Even as someone who was born and raised in the Netherlands, despite going through the entire school system, and even getting a master’s degree in Dutch law, it can still confusing at times. It’s entirely logical that someone who’s not from Holland, or Netherlands, (the Netherlands??) doesn’t know what it’s all about. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. Once you’ve read this short explanation, you’ll be quite the expert – or your money back! (All jokes aside – don’t be afraid to contact me if you have any questions!)
Holland vs Netherlands
The Netherlands is often referred to as Holland. However, Holland isn’t really a country. The Netherlands is a country with 12 provinces, with two of those being called Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland, or North-Holland and South-Holland. This confusing likely started during the 17th century, with the Dutch East India Company, when most tradesmen from the Netherlands would say that they’re from Holland since Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland were the two provinces that saw the most trade.
If all of that wasn’t confusing enough, as someone who was born and raised in the Netherlands, I would call myself a ‘Nederlander’ in my native language, which is ‘Nederlands’. However, ‘Nederlander’ and our language: ‘Nederlands’ have the same English translation: ‘Dutch’. Meaning that as someone from the Netherlands, I speak Dutch, and I am Dutch. This video by CGPGrey explains it well: