Travel Planning Made Simple. Create Your Own Itinerary.
Written by Rajoo on May 21, 2020 Share on

What’s the Difference between Holland and the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is a small country, packed with world-famous icons. Discover windmills, cheese markets, wooden shoes, canals of Amsterdam, masterpieces of Old Masters, innovative water-management and millions of bicycles. Holland exists to the west of the Netherlands. Holland lies at the mouths of the Rhine on the North Sea. It contains numerous rivers and lakes, and has an extensive inland canal system. To the south is Zealand.

Most visitors refer to Holland in the same way as they would The Netherlands. They generally think that Holland is the same as The Netherlands. Unfortunately, this is wrong. Read on to know more about this ongoing mix-up and what exactly is the difference between Holland and the Netherlands?

Although it is quite common for the people of Holland and the Netherlands, they actually represent two different territories altogether. The Netherlands consists of twelve provinces namely Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe, Overijssel, Flevoland, Gelderland, Utrecht, North-Holland, South-Holland, Zealand, North Brabant and Limburg.

Netherlands city
Image Credits: Pixabay

Two out of these twelve provinces are referred to by the name Holland -: North Holland and South Holland. The official name of the country is the Kingdom of the Netherlands and “Holland” actually means the two provinces of “Noord-Holland” and “Zuid-Holland” in other words it means the North-Holland and South-Holland. Hence, the difference between Holland and The Netherlands is that  Holland is just a province in The Netherlands.

History of the Netherlands and Holland

Between 1588 and 1795,  the Netherlands was actually the Republic of Seven United Netherlands. The republic was conquered in 1795 by French troops and then it became the Batavian Republic. In 1806, Napoleon appointed his brother Louis as king, turning the country into a kingdom. After the death of  Napoleon, The Netherlands remained a kingdom. At that time, the “Holland” made the biggest contribution to the nation’s economy and wealth, and the localities used to address the commonly used name to indicate the entire country.

The Netherlands is a relatively small and highly urbanized country ruled by another larger sovereign, the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On the other hand, Holland on the western coast of this country is divided into two provinces namely  Zuid-Holland and Noord-Holland. Besides Zuid en Noord-Holland, there are ten other provinces in the Netherlands.

Image Credits: Google Images

The confusion between the Netherlands and Holland derives from the fact that the most famous cities in the country are located within Zuid and Noord-Holland. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague are part of Holland and within one of the largest metropolitan areas, the Randstad. The Caribbean islands Curaçao, Aruba, and Sint Maarten are also part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which are completely self-governing.

Furthermore, the Netherlands had many other titles over the past years namely the Dutch Republic, the Batavian Republic, and (during the Napoleonic era) the Kingdom of Holland, which certainly adds to the confusion even more. The Dutch government decided to stop using the term “Holland” to refer to the country and only go by the official name, the Netherlands.

Finding this guide useful? Check some of the best Europe packages and book your dream getaway now with Pickyourtrail.

Related Itineraries

Note: The images that are being published here are the author's choice, and the organisation takes no responsibility for their usability.