HOLLAND By Αndriy Savchynets Kalynychenko and Sofia Del Barrio Rey
Holland is a name in common usage given to two regions in the western part of the Netherlands. The name 'Holland' is also often used to refer to the whole of the Netherlands, although this is not formally correct. From the 10th century to the 16th century it was a unified political region, a county ruled by the Count of Holland. By the 17th century, Holland had risen to become a maritime and economic power, dominating the other provinces of the Dutch Republic. Today, the former County of Holland consists of the two Dutch provinces of North Holland and South Holland.
Holland is situated in the west of the Netherlands. A maritime water-oriented region, Holland lies on the North Sea at the mouths of the Rhine and the Meuse (Maas). It has numerous rivers and lakes and an extensive inland canal and waterway system. To the south is Zealand. The region is bordered on the east by the IJsselmeer and four different provinces of the Netherlands.
Holland is protected from the sea by a long line of coastal dunes. Most of the land area behind the dunes consists of polder landscape lying well below sea level. At present the lowest point in Holland is a polder near Rotterdam, which is about seven meters below sea level. Continuous drainage is necessary to keep Holland from flooding. In earlier centuries windmills were used for this task. The landscape was (and in places still is) dotted with windmills, which have become a symbol of Holland.
Holland is 7,494 square kilometres (land and water included), making it roughly 13% of the area of the Netherlands. Looking at land alone, it is 5,488 square kilometres in size. The combined population is 6.1 million.
The main cities in Holland are Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. Amsterdam is formally the capital of the Netherlands and its most important city. The Port of Rotterdam is Europe's largest and most important harbour and port. The Hague is the seat of government of the Netherlands.
The language primarily spoken in Holland is Dutch. Hollanders sometimes refer to the Dutch language as "Hollands", instead of the standard term Nederlands. Inhabitants of Flanders and other provinces of the Netherlands refer to "Hollands" to indicate someone speaking in a Hollandic dialect.
CLIMATE AND SURFACE
Holland has a maritime climate, with cold summers and mild winters. Its average temperature during summer is 17.4 °C and during winter 2.8 °C.
Holland has around of one quarter of its surface is below sea level. Its lowest point is found in Nieuwerkerk aan de IJssel, Zuid-Holland with -6.7 metres. On the other hand its highest point is in Vaalserberg, Limburg with 323 metres.
During the middle ages most of the population was Christians but nowadays the majority of the citizens are atheistic. Despite this there is a mixture of different religions thanks to inmigration: 27% roman catholics, 17% protestants, 6% muslims, 1% hindu and 1% budhist.
IMAGE OF HOLLAND ABROAD
Holland tends to be associated with a particular image. The stereotypical image of Holland is an artificial amalgam of tulips,clogs,windmills,cheese and traditional dress (klederdracht). As is the case with many stereotypes, this is far from the truth and reality of life in Holland. This can at least in part be explained by the active exploitation of these stereotypes in promotions of Holland and the Netherlands. In fact only in a few of the more traditional villages, such as Volendam and locations in th area, are the different costumes with wooden shoes still worn by some inhabitants.