Talk:Netherlands (toponymy)

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Old stuff[edit]

This article was not written by an English speaker, thus a lot of sentences are either grammatically wrong or confusing.

feel free to edit it -- C mon 19:58, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

"Notably the Netherlands is amongst a small number of countries, who have a singular name for their country, while the English uses a plural form."

This needs to be expressed better, the form is clearly singular in English, as the above sentence itself demonstrates: "the Netherlands is".

In Portuguese 'Países Baixos' is only the official, formal designation. It occurs seldom and the Netherlands are normally called 'Holland'.

Excellent article, the historical explanation of the 'Low Countries' is very clear and informative!


"People from these provinces usually do not always appreciate being called Hollander." This is incorrect grammar. I removed the word usually. Tijmen de Haan —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:29, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Both these points are the subject of the discussion under further confusion.

  • The country should be called the Netherlands as this is the accepted form (although stricly incorrect) and not Holland. Translating this litterally is normal practice (even if not always correct), the French call London Londres. In Belgium it is even more difficult because there are officially two languages, so many places have a Flemish name as well as a Walloon name (example: Antwerpen, Anvers but is called Antwerp in English), the Flemish refer to the Netherlands as Nederland (singular), the Walloon refer to the Netherlands as les Pays Bas (plural)
  • People from the Netherlands should be called Netherlanders and not Dutch or Hollanders

JHvW (talk) 09:56, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

NPOV Issues[edit]

"In languages other than Dutch, including English, Holland is commonly and incorrectly used as a synonym for the Netherlands as a whole, while actually it just refers to the central-western part of the country."

The 'incorrectly' is seriously POV. There is considerable disagreement even within the Netherlands whether calling the country "Holland" in English is something one should care about. There is also no citation or reference for the claim that the name "Holland" is factually incorrect. Sure, there is a history here in which "Holland" was explicitly used for designating a specific part, but that is mostly no longer the case. Even people from other provinces do not generally complain about calling the Netherlands Holland, and I don't think it's fair to reflect the opinion of a select few in this article as fact. Gijs Kruitbosch 16:19, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

As long as the correct name (i.e. the designation used in Atlases and encyclopedias) is the Netherlands I feel comfortabel to say that Holand is incorrect. C mon 18:28, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Agreed, but factually incorrect is very strong language. I'm changing it to technically incorrect to maintain the distinction while moving the POV more toward the center. Mordien 18:52, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Holland is a part of the Netherlands and is incorrect to designate the whole country as "Holland". It happens in the Netherlands, but usually in the west only. There is nothing POV about stating that "Holland" is incorrect when you refer to the country.--Fogeltje 20:38, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
Stating that "Holland" is used "usually in the west only" isn't correct. International traders often use Holland as well, even those based in other parts of the Netherlands. Which is not to say that this practice is NOT technically incorrect. Richard 08:42, 17 September 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Richardw nl (talkcontribs)
That sounds similar to the situation in the UK ("the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland"). England is often used to refer to the whole country, when it's just the most populated part. Most people in England won't notice (or care), but people in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Island will! 10:44, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
Just to be pedantic, since we are: England IS a country, it's just that it's a country within the sovereign state (and country) of the UK. (talk) 22:40, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
Hmmm... the last line in the first paragraph of the section "Holland" reads: This confusion between a part and its whole (pars pro toto) also exists with the names of other countries, such as Russia for the Soviet Union, England for the UK (see also British Isles terminology), or America for the USA. So, this last remark, though true, is rather superfluous.
Before that, the last point made in this discussion was that some international companies in the Netherlands, even outside of Holland, use the name Holland when they actually mean the Netherlands as a whole. In my opinion, this is mainly done because that's custom in various countries and the name Holland is better known and easier for non-Dutch people. Also, during international sport events, especially football (soccer), the Dutch team is encouraged by shouting "Holland!" or "Hup Holland!". Technically, it's still incorrect. But it's practiced far beyond the western part of the Netherlands. Richard 11:58, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
I live in Limburg, and soccer is pretty much the only exception. Foreigners refering to "Holland" are routinely corrected here 17:01, 14 October 2007 (UTC)


