For many years the government of Holland used ‘The Netherlands’ and ‘Holland’ interchangeably, without favoring one or the other. Either name, everyone felt, was synonymous with windmills, placid canals, Hans Brinker, and tulip fields. But starting in 2020 the Dutch government has decreed a strict rebranding of their country, to avoid confusion between it and Belgium (which also has tulip fields, canals, and windmills — along with premier chocolate and Tin-Tin.) The Dutch would now prefer that you always refer to their country as ‘The Netherlands,’ and never again as ‘Holland.”
Dutch government officials have been toiling over a rebranding campaign for the past two years, in order, they say, to enhance the nation’s image for tourists, who are facing many more alluring choices for their vacations as other countries around the globe step up their advertising game. The Dutch are calling their attempt at getting all their ducks in a row ‘Public Diplomacy.’
Research and polls conducted by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs have discovered that the international community associates Holland with wooden clogs, funny white caps, and the Dutch Reformed Church — whereas ‘The Netherland’ comes across as much more elegant and intriguing; people think of ‘The Netherlands’ as the country where the Hague is located, which is viewed in a very positive light.