Online sightseeing of The Netherlands.
To find this answer we have to go back in history.
The area where the Dutch people live in now has been fought over for centuries, by different groups, changing the countries boundaries and it’s rulers many times. At the start of the 17th century (Dutch Golden Age) the country then consisted out of 7 counties/provinces: Holland, Zeeland, Groningen, Friesland, Overijssel, Utrecht and Gelderland. These provinces formed a confederation known as the ‘Republic of the Seven United Netherlands’. But they stayed autonomous and had their own government, the ‘States of the Province’. Holland was a rich province, from here Dutch sailors started to establish new trading routes to the East (Australia, New-Zealand, Indonesia, South-Africa) and to the West (New York, Dutch Antilles, Suriname). If you asked a sailor where he was from he would answer: Holland, as he was employed by the province of Holland. This is how our country got widely known as ‘Holland’.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands came into existence after the liberation from Napoleon (1830). The Netherlands nowadays contains 12 provinces; North-Holland, South-Holland, Friesland, Groningen, Utrecht, Overijssel, Drenthe, Gelderland, Noord-Brabant, Zeeland, Limburg and Flevoland.
‘Nether’ means ‘low’, so Netherlands means lowlands. Very appropriate as one-third of the country is below sea level.
‘Hol’ refers to ‘holt’, an old word for ‘wood’. The region around Dordrecht, Holland’s oldest town, was known as Holtland, after its many forests.
If people ask me where I’m from I would answer The Netherlands, because I’m not living in the province of North- or South- Holland. Only if you are not familiar with The Netherlands I would add Holland, as our country is usually known by this name. And I am Dutch… but that explanation will follow in a next blog 😉
Visit the Netherlands and learn more www.hollandprivatetour.com