RE: the Netherlands vs. The Netherlands

Subject: RE: the Netherlands vs. The Netherlands
From: "Johan Hiemstra" <webmaster -at- techexams -dot- net>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2006 22:36:13 +0200

> The reason that the list doesn't help you is that the official
> English (short) name of the country is neither "The Netherlands"
> nor "the Netherlands", but simply "Netherlands". The US Board
> on Geographic Names and ISO agree on this.
> I suppose you could ask the Dutch Embassy(202 244-5300), too,
> although I wouldn't necessarily consider them an authoritative
> source.

That partly explains the "the" vs "The". What also does, we call it
Nederland ourselves. So "land" as in singular, hence without "The".

The official name, "Kingdom of the Netherlands" is in Dutch "Koninkrijk der
Nederlanden), also literally translated, as 'Netherlands' and 'Nederlanden'
are both plural. This is because of the colonies, and originally also
Belgium. Just to be complete, Holland (not 'a' province in The Netherlands,
we have Zuid-Holland and Noord-Holland, I assume those don't need
translation) basically means 'hollow land', again as in low, and 'neder'.
(down to below sea level). The French refer to us as Pays-Bas, which doesn't
mean "pay little" referring to the stereotype of not spending a lot of
money, but also means low lands. In turn, 'The Low Lands', and without caps,
refers more to the physical lower areas including parts of Belgium as well.

Hence, there is no 'Netherlands' without 'The', because it's part of the
name. That would be like "The Three Musketeers" without the "The". So the
more correct English version of 'Nederland' would be 'Netherland', but I
don't think I will be able to convince either my teachers or ISO.

I have to add though that I left school 13 years ago. But it was one of
those typical things you could get on an English exam. "Hi, where are you
from?" "I'm from...". I.o.w. it's one of the first things you learn and they
keep repeating it until, well, decades later I will still be afraid of the
read stripe through 'the'. ;)

I've always found foreign names for countries and cities very interesting.
Not just Dutch places in foreign languages, but just the fact that even when
a name can easily be pronounced, it is still changed into something else. An
easy examples is "Roma", which is "Rome" in English, and in Dutch (though we
pronounce it as Ro-muh, two syllables). I always imagine the old discoverers
to come back after months at sea and not being able to pronounce the names
of the places they visit.

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RE: the Netherlands vs. The Netherlands: From: Andrew Warren

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