Photo: Resul Muslu/Shutterstock

The Netherlands' Government Officially Drops ‘Holland’ Nickname to Avoid Confusion With Tourists

by Eben Diskin Jan 6, 2020

The debate over whether the country is called “Holland” or “the Netherlands” ends now. Starting this month, the Dutch government announced that the country will always be referred to as the Netherlands, its official name. That means companies, ministries, universities, and embassies will only be able to refer to the country using this legitimate title.

The decision is part of a $319,000 rebrand designed to update the Netherlands’ international image. This includes more efficiently managing large numbers of tourists and the creation of a new country logo that features the “NL” initials with the national flower — an orange tulip. Previously, the tourism board used a logo of a tulip and the word “Holland.”

While the Dutch certainly understand the difference between Holland and the Netherlands, the two names proved confusing to foreign visitors who often used them interchangeably. Although regularly used as a moniker for the entire country, Holland actually only refers to two provinces. The official name change represents the tourism industry’s efforts to better represent the entire country.

According to a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, it is a little strange to promote only a small part of the Netherlands abroad, that is, only Holland.”

The tourism board expects 30 million international tourists by 2030, and this name change is just part of a strategy designed to help the country present a fresh, updated brand to visitors.

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