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The Netherlands vs the Netherlands vs Netherlands

English translation: Depends....

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09:08 Jul 13, 2008
English to English translations [PRO]
General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters / Countries
English term or phrase: The Netherlands vs the Netherlands vs Netherlands
Hi guys, I have got a really silly question. Well, for a Dutch person anyway.
However, I have searched the web and managed to find so many contradictory information, that I now would like to know once and for all:

Is it
The Netherlands or the Netherlands or Netherlands ?

I once learned it is The Netherlands and it should always be spelled with a capital T, even in the middle of a sentence.
But over the years, I have come across both 'the Netherlands' or simply 'Netherlands'.

Looking for an answer on the web this weekend, I have found educational materials (!) confirming that I am right. It's always 'The Netherlands', no matter what.

But I have also found sites implying that 'the' is not part of the country's name and therefore should only have a capital letter in addresses, because it's the beginning of a sentence.
Others go further than that. I have stumbled on pages of a so-called Dutch expert's Guide to improving your English, telling us we are all doing it wrong and that 'the' should even be dropped in addresses. As an explanation he/she offers that "Netherlands" is used at international congresses. Also, in addresses you never include 'the' for the US or the Czech Republic, so there's no reason to do so for the 'Netherlands'.

Needless to say, I am inclined to stick to my 'The Netherlands' as I was taught and others are still taught.

But I do admit there's room to argue. What I haven't been able to find, for instance, is an internationally recognised standard work telling me one way or another.

So if you have one of those at home, please let me know what it says!

Thanks!!
Els
Els Spin
Netherlands
Local time: 13:56
English translation:Depends....
Explanation:
I think it depends on the context in which it is used.
For example, if it's contained in a list, it could be just listed as 'Netherlands' (as in the BT phone directory which I have just checked). However, if it's used in a sentence, I would never use it without 'the' as it would sound very strange. According to the Times style guide, it should be 'the Netherlands':

Netherlands, the (no longer cap The). Do not use Holland as an alternative except in sporting or historical contexts. See Holland
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/tools_and_services/specials...




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Note added at 52 mins (2008-07-13 10:00:35 GMT)
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my concise OED uses 'the Netherlands' in this example:

Netherlander - native or inhabitant of the Netherlands.
Selected response from:

xxxcmwilliams
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:56
Grading comment
I'll go for this one. Firstly, because it indirectly supports my own usage of a capital T, and secondly because it tells me that that capital T is outdated!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +7the Netherlands
Elena Aleksandrova
4 +2the Netherlands
Magdalena Wysmyk
5'The Netherlands'
Gary D
5see below ... stick to official name "Kingdom of the Netherlands" ... it avoids the difficulties.
Taña Dalglish
4 +1the Netherlands (OED)
inmb
4 +1Depends....xxxcmwilliams


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +7
the netherlands vs the netherlands vs netherlands
the Netherlands


Explanation:
the Netherlands in the middle of a sentence.

Elena Aleksandrova
Bulgaria
Local time: 14:56
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in BulgarianBulgarian, Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  fourth: Yes, that's what my Dutch agency says.
9 mins

agree  xxxcmwilliams
26 mins

agree  writeaway: basic English grammar rule, applied for all 'the' countries: the United Kingdom, the United States, the United Arab Emirates etc. etc. what's confusing is that Dutch has different rules and they hardly ever use caps where in En you have to :-)
35 mins

agree  inmb
40 mins

agree  Will Matter
6 hrs

agree  conejo: "The" shouldn't be capitalized. In a sentence, "the Netherlands", and in a list of countries for example, typically it would just say "Netherlands".
8 hrs

agree  Pham Huu Phuoc
19 hrs
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2 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
the netherlands vs the netherlands vs netherlands
the Netherlands


Explanation:
IMO

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Note added at   4 min (2008-07-13 09:13:09 GMT)
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Collins English Dicitionary and all other dictionaries I have.
I've always been taught that there MUST be "the" before and always with small "t".

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Note added at   12 min (2008-07-13 09:21:03 GMT)
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Now I'm a bit confused. I was taught that there should be "the" before US, but then according Collins it seems that it is not necessary. Some other dictionaries, however, do put "the" before it, as well as before "Czech Republic".



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Note added at   28 min (2008-07-13 09:36:54 GMT)
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In my opinion it might be only either "the Netherlands" or "Netherlands", but never "The Netherlands".

Anyway, I'm absolutely for "the Netherlands".