How about a diagramm like this one [1] for the Netherlands too? --Soylentyellow 20:11, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Feel free! What I would like to see is a map which uses different colours for 1) Holland (North+South) 2) The Netherlands (as a state) 3) the Dutch language area in Europe and 4) The low countries/BENELUX. I think a Venn Diagram is also possible but less interesting because there is no intersection only 4 different circles of different size and include the smaller circles. C mon 21:51, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

"The Netherlands embassy"[edit]

Shouldn't that be, erm, The Netherlands' embassy? What's being said in this paragraph, to me, seems to be based on something that was misinterpreted. --MooNFisH 05:56, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it should be, but the Dutch remain convinced that "Netherlands" is an adjective, although it isn't. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tdls (talkcontribs) 13:05, 11 February 2009 (UTC)


The article links to Guiana, which is forwarded to Guianas, whereas Dutch Guiana forwards to Suriname. Wouldn't the link to Guianas be out of place here? I'm not too sure about this myself though, since there is no other link in the article to Guiana. My question is more: should there be one if only dutch guiana is mentioned? --MooNFisH 05:56, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Dutch Guiana was a colony within the region Guiana, and taking its name from the region; that's relevant, I think. —Tamfang 06:04, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

West-Frisia and Papiamento[edit]

Ehm, to confuse things even further: the eastern part of North Holland is actually the historic region of West Frisia. The distinction was dropped officially in 1815, but in republican times the States would be termed "The States of Holland and West Frisia". One might also add that Papiamento, the language spoken on the Leeward Netherlands Antilles, does not know the distinction between "Holland" and "Netherlands". Rather akwardly, when wanting do denote the Queen as head of state of the whole Kingdom, including the Antilles, she is styled Reina di Reino Hulandes, "Queen of the Dutch Kingdom"...-- 07:35, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

The Low Countries??[edit]

This section is interesting but fails to note that the Low Countries is not only a historical tzerm but also a geographical one. TinyMark 09:11, 18 August 2007 (UTC)


Netherlandicwhich isn't currently mentioned in the article — was recently introduced in my organisation as a politically-correct (I think) version of the language "Dutch". It also seems to be listed as a synonym (of sorts) of Netherlandishwhich is currently mentioned in the article.
Note: The Dutch language article mentions (only) the dialects(?) "Belgian Dutch" and "Netherlandic Dutch".
—DIV ( 09:07, 17 September 2007 (UTC))

I don't think Netherlandic is an official word. Even Netherlandish has only very limited use, according to the article. Belgian Dutch is often called Flemish, but only when it's necessary to make a distinction between it and "standard" Dutch. The differences between Flemish and Dutch are mostly pronounciation and ways of saying something (example: "for sure" is "vast en zeker" in the Netherlands while in Flanders "zeker en vast" is more common). The official language rules for Dutch are the same in the entire Kingdom (of the Netherlands), Belgium and Surinam.
Richard 09:19, 17 September 2007 (UTC)


I'm trying to find out when exactly English switched to saying "The Netherlands is" instead of "The Netherlands are". Does anyone have information on this? It would be nice to have it in the article, addressing also António's comment at the top of this discussion page. Classical geographer 09:29, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

Sometime after the question I have... arose, I have to suspect. Why aren't terms like Burgundian Netherlands, Spanish Netherlands, Austrian Netherlands (and I suspect almost unrelated, but, the French Netherlands as well) mentioned and discussed in this etymological article? Etymology is inherently historical! Leaving those out is shocking to me!
Given that those states up to the Napoleonic conquests were all fractured into small fiefs, counties and so forth will nobility and all their predations, perfidities, and poxes on the common folk, the plural form was perfectly sensible. Inasmuch as both Belgium and The Netherlands both enshrined monarchies shortly before, during, or after that era, the small states and petty nobility still played a large role in governance... which I suspect may not have died out in a de facto sense until post WW-II (and may not have all—hard to tell from here in Boston! <g>).

