reform in 1798, in which its territory was divided into several departments called Amstel
, and part of Schelde en Maas
From 1806 to 1810 Napoleon
styled his vassal state, governed by his brother Louis Napoleon
and shortly by the son of Louis, Napoleon Louis Bonaparte
, as the "Kingdom of Holland
". This kingdom encompassed much of what would become the modern Netherlands. The name reflects how natural at the time it had become to equate Holland with the non-Belgian Netherlands as a whole.
Kingdom of the Netherlands
In 1815, Holland was restored as a province of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands
. Holland was divided into the present provinces North Holland
and South Holland
in 1840, after the Belgian Revolution
of 1830. This reflected a historical division of Holland along the IJ
into a Southern Quarter (Zuiderkwartier
) and a Northern Quarter (Noorderkwartier
but the present division is different from the old division. From 1850, a strong process of nation formation
took place, the Netherlands being culturally unified and economically integrated by a modernisation
process, with the cities of Holland as its centre.
Holland is located in the west of the Netherlands. A maritime region, Holland lies on the North Sea
at the mouths of the Rhine
and the Meuse
(Maas). It contains numerous rivers and lakes, and has an extensive inland canal and waterway system. To the south is Zealand
. The region is bordered on the east by the IJsselmeer
and four Dutch provinces.
Holland is protected from the sea by a long line of coastal dunes
. The highest point in Holland, about 55 metres (180 ft) above sea level,
is in the Schoorlse Duinen [nl]
(Schoorl Dunes). Most of the land area behind the dunes consists of polder
landscape lying well below sea level
. At present the lowest point in Holland is a polder near Rotterdam
, which is about seven metres (23 ft
) below sea level. Continuous drainage is necessary to keep Holland from flooding. In earlier centuries windmills
were used for this task. The landscape was (and in places still is) dotted with windmills, which have become a symbol of Holland.
Holland is 7,494 square kilometres (2,893 square miles
), land and water included, making it roughly 13% of the area of the Netherlands. Looking at land alone, it is 5,488 square kilometres (2,119 square miles) in area. The combined population was in 2018 6.5 million.
The Randstad area is one of the most densely populated regions of Europe, but still relatively free of urban sprawl. There are strict zoning laws
. Population pressures are enormous, property values are high, and new housing is constantly under development on the edges of the built-up areas. Surprisingly, much of the province still has a rural character. The remaining agricultural land and natural areas are highly valued and protected. Most of the arable land is used for intensive agriculture
, including horticulture and greenhouse
Reclamation of the land
Benthuizen polder, as seen from a dike
The land that is now Holland has not been "stable" since prehistoric times. The western coastline shifted up to thirty kilometres (19 miles) to the east and storm surges regularly broke through the row of coastal dunes. The Frisian Isles
, originally joined to the mainland, became detached islands in the north. The main rivers, the Rhine
and the Meuse (Maas)
, flooded regularly and changed course repeatedly and dramatically.
The people of Holland found themselves living in an unstable, watery environment. Behind the dunes
on the coast of the Netherlands a high peat
plateau had grown, forming a natural protection against the sea. Much of the area was marsh
. By the tenth century the inhabitants set about cultivating this land by draining it. However, the drainage resulted in extreme soil shrinkage, lowering the surface of the land by up to fifteen metres (49 feet).
To the south of Holland, in Zeeland
, and to the north, in Frisia
, this development led to catastrophic storm floods
literally washing away entire regions, as the peat layer disintegrated or became detached and was carried away by the flood water. From the Frisian side the sea even flooded the area to the east, gradually hollowing Holland out from behind and forming the Zuiderzee
(the present IJsselmeer). This inland sea threatened to link up with the "drowned lands" of Zealand in the south, reducing Holland to a series of narrow dune barrier islands
in front of a lagoon
. Only drastic administrative intervention saved the county from utter destruction. The counts and large monasteries took the lead in these efforts, building the first heavy emergency dikes
to bolster critical points. Later special autonomous administrative bodies were formed, the waterschappen
("water control boards"), which had the legal power to enforce their regulations and decisions on water management
. They eventually constructed an extensive dike system that covered the coastline and the polders, thus protecting the land from further incursions by the sea.
However, the Hollanders did not stop there. Starting around the 16th century, they took the offensive and began land reclamation
projects, converting lakes, marshy areas and adjoining mudflats into polders
. This continued well into the 20th century. As a result, historical maps of medieval
and early modern Holland bear little resemblance to present maps.
This ongoing struggle to master the water played an important role in the development of Holland as a maritime and economic power, and has traditionally been seen as developing the presumed collective character of its inhabitants: stubborn, egalitarian and frugal.
The stereotypical image of Holland is an artificial amalgam of tulips
, Edam cheese
and the traditional dress (klederdracht
) of the village of Volendam
, far from the reality of everyday Holland. These stereotypes were deliberately created in the late 19th century by official "Holland Promotion" to attract tourists.
The predominance of Holland in the Netherlands has resulted in regionalism
on the part of the other provinces, a reaction to the perceived threat that Holland poses to their local culture and identity. The other provinces have a strong, and often negative,
image of Holland and the Hollanders, to whom certain qualities are ascribed within a mental geography
, a conceptual mapping of spaces and their inhabitants.
On the other hand, some Hollanders take Holland's cultural dominance for granted and treat the concepts of "Holland" and "the Netherlands" as coinciding. Consequently, they see themselves not primarily as Hollanders, but simply as Dutch (Nederlanders
This phenomenon has been called "hollandocentrism".
