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Holland Holland is a name in common usage given to a region in the western part of the Netherlands. The name 'Holland' is also often informally used to refer to the whole of the country of the Netherlands. From the 10th century to the 16th century Holland proper was a unified political region, a county ruled by the Count of Holland. By the 17th century, Holland had risen to become a maritime and economic power, dominating the other provinces of the Dutch Republic. Today, the former County of Holland consists of the two Dutch provinces of North Holland and South Holland, which together include the Netherlands' three largest cities: country capital Amsterdam, seat of government The Hague, and Rotterdam, home of Europe's largest port. Pliny the Elder (23 - 79 AD) referred to this region as the land between the Helinium and Flevo ("inter Helinium ac Flevum"), the names of the mouths into which the Rhine divided itself, the first discharging its waters in the Mosa in the neighbourhood of B


rielle and the second into "the lakes of the north" (present IJsselmeer).[1] The name Holland first appeared in sources in 866 AD for the region around Haarlem, and by 1064 was being used as the name of the entire county. By this time, the inhabitants of Holland were referring to themselves as "Hollanders".[2] Holland is derived from the Middle Dutch term holtland ("wooded land"). This spelling variation remained in use until around the 14th century, at which time the name stabilised as Holland (alternative spellings at the time were Hollant and Hollandt). Popular, but incorrect, etymology holds that Holland is derived from hol land ("hollow land") and was inspired by the low-lying geography of Holland. The proper name of the area in both Dutch and English is "Holland". "Holland" is a part of the Netherlands. "Holland" is informally used in English and other languages, including sometimes the Dutch language itself, to mean the whole of the modern country of the Netherlands (this example of pars pro toto or synecdoche is similar to the tendency to refer to the United Kingdom as "England"). The people of Holland are referred to as "Hollanders" in both Dutch and English. Today this refers specifically to people from the current provinces of North Holland and South Holland. Strictly speaking, the term "Hollanders" does not refer to people from the other provinces in the Netherlands, but colloquially "Hollanders" is sometimes mistakenly used in this wider sense. When referring to the Netherlands as a whole, the adjective is "Dutch". "Dutch" is not used as an adjective for "Holland" in a modern context because "Dutch" refers to all of the Netherlands, not just Holland. However, there is a good deal of confusion about this. In actual practice, the adjective "Dutch" is often (but somewhat inaccurately) used in the specific context of Holland.[3] In Dutch, the Dutch word "Hollands" is the adjectival form for "Holland", but in English there is no commonly used adjective for "Holland". "Hollands" is ordinarily expressed in English in two ways: The following usages apply in certain limited situations but do not ordinarily serve as the English equivalent of the commonly used Dutch adjective "Hollands". Holland is situated in the west of the Netherlands. A maritime region, Holland lies on the North Sea at the mouths of the Rhine and the Meuse (Maas). It has numerous rivers and lakes and an extensive inland canal and waterway system. To the south is Zealand. The region is bordered on the east by the IJsselmeer and four different provinces of the Netherlands. Holland is protected from the sea by a long line of coastal dunes. Most of the land area behind the dunes consists of polder landscape lying well below sea level. At present the lowest point in Holland is a polder near Rotterdam, which is about seven meters below sea level. Continuous drainage is necessary to keep Holland from flooding. In earlier centuries windmills were used for this task. The landscape was (and in places still is) dotted with windmills, which have become a symbol of Holland. Holland is 7,494 square kilometres (land and water included), making it roughly 13% of the area of the Netherlands. Looking at land alone, it is 5,488 square kilometres in size. The combined population is 6.1 million. The main cities in Holland are Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. Amsterdam is formally the capital of the Netherlands and its most important city. The Port of Rotterdam is Europe's largest and most important harbour and port. The Hague is the seat of government of the Netherlands. These cities, combined with Utrecht and other smaller municipalities, effectively form a single city - a conurbation called Randstad. The Randstad area is one of the most densely populated regions of Europe, but still relatively free of urban sprawl. There are strict zoning laws. Population pressures are enormous, property values are high, and new housing is constantly under development on the edges of the built-up areas. Surprisingly, much of the province still has a rural character. The remaining agricultural land and natural areas are highly valued and protected. Most of the arable land is used for intensive agriculture, including horticulture and greenhouse agri-businesses. See