Etymological inertia given that set of circumstances seems downright reasonable on the plural sticking around, whereas with the rise of national identity and loyalties since Napoleons day, the Nederlander's own preference for singular forms makes perfect sense as well. The article would do well to address some of these factors, even if it's only to throw cold water on my suspicions, but preferably, by digging out the historic time line and incorporating that story for all of us to see. Cheers // FrankB 01:47, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
Below a seemingly very knowledgeable registered user posted:

"as this is an article about English terminology, we don't have to worry about the fact that current Dutch usage is "Nederland" (singular), and how that shift came about. English usage has simply not followed the Dutch shift to the singular." But I also think it worth mentioning the country's election of the singular ought to be respected without English usage experts mandating tradition. Without a formal statement from the country that the singular should be preferred in other languages, it would be too much to mandate in the other direction. But I agree there should be a mention of inertia being the reason for continued use of the plural in English despite the country's own statement of solidarity in being 'Netherland'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:59, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

Is "Holland" used to refer to the whole country in the Dutch language?[edit]

In this article, it states that "In languages other than Dutch, including English, "Holland" is often used as a common but technically incorrect synonym for the Netherlands as a whole." However, in the article "Holland", "Holland" is also informally used in English and other languages, including sometimes the Dutch language itself, to mean the whole of the modern country of the Netherlands." If "Holland" is also used in the Dutch language to refer to the whole country then that should be added to this article, if it is not then it should be removed from the other. --Credema (talk) 05:28, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

It is used as such in the Dutch language. C mon (talk) 07:29, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
It is - but technically it's incorrect. It's like saying "England" while referring to the United Kingdom. That too is not unheard of even among native English speakers but that doesn't make it right. Richard 07:49, 3 March 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Richardw nl (talkcontribs)
It actually depends on where in the Netherlands you are. People from Noord- and Zuid-Holland use it, in other provinces it's hardly used to describe the Netherlands as a whole.--Fogeltje (talk) 10:44, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree with that, also with the England/UK comparison.-- (talk) 12:52, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Just like England/UK then. Johnbod (talk) 19:05, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
No, because calling Scotland "England" gives offence, whereas people from all over the Netherlands cheerfully call the country "Holland". User:Tdls —Preceding undated comment was added at 13:08, 11 February 2009 (UTC).
It depends on context. For instance, in sports it is common to call the national team "Holland". /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 19:03, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
Again, that heavily depends on the region. People from the west like to think that Noord- and Zuid-Holland are all that matters. The rest of the country thinks otherwise, no one in my region uses "Holland", in context of sports or other context.--Fogeltje (talk) 19:06, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
Rephrase that... "there are people from the west..." I am from Zuid-Holland but I hardly ever use the term Holland when I mean the Netherlands - and certainly not in Dutch. Richard 08:51, 24 April 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Richardw nl (talkcontribs)
Being from Friesland, the part in the Netherlands where people do not speak Dutch, foreigners will be immediately told the difference between Holland and The Netherlands. From experience I know Scottish people immediately understand when I tell them they are from England. The only use of Holland is to denote the languages spoken in the Netherlands: Hollands and Friesian. (talk) 22:35, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
This previous comment is a bit unprecise. It's not true that "people in Friesland do not speak Dutch" - but it is true that Dutch is not the only language spoken in Friesland. And in the Frisian language, the word 'Hollandsk' is used for the Dutch language. Richard 11:36, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
You are right, it was a bit sloppy. For more than half the population friesian is the native tongue, ofcourse they all speak Dutch as a second language. BTW, the correct spelling is Hollânsk —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:28, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Okay, that was a bit sloppy on my side ;) I could have checked it but I didn't. I can read and understand some Frisan (on an elementary level) but I don't speak it. Writing is (obviously) also problematic.
The Frisian wikipedia contradicts your original statement however: there too it is stated that Hollânsk is ien fan 'e haaddialekten fan it Nederlânsk. Strangely enough, on fy:Frysk it's said that it Frysk is de offisjele taal (njonken it Nederlânsk) yn 'e provinsje Fryslân but on fy:Nederlânsk (a very short page), Fryslân isn't mentioned at all. On fy:Hollânsk (a much more extensive page), it is. Seems to me that the official and the informal use of the terms Nederlânsk and Hollânsk in Frisian is just as sloppy as (almost) anywhere else. Richard 08:22, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

