“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” – Rosalia de Castro
So all these time I thought Holland and Netherlands are two different countries. Today, I was made aware that Holland makes up two provinces which together make up the region (Noord Holland and Zuid Holland), out of twelve provinces in the country of Netherlands. The name Holland is also frequently used to informally refer to the whole of the country of the Netherland. Due to the maritime and economic power of these provinces in the 17th century, the Netherlands became known worldwide as Holland. This led to a widespread recognition of “Holland” all over the world, especially in Europe where it began to be used as a synonym for what we now know as the Netherlands. Thus, a single region overshadowed the entire Dutch Empire.
To make matters even more confusing the inhabitants of the Netherlands are called Dutch, the use of “Holland” oftentimes a substitute for “Netherlands”. To be clear, the Netherlands are commonly called Holland in English and are not two names for the same country. Most of us have heard someone referring to the Netherlands as “Holland,” and some of us have even done it ourselves. But some Dutch might be offended if you call their country Holland: It’s much like calling the United States of America “Washington” or Great Britain “England.”
When the word Holland comes to mind there’s always a clear picture of green green grass of hope, herd of patched cows of black and white. Tulips, clogs, cheese, chocolates, and of course windmills. Growing up in front of the TV in the eighties Holland for me tends to be associated with a particular image that Birch Tree milk powder commercial a lady on a traditional dress (klederdracht) milking the cows on the greenery country side and all that The stereotypical image of Holland.
A short drive away from Amsterdam is Zaanse Schans, a Dutch village dotted with windmills and cottages. This historic village offers a preserved glimpse of what it was like to live in the Netherlands in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many of the village’s characteristic houses are now museums, gift shops or workshops while others are still used as private residences. Some of the Zaanse Schans’ remaining windmills are also open to the public and functional. The windmills produced all sorts of items from paint, mustard, oil, etc., we visited a cheese farm where there’s various sampling of cheese to taste. In one of the workshop, we had the opportunity to watch wooden clog-making which is actually interesting because I don’t think it’s a foot healthy choice to go around but in the olden days I guess we don’t have many options but in our modern world, most clogs include design features that cause foot pain and problems as some research indicates that the loads on hip and knee joints are significantly higher in people who wear conventional footwear than in those who walk barefoot.
Anyways, I was happy to be here. I’ve come a long way from that kid in front of the TV watching that milk commercial to seeing the iconic part of the Dutch landscape – windmills!