the article on the Dutch language for a more detailed description. The language primarily spoken in Holland is Dutch. Hollanders sometimes refer to the Dutch language as "Hollands", instead of the standard term Nederlands. Inhabitants of Flanders and other provinces of the Netherlands refer to "Hollands" to indicate someone speaking in a Hollandic dialect. The standard Dutch that is spoken in the Netherlands is historically largely based on the Hollandic dialect of Holland, but is also partly derived from Flemish and Brabantian. There are many local variations in dialect throughout the Netherlands. Today, Holland is the region where the original dialects are least spoken, in many areas having been completely replaced by standard Dutch, and which has the largest influence on the developments of the standard language — with the exception of the Dutch spoken in Belgium.[4] Despite this correspondence between standard Dutch and the Dutch spoken in Holland, there are local variations within Holland itself that differ from standard Dutch. The main cities each have their own modern urban dialect, that can be considered a sociolect.[5] A small number of people, especially in the area north of Amsterdam, still speak the original dialect of the county, Hollandic. The Hollandic dialect is present in the north: Volendam and Marken and the area around there, West Friesland and the Zaanstreek; and in a south-eastern fringe bordering on the provinces of North Brabant and Utrecht. In the south on the island of Goeree-Overflakkee, Zealandic is spoken. Each of the provinces in the Netherlands has a history that deserves full attention on its own. However, to a certain extent at least, the history of Holland is the history of the Netherlands, and vice versa. See the article on "History of the Netherlands" for a more detailed history. The article here focuses on those points that are specific to Holland itself or that highlight the nature of the role played by Holland in the Netherlands as a whole. The land that is now Holland had never been stable. Over the millennia the geography of the region had been dynamic. The western coastline shifted up to thirty kilometres to the east and storm surges regularly broke through the row of coastal dunes. The Frisian Isles, originally joined to the mainland, became detached islands in the north. The main rivers, the Rhine and the Meuse (Maas), flooded regularly and changed course repeatedly and dramatically. The people of Holland found themselves living in an unstable, watery environment. Behind the dunes on the coast of the Netherlands a high peat plateau had grown, forming a natural protection against the sea. Much of the area was marsh and bog. By the tenth century the inhabitants set about cultivating this land by draining it. However, the drainage resulted in extreme soil shrinkage, lowering the surface of the land by up to fifteen metres. To the south of Holland, in Zealand, and to the north, in Frisia, this development led to catastrophic storm floods literally washing away entire regions, as the peat layer disintegrated or became detached and was carried away by the flood water. From the Frisian side the sea even flooded the area to the east, gradually hollowing Holland out from behind and forming the Zuiderzee (the present IJsselmeer). This inland sea threatened to link up with the "drowned lands" of Zealand in the south, reducing Holland to a series of narrow dune barrier islands in front of a lagoon. Only drastic administrative intervention saved the county from utter destruction. The counts and large monasteries took the lead in these efforts, building the first heavy emergency dikes to bolster critical points. Later special autonomous administrative bodies were formed, the waterschappen ("water control boards"), which had the legal power to enforce their regulations and decisions on water management. As the centuries went by, they eventually constructed an extensive dike system that covered the coastline and the polders, thus protecting the land from further incursions by the sea. However, the Hollanders did not stop there. Starting around the 16th century, they took the offensive and began land reclamation projects, converting lakes, marshy areas and adjoining mudflats into polders. This continued right into the 20th century. As a result, historical maps of mediaeval and early modern Holland bear little resemblance to the maps of today. This ongoing struggle to master the water played an important role in the development of Holland as a maritime and economic power and in the development of the character of the people of Holland. .Until the 9th century, the inhabitants of the area that became Holland were Frisians. The area was part of Frisia. At the end of the 9th century, Holland became a separate county in the Holy Roman Empire. The first count of Holland known about with certainty was Dirk I, who ruled (also as count of Frisia) from 896 to 931. He was succeeded by a long line of counts in the House of Holland. When John I, count of Holland, died childless in 1299, the county was inherited by John II of Avesnes, count of Hainaut. By the time of Willian V (House of Wittelsbach; 1354-1388) the count of Holland was also the count of Hainaut, Flanders and Zealand.

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