UK/England Example[edit]

This is not a comparable example as we are ignoring language. If someone when speaking English uses "England" to refer to the whole of the "UK" they are indupitably being incorrect (although this sort of sloppiness is commonplace, and I'm sure I do it a lot). But when someone speaking English says "Holland" they are using an English word for a country that a Dutch-speaking person would probably call, in Dutch, "Nederland" (we could also, in English, say "The Netherlands". The fact that there is a Dutch word "Holland" which refers to a region of "Nederland" is not really relevant (although clearly confusing and provoking of debate). Analogously, people call the Swedish city of "Göteborg", when speaking English, "Gothenberg" and Swedish people don't seem to mind, and probably wouldn't mind even if there was a suburb of "Göteborg" that happened to be called "Gothenberg". Same for "Bombay" and "Mumbai" and "Peking" and "Beijing" except that, apparently, in those cases the local governments have specifically asked English-speakers to use the new names (for varying reasons). So if the government/people of "Nederland" specifically asked English-speakers to stop calling their country "Holland", we should probably respect that (we are happy to call "Upper Volta" "Burkina Fasso"), but at present it is not wrong, it is just the (annoying to some people) English-language name for the place. Similarly, I think it is probably ok for a German-speaker to call someone from anywhere in UK "Engländer" (as that is their generally-used word for people from the UK, but not OK for me to say William Wallace was "English".—Preceding unsigned comment added by Mark Carden (talkcontribs)

You are completely missing the point. Even in English, the words "Holland" and "Netherlands" are not synonymous, even though many people treat them as such. Richard 08:59, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Etymology "Nederlanden" (Dutch) and "Netherlands" (English)[edit]

It occurred to me that the article obfuscates the difference between the etymologies of the Dutch and English versions of the toponym that refers to the present-day Benelux area. The etymology of the Dutch word "Nederlanden" is pretty clear. It derives from the practice of the Burgundian overlords of the area to distinguish between their patrimonial lands, South of Champagne and Lorraine, as "les pays de par delà" (or the lands over there) and their more recent northern acquisitions (roughly the current Benelux countries) as "les pays de par deça" (or the lands over here). This usage was predicated on the fact that the Duke spent most of his time in the Benelux ("here"), instead of in Burgundy ("there"). After the death of Charles the Bold in 1477, and the subsequent transfer of the Benelux part to Habsburg "ownership" (while the Burgundy part reverted to France at the same time) "les pays de par deça" became "les pays d'embas" in which the archaic French term d'embas, the opposite of dessus, may be translated as "lower" or "nether." One may liken this usage to the distinction between "upper" and "lower" in other geographical designations, like Upper and Lower Silezia; it has nothing to do with the fact that part of the present-day Netherlands is a low-lying area. In those days, French was the language of government in the area as a whole, but as the people and administrators in the Flemish and Dutch speaking areas did not use French in daily life (if they were conversant at all), translations of technical terms like "pays d'embas" had to be provided which found their way into Flemish and Dutch. The Flemish/Dutch translations of these French expressions were pretty straightforward: "les pays de par deça" became "landen van herwaarts over" and later "les pays d'embas" became "Nederlanden," in both cases literal translations from the French.[2].

However, this does not explain where the English word "Netherlands" originates. It seems clear that the alternate designation "Low Countries" is a translation of the French "Pays-Bas" (which itself apparently derives from "les pays d'embas"). But is "the Netherlands" equally related to the Dutch "de Nederlanden?" It seems likely, especially as the English construct "nether-lands" sounds like the Dutch "neder-landen" even though it feels awkward as a translation ("low countries" would be a better translation). More likely, "Netherlands" may have entered the English language as a bastardization of a Dutch word (like "jacht" became "yacht"). But it is dangerous to jump to conclusions in these matters. I have been looking for the "first use" of the term "Netherlands" in the English language but have been unsuccessful up to now. One would expect that such first use would go back to Tudor times, but my impression is that the designation then was "Flanders," or "Low Countries," whereas the northern Netherlands were usually designated as "United Provinces" (instead of "United Netherlands"), or simply "Holland" (fine distinctions in matters geographical not being a strongpoint of the Anglo-Saxon mind even then :-).

