The Netherlands is not Holland

From January 1, 2020 the name “Holland” ceased to exist, now officially only “The Netherlands”

Picture caption: “Get used to the Netherlands, because Holland no longer exists.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands has carried out a global rebranding. From now on 01.01.2020 all companies, embassies, ministries, universities and the soccer team of the country will use only the official name “The Netherlands”. Twenty-five years of Holland is over. At the beginning of October 2019, the authorities of the Kingdom of the Netherlands surprised the whole world by wanting to stop being Holland. This step was taken to update the global image of the country to get rid of the usual associations in tourists associated with drugs and the red light district. As part of the rebranding strategy of the Netherlands, the official name will be presented at the Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Rotterdam in May 2020 and during the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.

Notably, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, the actual cost of rebranding HollandNetherlands was only €200,000 for the country. And that cost includes the creation of a new country logo – the lettering NL with an orange tulip, the national flower of the Netherlands.

“The new design of the country’s logo is a practical means of presenting the Netherlands abroad in a modern style,” explained Sigrid Kaag, Minister of Foreign Trade of the Netherlands.

The Netherlands is made up of twelve provinces. And only two of them, North Holland and South Holland, as the most developed provinces, were best known outside the Netherlands.

“The purpose of this renaming of the country is really to change the image of the Netherlands abroad. We are updating reality and want to present the Netherlands to everyone as open, accessible and interesting to visit, including the other ten other provinces of the country,” explained the Dutch Tourist Board.

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Currently, many experts cannot agree on how good the idea is and whether the rebranding of the country will be successful. As many of them believe that in order to erase years of history and transfer the associations of millions of people to the new brand, it will be necessary to thoroughly approach the action plan and additionally develop a comprehensive strategy.

“The desire to free ourselves from negative connotations is not the main reason for this decision. The term ‘Holland’ is used all over the world. It has a lot of positive connotations, but it creates a rather limited picture: Amsterdam, cheese, mills, tulips. The broader appeal and uniqueness of the country – not just in a tourist sense – deserves more. The Netherlands is an international business hub, one of the centers of innovation and trade. The country ranks fourth in competitiveness and first in Europe in the WEF (World Economic Forum) rankings,” said Jan Dirk Weibur, an adviser to the international consulting firm BCG. “Not only will this renaming not hinder tourism, but it will even help, as the rebranding will go along with emphasizing the bigger picture, including the tourist appeal of the Netherlands. In particular, other attractions and cultural institutions and events: the Rijksmuseum, the Concertgebouw orchestra and concert venue, NDT – National Dance Theater and film festivals, other cities – The Hague, Rotterdam,” explained Jan Dirk Weibur.

“I feel for the Dutch fans because the fan song ‘Hup De Holland, Hup’ will no longer sound as coherent with the new name at soccer games,” said Gary Bryant, director of strategy for the London office of international branding agency Landor. Because now the national soccer team will be called exclusively by the Netherlands at all official meetings.

The Netherlands is not the first country to undertake such a rebranding. Previously it was in world history: the transformation of Persia into Iran, Siam into Thailand, and Ceylon, though named Sri Lanka in 1972, but there is still Ceylon Bank and the famous brand “Ceylon” tea is known throughout the world and continues to be bought.

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