If you ever dreamed of traveling to Holland to view the stunning fields of tulips, charming windmills and canals of Amsterdam, you have missed your chance. Oh, you can still visit the bulb fields, cheese markets, canals and windmills — they just aren’t in a country called Holland anymore.
The Dutch government has decided to stop using the term “Holland” to refer to the country and only go by the official name, the Netherlands. The rebranding effort that began late last year is still rolling out, but the country will only be referred to at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as the Netherlands.
The Netherlands vs. Holland
The official name of the country is the Kingdom of the Netherlands. So how did it come to be commonly referred to as Holland?
Similar to the 50 states that make up the U.S., the Netherlands is comprised of 12 provinces. While all 12 provinces together are the Netherlands, the two provinces of Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland collectively are referred to as the region of Holland. Because Holland has long been the most populated area (Amsterdam and Rotterdam are in this region) and the cultural hub of the Netherlands, Britain, followed by the rest of the English-speaking world, mistakenly started referring to the entire nation of the Netherlands as Holland.
By the 20th century, even the Dutch government began calling their country Holland to appeal to tourists and foreign investors. The nation’s official tourism site is Holland.com. However, the Dutch government has decided to make a change.
Rebranding A Nation
Because tourists primarily visit cities in the region of Holland, largely ignoring the other 10 provinces, the government has decided to work to attract focus on the country as a whole.
The Dutch government is transitioning to using “The Netherlands” in all of its official branding. While the international tourism site is currently still called Holland.com (which could change in the near future), it will encourage visitors to consider traveling throughout the nation.
The country’s logo is changing, as well. Formerly an orange tulip with the name Holland across it, the logo will transform into an orange tulip branded with NL. Orange, which is the color of the Dutch Royal Family, will remain the Netherlands’ official color.