Finally, as this is an article about English terminology, we don't have to worry about the fact that current Dutch usage is "Nederland" (singular), and how that shift came about. English usage has simply not followed the Dutch shift to the singular. The usage of "the Netherlands" (plural) in combination with the singular verb tense ("is" instead of "are"), a subtly different phenomenon, seems an instance of a general lowering of standards in English (on a par with using other plural nouns, like "the media," with singular verbs)--Ereunetes (talk) 02:02, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Thank you very much for this professional and learned piece of discourse. As you can see, we would like to show our appreciation by incorporating it almost entirely into the paragraph in question. Ad43 (talk) 09:53, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I am deeply honored. However, I'd like to interject a word of caution. I first put my remarks on this talk page, before attempting to edit the article myself, because I thought some discussion was needed, especially about the etymology of the English word "Netherlands." I think this is a loan word, but I haven't found a reference for that supposition (despite trawling through a lot of English etymological dictionaries). This may therefore amount to that Great Sin "original work," which we are not supposed to put into wikipedia. I was hoping someone else could supply a reference, but as long as that is lacking maybe you should be even more circumspect about the new section on the origin of the English word "Netherlands."
That said, I would like to point out another dangling controversy. In the section "Low Countries" there still appears the sentence "This historical region also was referred to as 'The Netherlands' in English." to which someone else has appended a "citation needed" tag. Rightly so, in my view, as I think "The Netherlands" (standing alone, as opposed to larger constructs like "Republic of the United Netherlands") in English usage does not refer to the entire Benelux area, but has always just referred to the area that is currently known as the country The Netherlands. This may seem to contradict everything that I have said before, but it does not really :-) What I said before was that "de Nederlanden" (Dutch) refers to the entire Benelux area in historical usage, and only recently just to the Dutch part. I then said that "Netherlands" (English) appears to be derived from the Dutch "Nederlanden." But this does not imply that the English term has always designated the same area as the Dutch term. I think the usage in different historical times may have been different. Likewise, "Low Countries" often aplied only to what is now Belgium when that country was still what is now known as the Spanish or Austrian Netherlands. It is a confusing subject :-)
For that reason I advised not to open the kettle of fish of the etymology of the Dutch word "Nederland" as this is (confusingly) entirely different from the etymology of the Dutch word "de Nederlanden." But now I am afraid others may want to open this subject anyway, so let me give you some information on this also, in case you want to include that. On a Belgian etymological website I found two references for the word "Nederland": a reference to the first legal reference (in Latin) to an area in the current Netherlands, and the word "Niderlant"[3]. The legal reference appears in the Vita Meinwerci (a biography of bishop Meinwerk) concerning the equal division of the inheritance of Meinwerk's mother, countess Adela of Hamaland (unfortunately no English wikipedia article yet, though there are articles in the Dutch and German wikipedia), "in inferiori terra" (or, translating back, the Netherlands). That "inferior terra" was located in what is now the vicinity of the Dutch city of Nijmegen (Sebastiaan Roes, Het Naaste Bloed erfde het Goed, p. 162). This same area is indicated as the area referred to in the late Middle Ages as "Niderlant" in the literature of the time, according to Prof. J.B. Oosterlant of Radboud University Nijmegen in his inaugural oration In daz Niderlant gezoget: het Maas-Rijngebied als speelveld voor filologen. Though the term "Niderlant" may explain the etymology of "Nederland," it can clearly not explain the etymology of "de Nederlanden" as it refers only to part of the present-day Netherlands and not to the area historically designated as "de Nederlanden," which was much larger. My hypothesis (though not more than that, so please don't quote me) is that this word "Nederland" later became convoluted with "de Nederlanden," though they have entirely different histories.--Ereunetes (talk) 22:27, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Thank you again, and not the least for your highly valuable references, that offer even wider perspectives. For the moment we can only give a short and quick reaction. We understand your reservations and scrupules very well and we will think them over. Nevertheless, the paragraph as it stands now seems to contain a lot of intresting information and may serve as a workable basis for further clarification of the etymologies involved. Let there still be some loose ends. There is principally nothing wrong with that. All texts in Wikipedia have a limited storage life. And better half an egg than an empty cup, as a pragmatic Dutch saying sounds. Ad43 (talk) 09:48, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
