About Holland

Although small in size, Holland has a rich cultural tradition.

Holland's relatively small area of just over 41,000 square kilometres is home to more than 17 million people. The country is extremely flat and there is water everywhere: lakes, rivers and canals.

Holland or the Netherlands?

The country’s formal name is the Netherlands, meaning 'low countries', because much of the land is at or below sea level.

The Netherlands is also often called 'Holland', which refers to the two western coastal provinces, North and South Holland. In the 17th century this was the most powerful area of the Dutch Republic and many people still use the name Holland to refer to the country as a whole.

Learn more about the Kingdom of the Netherlands.


From Holland it is easy to explore the rest of Europe. Many European capitals are within easy reach. Berlin, Brussels and Paris are just a few hours away by train, and a short flight from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol will take you to London, Madrid or Rome. 

Connected - travel

Dutch society

Dutch society is home to over 200 different nationalities, because of a rich history of foreign trade and immigration. This makes the Dutch generally open-minded and tolerant. The people are open and direct. You can say what is on your mind; the Dutch are not easily offended.

Although Dutch is the national language, most people also speak English and often another language, like German or French.

English proficiency


Holland is a safe country by international standards. There is a relatively low level of violence and street crime.

The police are friendly and helpful; you can always feel confident approaching them for help.


Holland has a huge religious diversity. You will find churches, mosques, synagogues and Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh places of worship.

Christianity has the longest tradition, but a large part of the population describes itself as non-religious, agnostic or atheist.


The Netherlands is famous for its progressive stance on equality and diversity. Everyone in the Netherlands has the right to be who he or she wants to be and to be with whomever they want to be, as long as they do no harm to others.

Read more about gender equality, sexual diversity and gender diversity in Holland on the website of the Holland Alumni network.

last modified Nov 30, 2018 10:56 AM