The predominant language spoken in Holland is Dutch
. Hollanders sometimes call the Dutch language "Hollands,
instead of the standard term Nederlands
. Inhabitants of Belgium and other provinces of the Netherlands use "Hollands" to mean a Hollandic
dialect or strong accent.
Standard Dutch was historically largely based on the dialect of the County of Holland
, incorporating many traits derived from the dialects of the previously more powerful Duchy of Brabant
and County of Flanders
. Strong dialectal variation still exists throughout the Low Countries
. Today, Holland proper is the region where the original dialects are least spoken, in many areas having been completely replaced by standard Dutch, and the Randstad
has the largest influence on the developments of the standard language—with the exception of the Dutch spoken in Belgium.
Despite this correspondence between standard Dutch and the Dutch spoken in the Randstad, there are local variations within Holland itself that differ from standard Dutch. The main cities each have their own modern urban dialect, that can be considered a sociolect
Some people, especially in the area north of Amsterdam, still speak the original dialect of the county, Hollandic. This dialect is present in the north: Volendam
and the area around there, West Friesland
and the Zaanstreek
; and in a southeastern fringe bordering the provinces of North Brabant
. In the south on the island of Goeree-Overflakkee
The province of Holland gave its name to a number of colonial settlements and discovered regions that were called Nieuw Holland
or New Holland
. The largest was the island continent presently known as Australia
: New Holland
was first applied to Australia in 1644 by the Dutch seafarer Dirk Hartog
as a Latin Nova Hollandia
, and remained in international use for 190 years. Dutch explorer Abel Tasman
named New Zealand
after the Dutch province of Zealand
. In the Netherlands Nieuw Holland
would remain the usual name of the continent until the end of the 19th century; it is now no longer in use there, the Dutch name today being Australië
As contemporary exonym for the Netherlands
While "Holland" has been replaced in English as the official name for the country of the Netherlands, many other languages use it or a variant of it to officially refer to the Netherlands. This is the case in the languages of Indonesia
, for example:
- ^ a bhttps://opendata.cbs.nl/statline/#/CBS/nl/dataset/37230ned/table
- ^ a b c d G. Geerts & H. Heestermans, 1981, Groot Woordenboek der Nederlandse Taal. Deel I, Van Dale Lexicografie, Utrecht, p 1105
- ^ Netherlands vs. Holland, Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions
- ^ a b "Holland or the Netherlands?". Dutch Embassy in Sweden. Archived from the original on 27 October 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
- ^ Antheun Janse, "Een zichzelf verdeeld rijk" in Thimo de Nijs and Eelco Beukers (eds.), 2003, Geschiedenis van Holland, Vol. 1, p. 73
- ^ a b Oxford English Dictionary, "Holland, n. 1," etymology.
- ^ "The majority of English people still behave as if 'English' and 'British' are synonymous", historian Norman Davies quoted in The English: Europe's lost tribe, BBC News Story, 14 January 1999
- ^ George Mikes, How to be an Alien, "When people say England, they sometimes mean Great Britain, sometimes the United Kingdom, sometimes the British Isles - but never England."
- ^ "Is "Holland" the Same Place as "the Netherlands"?".
- ^ Willem Frijhoff, "Hollands hegemonie" in Thimo de Nijs and Eelco Beukers (eds.), 2002, Geschiedenis van Holland, Vol. 2, p. 468
- ^ C.F. Gijsberti Hodenpijl (1904) Napoleon in Holland, pp. 6-7.
- ^ G. Geerts & H. Heestermans, 1981, Groot Woordenboek der Nederlandse Taal. Deel II, Van Dale Lexicografie, Utrecht, p 1831-1832
- ^ Hans Knippenberg and Ben de Pater, "Brandpunt van macht en modernisering" in Thimo de Nijs and Eelco Beukers (eds.), 2003, Geschiedenis van Holland, Vol. 3, p. 548
- ^ "Highpoints of the Netherlands". Archived from the original on 20 September 2015.
- ^ (in Dutch)  Statline CBS: Bevolkingsontwikkeling per maand
- ^ Rob van Ginkel, "Hollandse Tonelen" in Thimo de Nijs and Eelco Beukers (eds.), Geschiedenis van Holland, Vol. 3, p. 688
- ^ Hans Knippenberg and Ben de Pater, "Brandpunt van macht en modernisering" in Thimo de Nijs and Eelco Beukers (eds.), 2003, Geschiedenis van Holland, Vol. 3, p. 556
- ^ Thimo de Nijs, "Hollandse identiteit in perspectief" in Thimo de Nijs and Eelco Beukers (eds.), 2003, Geschiedenis van Holland, Vol. 3, p. 700
- ^ Rob van Ginkel, "Hollandse Tonelen" in Thimo de Nijs and Eelco Beukers (eds.), 2003, Geschiedenis van Holland, Vol. 3, p. 647
- ^ Dutch: An Essential Grammar, p. 15, William Z. Shetter, Esther Ham, Routledge, 2007
- ^ Sijs, Nicoline van der, 2006, De geschiedenis van het Nederlands in een notendop, Amsterdam, Uitgeverij Bert Bakker, pp. 127–128
- ^ Sijs, Nicoline van der, 2006, De geschiedenis van het Nederlands in een notendop, Amsterdam, Uitgeverij Bert Bakker, p. 123
- ^ E.J. van den Broecke-de Man, D.K. Soldaat-Poortvliet & F. Heerschap, 1988, Dialect op Goeree-Overflakkee, Zeeuwsche Vereeniging voor Dialectonderzoek, Ouddorp, 271 pp
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