My two cents: I have always found the explanation of Nederland(en) by pointing to the fact that the area is "low" in the sense of "flat and close to sea level" unsatisfactory. It sounds a bit too much like folk etymology (although Verdam's dictionary gives this as its first meaning), and there is indeed also the French form, which seems to have the same "bas" that is also present in "là-bas", "down there". I would not dare to say whether the name "Nederlanden" was directly copied from the French/Burgundian usage, and especially not that this happened as late as 1477 (if I interpret the first explanation given above correctly). The 13th-century Nibelungenlied, in closely related German, apparently already has a plural form "Niderlande" (Do wuohs in Niderlanden eins edlen küniges kint) - correct me if this is wrong. This suggests that the form could equally well have been derived from German, or both from a common source (perhaps even French). I am no expert and I do not know how significant this distinction between singular and plural forms is, but it would seem that if the German has the plural before the French form is attested, this weakens the position that the Burgundian term must predate the Dutch one. As far as the element "neder/nider/bas" is concerned, historically there are more instances of toponyms where the specification high(er)/low(er) is made to distinguish between a more inland, upstream, and therefore more elevated position on the one hand, and a more downriver position on the other. (Also note the old Roman name for part of the same area, "Germania Inferior".) In my view, both "Niderlande/Nederlanden" and "Nederland" on one side and "Pays-Bas" on the other may originally simply have been used as a designation for "the areas further down the river", with an allowance for cross-fertilization in either direction, and not necessarily be derived from Burgundian/Habsburg practice after 1477. Iblardi (talk) 21:16, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
A similar text was placed on nl:Lage Landen. In a long discussion no literature could be given that supported this etymology. The opposite was supported by literature, resulting in a re-write of the article, based for a large part on Duke, A. (2009): Dissident identities in the early modern Low Countries. I have done the same here, resulting in this version.
On the question of what the relation between Nederlanden and Netherlands is, I still haven't found any literature. BoH (talk) 13:53, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
I have looked at Duke and am not convinced that this is a source that should be considered authoritative, though he gives a number of interesting facts. I think we can keep him as a source for the etymology of Nederland/Niderlant (singular) as a general term used in the general Germanic language area for low-lying areas, usually along the great rivers. So no controversy there. However, it is implausible that the plural Nederlanden would have come into use as a designation for the entire area of the Burgundian Netherlands without any relationship to the designation in official government correspondence of the time as les pays d'embas, if only because most of the area in question is not "low-lying", or even part of the delta of the great rivers. I think inhabitants of the Ardennes would have been shocked to see their home referred to as "low-lying", though they probably would not object to have them called "pays (d'em)bas". But of course I am open to persuasion with good sources. Meanwhile, I have found, and provided, citations for the hypothesis that Nederlanden derives from pays d'embas in the sense that it was a free but faithful translation of the French term with a word that also (and I give sources for this in my edit) at the time already had the deixic connotation of "lower" (in opposition to "upper") areas, in the same sense as the linguistic construction is used in "Neder-Saksen" en "Neder-Oostenrijk" for instance. To put it differently: it is very well possible that Nederlanden was used in earlier times as a term to designate low-lying areas, but this need not preclude that it came to be used as a translation for the French expression pays d'embas when the need for such a translation arose. And it did not force a linguistic contortion to use the term neder in such a context, because there already existed precedents (as I show in my edit). Finally, this is all about the etymology of the Dutch terms and that has in itself nothing to do with the etymology of the English term "The Netherlands". However, the explanation which I left in place (that of the word being a cognate of the Dutch plural form) seems still adequate. Nobody has claimed that the English term designated "low-lying areas", just that the words neder and "nether" have the same root. And English also used constructions like "Nether-Austria" and "Nether-Saxony" in the relatively recent past, though now "Lower" is preferred, as still stated in the article.--Ereunetes (talk) 20:35, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

