Nederlandse versie

The name HOLLAND

For many people from abroad Holland is just another name for the country that is officially known as the Netherlands. Originally Holland was one of seven small countries that freed themselves from Spanish domination during a 80-year long struggle that ended in 1648. Only in the beginning of the 19th century after the Napoleonic occupation the Netherlands became officially one country.
The fact that the name Holland is often used for the country as a whole derives from its dominant position during the birth of the country in the 16th and 17th century. In previous centuries Holland was only a large remote swamp. Then the richer cities were further to the East; often they were members of the Hansa confederation, together with many cities in Northern Germany and on the Baltic Sea.
With the drainage of the swamp and with the continuous growth of sea going vessels the position of Holland improved, and the position of the inland cities along the shallower rivers dwindled.

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© 2010: Nico Booij (both text and photographs)