Holland is the common name referring to the country of The Netherlands, although this is incorrect from a Dutch perspective.
- This article is about the region in the Netherlands. For other uses, see Holland (disambiguation).
Holland is the name of a region in the central-western part of the Netherlands. Holland is a former country of the Holy Roman Empire and later the leading member of the Republic of the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands (Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden, 1581–1795).
The area is today divided between two provinces of the Netherlands: North Holland (Noord-Holland) and South Holland (Zuid-Holland) that were created in 1840. A few regions historically Hollandic became part of other provinces as a result of reforms during the French occupation (1795-1813): Willemstad and surroundings, Biesbosch and the Land of Altena became part of North Brabant, the islands of Vlieland and Terschelling went to Friesland, and the island of Urk to Overijssel (later Flevoland).
The name Holland in this and the other entries on this page ultimately stem from holt land ("wooded land"). A popular, but incorrect, fake etymology holds that it is derived from hol land ("hollow land"), inspired by the low-lying geography of both the Dutch and the English region (Holland, Lincolnshire).
The province of Holland was the cultural, political and economic center of the United Provinces. The greatest cities of the provinces were located within the province of Holland such as Amsterdam (the capital), Rotterdam, Leiden, the Hague (the seat of government), Delft and Haarlem. From the great port cities of Holland, Dutch merchants sailed to and from destinations all over Europe, and merchants from all over Europe gathered to trade in the warehouses of Amsterdam and other trading cities of Holland. As a result, many Europeans heard of the United Provinces first as "Holland" rather than "Republic of the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands". This tradition continues to this day.
Thus, even though it is officially incorrect, the word Holland is often used by both Dutch (speaking) and foreign people to denote the entire Netherlands, possibly because "The Netherlands" ("Nederland" in Dutch) is more cumbersome. It is a common misconception for someone to refer to the Netherlands as Holland, because what they are suggesting is the province mentioned above. People from the other provinces of the Netherlands (such as Friesland, Groningen, North Brabant, Zeeland etc.) might be offended when referred to as "Hollanders".
For a short time (1806–1810), however, there was the Napoleonic Kingdom of Holland, which did encompass large parts of the Netherlands.
See also: Count of Holland - Counts of Holland family tree