Table makes no sense[edit]

The table in the Netherlands (terminology)#In other languages section makes no sense. I do not know what the columns were intended to mean, but there is no meaning that is consistent with the entries that are now in there. Some possible meanings are:

  • Column X means that the name by which the Netherlands (the country) is known in that language is derived from this word. Under this meaning, all the entries underneath a column should be cognates of the column title. But all but one of the entries under the "Dutch" column are not cognates of "Dutch". Also, what is "Latin: Belgica" doing in the "Netherlands" column? Furthermore, under this meaning, most languages should only use one column, but for example English uses all of them, without distinguishing them.
  • Column X means what X is called in different languages. But under this definition, Chinese: 荷蘭 / 荷兰 (Hélán), Japanese: オランダ / 阿蘭陀 / 和蘭陀 / 和蘭 (Oranda), etc. should be listed under the "Netherlands" column, because they are what Netherlands (the country) is called in those languages, even though it's derived from Holland.

-- (talk) 05:33, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

This section is just a list of translations of an English term. As such it should be removed per WP:DICDEF and transwikied to Wiktioanry. This information is supposed to be handled by wikt:Netherlands.
Peter Isotalo 23:09, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
But the point is that it's not supposed to be though. Like Names of Germany, Name of Greece, Names of Korea, Names of China, it's supposed to show people how the word for the Netherlands in different languages fall into several groups, depending on the origin; and explain why there are different origins. The problem is that people added stuff like the adjective form and alternate forms and the name of the language and all that stuff, and now it's really confusing. -- (talk) 05:52, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
This is something that can be done much better and briefer. There doesn't need to be 50+ examples to illustrate these things. Keeping such huge lists only invites users to keep adding more and more examples. Right now it's a comprehensive list of translations, not an illustration of how various languages name the Netherlands.
Peter Isotalo 06:02, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

I think the table makes a lot of sense, as is pointed out above. But that it is cluttered up. The latin and indonesian entrees are among wrong entrees. Some people just add things without reading or thinking. I'll clean it up, for as far as I can. --Eezie (talk) 19:04, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Cleanup won't solve the issue here. The problem is that it's a list of translations in 64 randomly chosen languages (and one language family), and that's something that is actively discouraged on Wikipedia per WP:DICDEF. If you want to explain something more substantial, like for example that certain types of languages prefer "Holland" and others "the Netherlands", then it should be done in prose. And with proper referencing, of course. If the point of the list is merely to show a bunch of translations, however, then it has no business being in here. We have Wiktionary for that.
Peter Isotalo 22:50, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

The article could be interesting in a separate page, but the concept itself of "other languages" is disturbing. It reminds of the outdated "domestic/international" dichotomy the US is trying to get rid of. Wikipedia is global. 15:07, 14 sept 2009 (UTC)


Today I revised the entire article, always using the description "streamline" in the edit history. That is, I tried to rewrite it without changing the meaning. (It may yet benefit from another editor who tries to do the same.) Someone who knows everything ;-) should check to see that I have not corrupted the meaning. Now I have some remarks about the meaning.

Section 0: I don't understand the specific reference "Being the dominant regional area," (what does it explain about what?) or the distinction introduced by "It seems likely," and "More likely," (is it even a distinction?).

Section 1: Maybe the half-paragraph "Such use of a part to designate its whole ..." should be relegated to a footnote.

late 17th century: Is there no relation between English-language names for the Dutch, their country, and their language are the period before 1688 (was it 1664-88?) when many of the British were exiles in Holland, and the subsequent conquest or insurrection called the Glorious Revolution? --And also no relation to the global rivalry between the countries?

Dutch in America: I suspect that Dutch is simply a corruption of Deutsch. I may be wrong. A history of American slang may help because Dutch for the German people or for a German-American man may be slang. --P64 (talk) 01:53, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

Further confusion[edit]

The Netherlands is not a correct term. Nor is Holland. The correct translation is Netherland (no, not Neverland).

Holland is an archaic term used to describe the ancient Netherlands, which at that time were wooded or forested, giving rise to the expression Holtland, which became Holland. Currently, there are only two provinces which retain this name: Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland. These are two provinces (of thirteen) with the name Holland in them.

