It’s complicated

Holland != Netherlands and that’s fine

Windmill in Holland

The Netherlands is a tiny country with only 17 million people. Most people in the US would not even be able to point it out on the map and that’s understandable – most Dutch people won’t be able to pinpoint South Dakota or Wisconsin on the map either.

The confusion is about Holland and The Netherlands. It’s not helpful that the Dutch government promotes The Netherlands as Holland. Also, most people in the US do not have a real idea what Holland or The Netherlands is. Usually, I just say I’m from Amsterdam and that works much better.

On Saturday, I was chatting with an American friend and another American friend from across the table yelled he could not follow the conversation. My friend said that’s ok, “we’re speaking European.” I brought this up because Americans see Europeans as more European than Europeans themselves.

Europe is complex and the countries even more. Did you know that France and The Netherlands share a border? That many European citizens are born, raised and live in the Caribbean but use dollars instead of euros?

This video explains it perfectly – and it never ceases to crack me up:

That’s just The Netherlands. You could make a video like this of many European nations.

It’s in the water

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