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The Netherlands is a country like no other to many people

Holland or Netherlands

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

Foreigners are often confused about the Netherlands. This is very understandable. They look for Holland on a good map, cannot find it, and conclude that it is so small that no one can spot it without using magnifying glasses. Of course, while the Netherlands is small, it is still larger than its neighbours Belgium and Luxembourg.

There are some other points to remember. Holland is on the western flank of the Netherlands. It is the most densely populated part of the Netherlands, which in its entirety ranks high on the UN list of the number of (480) people per square kilometer.

Foreigners talk about the Netherlands and about Holland, and frequently interchange the two to describe the same country. How do foreigners see it? To the English it always seemed to be Holland (Holtland, the woodland of ages ago?) but the Germans who live on the high lands often write Niederland, low land. They have good reason to call it low lands because that is where the water drains of the cloudbursts over Germany. Most people seem to know that a part of the Netherlands is below sea level. Some think it is over half of the country but one quarter is closer to the true figure.

The Netherlands may be small by German and English standards, but size does not always matter. Great does not have to be large. That is why the Dutch, the Netherlanders, with only 0.008% of the world's area, are still the world's third largest agricultural exporter and among the top ten general exporters. Try and figure why the Dutch economy is among the top twenty in the world.

Read the entire article in the September 23, 2010 issue of the Windmill Herald. Ask for a free copy with the start of your own subscription.