The Netherlands is correctly translated as the "Low Countries". This includes part of nowadays Belgium. Although Dutch is spoken in all these regions, the Flemish are not Dutch but Belgian. There is a great dispute wether Flemish is a dialect or a separate language. This debate continues today.

The distinction is therefore difficult. The none mountainous region stretching to the North Sea is the "Low Countries" but in part they are the Netherlands, but a significant part is nowadays Belgium. The fact that the Netherlands are called the "Low Countries" in other languages confuses (French: Pays Bas, Spanish: Pajos Bajos) things even more. But this is in part caused by historical reasons. Under French and Spanish rule the Low Countries consisted of the Southern and Northern Low Countries. Meaning the none mountainous region stretching to the North Sea, where Dutch was spoken. Today this distinction is no longer used. The Netherlands and Belgium are seperate sovereign states. Parts of what was called the Southern Low Countries is now part of the Netherlands.

There is even more confusion. Dutch is in some parts of the world a synonym for Deutsch or Deitsch (which means German). This is incorrect. Dutch refers to someone or the language from "Nederland". The Pennsylvania Dutch are predominantly German, they are not Dutch.

Confusing to some, except of course those living in ........ The national colour is unofficially orange. The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy. The monarch stems from the House of Orange (named after the town in the South of France), the colour has been adopted as a national symbol. The Orangemen wear orange in remembrance of King Wiliam, one of the ancestors of the current Queen Beatrice. JHvW (talk) 09:32, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

It has been suggested that a diagram, like the Euler diagram for the UK might clear things up. But this could also make things more difficult. The BeNeLux has been in operation for a long time now. Initially this meant that the distinction between the countries dissappeared in some regions. In the province of Zeeland, the people are referred to as "zeeuwen". But there is a part of Zeeland which continues into Belgium that is called Zeeuws Vlaanderen. This region would be translated as the region of Flanders where people from Zeeland live, but it is in both countries. JHvW (talk) 09:41, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Correction: Zeeuws-Vlaanderen = 100% in The Netherlands — Preceding unsigned comment added by David.496 (talkcontribs) 16:57, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

Nederlandse Spoorwegen[edit]

I went to the English site of Nederlandse Spoorwegen just now, the one to be found at this page, and rather to my surprise found the large slogan "Holland by Train". Probably not significant enough for the article, but it might be useful in some supporting context somewhere. (talk) 16:21, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

The above comment is by me. Loganberry (Talk) 16:23, 8 October 2011 (UTC)


Great page. Had a lot of fun! :-)) Allow me to make some remarks (both sentences refer to the entire article and talk page)

  • Belgium has 3 official languages: Dutch, French and German,

(note that, even being Belgian myself, I use the words 'Dutch' and 'French' :-))) but the reason why the Walloon call 'Antwerpen' Anvers is the same as why the French call 'London' Londres. The 'official languages' of Belgium have nothing to do with that.

  • Anyone may call people from the Netherlands what they like, but allow me to keep on calling them Dutch, like I learned in high school. I'm sure my Dutch friends will keep on doing the same.

(In high school we learn as the correct English terms:

  • Nederland (country) = The Netherlands (note that the article 'The' is capitalized as it is an integral part of the country's name)
  • Nederlands (language) = Dutch
  • Nederlands (adjective) = Dutch

But, that being said, I'm very much aware that English is not my mother tongue and that I should leave the English terminology to the English) David.496 (talk) 16:59, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

Dutch interwikilink[edit]

Currently this article is linked to the Benamingen van Nederland page on Dutch wikipedia. However, I think that the contents of the page fit better with the page Benamingen van de Lage Landen on Dutch wikipedia, if only because that page extensively treats etymological questions. Could somebody who knows how to edit Wikidata please change the link?--Ereunetes (talk) 22:38, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

Article move[edit]

This article was just moved from Netherlands (terminology) to Netherlands (toponymy). I don't see any discussion of the proposed move, much less a consensus for it, and I think the prior title was much better because the classifier is far more common. I've left a note on the talkpage of the editor who made the move, advising that I'm inclined to move the page back to the original title, but I also inquire here if anyone has any thoughts on the issue. Newyorkbrad (talk) 20:50, 23 June 2013 (UTC)