Focus on Holland

To keep in the Poland-Ukraine 2012 spirit, I’ll focus on a different country playing in the tournament each day during the month of June; looking not so much at the national football team but more about travel to and visiting the country itself.

English: A panorama of 4 segments of an Amster...
Amsterdam Canal (Photo: Wikipedia)

Today’s spotlight is on Holland.

There’s often some confusion about the name of the country; Holland or The Netherlands?

There’s actually two Hollands; North Holland (Capital: Haarlem) and South Holland (Capital: The Hague), which in turn are just two of twelve provinces making up the ‘The Kingdom of the Netherlands’.

In the age of political correctness Netherlands is becoming more commonly used but it doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily as Holland.

As a teenager, I remember taking the ferry from Harwich (England) to the Hook of Holland (Hoek van Holland).

Most people we talked to on the boat were either going to Amsterdam or ‘Holland’. No-one ever said they were going to visit the Netherlands.

The Dutch themselves often use the word Holland when referring to more of The Netherlands than the North and South Holland provinces.

Even the Dutch Tourist office website like to cover all their bases but only refer potential visitors interested in travel to the Netherlands to one domain:

‘Welcome to, the official website of the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions, where you receive all the information for your stay in Holland’.

In their ‘Orange Fever’ section – Holland Football Nation – we are also informed that:

‘Holland fans are characterized by their orange outfits. Find out why the color orange is so important to Holland fans’.

So that’s official.

For tourism and football purposes I’ll continue to use the word Holland.

Otherwise it’s The Netherlands when talking more widely about the country, or the monarchy ruling over The Kingdom of The Netherlands.

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