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08th Jul 2024

People are only just realising what the difference between Holland and The Netherlands is

Jack Peat

England take on the Dutch in the Euro 2024 semi-final on Wednesday

England and The Netherlands are set to compete in the Euro 2024 semi-final on Wednesday (10/7), but most Brits are only just realising that there is a big difference between the country’s two – often interchangeable – names.

Gareth Southgate’s men will face Ronald Koeman’s orange army in Dortmund after the Dutch managed to come from behind to beat Turkey 2-1 in their quarter-final.

The eagerly-anticipated game will be the first time England and the Netherlands will have faced each other at a major tournament since the group stage of Euro 96.

The Three Lions emerged victorious on that occasion, which allowed them to progress through the group stages and into the knock-outs with ease.

What is the difference between Holland and The Netherlands?

Ahead of the latest fixture, people have only just been finding out what the difference between the country’s two widely-used names is.

Many Brits have become accustomed to calling our Dutch neighbours ‘Holland’ due to the name being included in tourism campaigns and official government communications, but it actually bears little relation to the country as a whole.

Holland is only two provinces (north and south Holland) of the 12 provinces of the Netherlands, although it is an area where most of the population lives, hence why it became widely used in popular vernacular.

Amsterdam – which literally translates to “The Dam on the River Amstel” for beer fans – is located in North Holland, and is home to 2.5 million people in the wider metropolitan area.

Rotterdam and The Hague, meanwhile, are located in South Holland and account for another significant chunk of the country’s population.

ALSO READ: Why do the Netherlands play in orange despite the colour not featuring on their flag?

Recently, the Dutch government axed “Holland” from its tourism campaigns and all official government communications to encourage people to think of the country beyond the aforementioned cities.

Since most of the country’s 20 million tourists stop only in Amsterdam, the Netherlands dropped the nickname officially to not only encourage travellers to explore outside of the Holland region but also make its national branding more consistent for people from around the globe.

In addition to removing all references to the name Holland from government documents, the country’s tourism board reinvented its logo.

Previously an orange tulip next to the word “Holland,” the new logo features a stylized tulip within the letters “NL.”

“The new style is the result of a strategy developed to more clearly show what the Netherlands has to offer to the world,” according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.