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Holland or the Netherlands: Why these two concepts are confused and what has changed in recent years
Holland or the Netherlands: Why these two concepts are confused and what has changed in recent years

Why is cheese called Dutch and not Dutch, artists are called "Little Dutchmen", and the island in St. Petersburg is called "New Holland"? For most of the inhabitants of the Earth, Holland and the Netherlands are synonymous words, but is it really so? Not so - there is a difference, and for many residents of this European country it is very important.

What terms have you used in the past?

For the Russian ear, "Dutch" is more familiar than "Dutch" - and this is no coincidence: the word stuck after Peter's Great Embassy in 1697. The king arrived in the Netherlands - this was the name of the country - and at the same time in Holland - that was the name of the most technically advanced part of this country.

Thanks to Peter, Russia started talking about Holland

Long before the visit of the Russian ruler, back in the first millennium, the Dutch county arose, the center of which in the XII century was the city of Haarlem. Holland, the "woodland", was part of the Holy Roman Empire and was located on a peninsula that was swampy because it was below sea level. Then, in the 15th century, the Dutch county came under the control of the Burgundian duke. This largely contributed to the development of trade and the strengthening of the fleet. Later, the Habsburgs became the owners of these lands. The Austrians are sometimes credited with the authorship of the term "Netherlands", or "lower lands", although, apparently, it arose much earlier, even under the Burgundian dukes. The lower lands in those days was called the territory near the delta of the Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt rivers off the coast of the North Sea. Subsequently, starting in 1549, this is the name - "Netherlands" - will be borne by the united territory, which includes 17 provinces, including Holland. The Netherlands for centuries will be the subject of disputes between different rulers, will be both a republic and a kingdom, until it finally receives the status of a constitutional monarchy, which it still enjoys today.

The most developed cities in the country were on Dutch soil

The economic and cultural flourishing of the Netherlands was closely associated with the Dutch cities, therefore it is easy to explain the widespread use of this term; The country was called Holland not only in Russia.

Why Peter I preferred to talk about the Dutch

The Dutch lands have long been the most developed, the most prosperous, the most famous outside the country. The swampy areas of the western part of the Netherlands were successfully developed, drained, and cities grew rapidly there. Therefore, Peter I, whose goal was to get acquainted with the best achievements of European civilization, arrived in Holland. After returning to Russia, both the tsar and his entourage used this word when describing the country.

Provinces on the map of the Netherlands

However, in the historical annals there was still a line for the Kingdom of Holland, albeit for a very short time. In 1806, this part of Napoleon's empire was transferred to him under the control of his brother, Louis Bonaparte, having existed for four years, after which the emperor "curtailed the experiment" and annexed all the Dutch lands to the territory of France. After the collapse of the empire, in 1815, the Kingdom of the Netherlands appeared. The modern Netherlands includes North Holland and South Holland - two of the twelve provinces. To this day, they remain the most economically developed and well-known lands in the Netherlands. The main city of North Holland is Haarlem, the largest is Amsterdam.South Holland is the most populous part of the Netherlands, with the cities of Rotterdam, The Hague, Leiden and others.

The traditional Dutch color is orange. But the flag of the Netherlands doesn't have it

In addition to the European territory, the Netherlands also includes overseas lands: these are the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, located in the Caribbean Sea. But there is also an even larger entity - the Kingdom of the Netherlands, a union of countries, the relationship between which is regulated by a special Charter. It includes the Netherlands and several island states - Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten.

Is it only in Russian that Holland and the Netherlands are confused?

Thus, Holland at the present time is, strictly speaking, not a country, but an administrative unit on the territory of the country, a province with its own history and cultural heritage. It is a historical area comparable to Bavaria in Germany or Lapland in Finland. When speaking about the state, it would be more correct to use the term "Netherlands". And yet, the correct term still loses to the familiar one - and not only in Russian.

"Little Dutchmen" - a separate phenomenon in European painting

In English, there are even two words for something Dutch: Holland and Dutch. The second word originated in those times immemorial, when there was a single term for everyone whom the British attributed to the Germanic peoples. From the 16th century onwards, the term Dutch was used only for the Dutch. It is interesting that the word over the centuries of its existence has turned out to be embedded in many phraseological units - often with a negative meaning. In other languages, for example, in Greek, the name "Ollandia" is used more often than "Kato-Khores", that is, "lower lands", "Netherlands". Until recently, the Dutch-Dutchmen themselves spoke this way and that, which, however, offended the inhabitants of the same Friesland or Limburg, who did not refer themselves to the Dutch, but were full-fledged Dutchmen.

New Holland - an island in St. Petersburg

And from January 1, 2020, the Netherlands officially abandoned the term "Holland" in official documents and names of state institutions, in the work of educational institutions, the media and all forms of business. Thus, it is planned to change the image of the state and redirect tourist flows, which filled mainly the cities of the Dutch provinces, which in the pre-pandemic era could no longer cope with the influx of foreign guests.

And the breed of dogs is called "Dutch Shepherd"

But what is it the secret of the popularity of the small Dutchmen of the 17th century, whose paintings the Hermitage and the Louvre are proud of today.

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