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Note added at   29 min (2008-07-13 09:37:56 GMT)
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(except at the beginning of a sentence, of course)

Magdalena Wysmyk
Poland
Local time: 13:56
Native speaker of: Native in PolishPolish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  fourth
13 mins
  -> Thank you

agree  xxxcmwilliams: yes, 'the Netherlands' in a sentence and possibly just 'Netherlands' in a list.
31 mins
  -> Thanks

neutral  writeaway: be careful with your 'never'. If it's at the start of a sentence or in a certain type of list, then you will need "The".
34 mins
  -> Sure, that's what I wrote in my last note.
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45 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
the netherlands vs the netherlands vs netherlands
the Netherlands (OED)


Explanation:
Just to support other answers:

Netherlands


a country in western Europe, on the North Sea; pop. 16,067,754 (est. 2002); official language, Dutch; capital, Amsterdam; seat of government, The Hague. Dutch name Nederland. Also called Holland.

• (historical) the Low Countries.
(Following a struggle against the Spanish Habsburg empire, the northern (Dutch) part of the Low Countries won full independence in 1648 and became a leading imperial power. In 1814 north and south were united under a monarchy, but the south revolted in 1830 and became an independent kingdom, Belgium, in 1839. In 1948 the Netherlands formed the Benelux Customs Union with Belgium and Luxembourg, becoming a founder member of the EEC in 1957. The name Holland strictly refers only to the western coastal provinces of the country.)

- DERIVATIVES Netherlander noun Netherlandish adjective .

How to cite this entry:
"Netherlands" The Oxford Dictionary of English (revised edition). Ed. Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2005. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. University of Huddersfield. 13 July 2008 <


Netherlands, Low Countries, Holland, Dutch. The Netherlands is the official name for the Kingdom of Holland; Holland (strictly only a part of the Netherlands) is used informally. The term Low Countries includes Belgium and Luxembourg as well as the Netherlands. Dutch is used as a noun and adjective for the language and people of the Netherlands, and in certain familiar phrases such as Dutch courage (= false courage got from alcohol) and go Dutch (= pay individually).


How to cite this entry:
"Netherlands" Pocket Fowler's Modern English Usage. Ed. Robert Allen. Oxford University Press, 1999. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. University of Huddersfield. 13 July 2008



As you can see, OED uses the Netherlands in the middle of the sentence.

HTH


inmb
Local time: 13:56
Works in field
Native speaker of: Polish
Notes to answerer
Asker: You're great. Thanks!


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Will Matter
5 hrs
  -> thanks!
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31 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
the netherlands vs the netherlands vs netherlands
Depends....


Explanation:
I think it depends on the context in which it is used.
For example, if it's contained in a list, it could be just listed as 'Netherlands' (as in the BT phone directory which I have just checked). However, if it's used in a sentence, I would never use it without 'the' as it would sound very strange. According to the Times style guide, it should be 'the Netherlands':

Netherlands, the (no longer cap The). Do not use Holland as an alternative except in sporting or historical contexts. See Holland
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/tools_and_services/specials...




--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 52 mins (2008-07-13 10:00:35 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

my concise OED uses 'the Netherlands' in this example:

Netherlander - native or inhabitant of the Netherlands.

xxxcmwilliams
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:56
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
I'll go for this one. Firstly, because it indirectly supports my own usage of a capital T, and secondly because it tells me that that capital T is outdated!
Notes to answerer
Asker: That's a good one! If in doubt, we use the Volkskrant Style Guide here. So why not the Times for English. Thanks!

Asker:

Asker: Wait a minute! It says "no longer cap The". That means it USED TO BE The Netherlands, and that the cap is now outdated or whatever. That's good enough for me!


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Richard Benham: Only in abbreviated, informal lists would you omit "the".
7 hrs
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36 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
the netherlands vs the netherlands vs netherlands
see below ... stick to official name "Kingdom of the Netherlands" ... it avoids the difficulties.


Explanation:
My suggestion and opinion.

I too was taught that it is with a capital “T” no matter what. However, having worked for years within international organizations, I now know that to avoid this very situation, stick to the official name of the country which is “Kingdom of the Netherlands”. Do not use Holland.

Publications Office — Interinstitutional style guide — 7.1 ...
Use ‘the Netherlands’ not Holland, which is only part of the Netherlands (the
... For the format of presentation (short name, official title, list of ISO ...
publications.europa.eu/code/en/en-370100.htm - 25k - Similar pages



http://publications.europa.eu/code/en/en-370100.htm
Short name, source language(s) (geographical name) (1)
Official name, source language(s) (protocol name) Short name in English (geographical name) Official name in English (protocol name) Country code (2)
Former abbrevia-tion (2)

Nederland Koninkrijk der Nederlanden Netherlands Kingdom of the Netherlands NL NL

Good luck!

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Note added at 41 mins (2008-07-13 09:49:59 GMT)
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In summary, and if you have a space limitation perhaps, and if logic serves me, "the" small "t" would be acceptable.

Just my two pence... Luck!

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Note added at 54 mins (2008-07-13 10:03:11 GMT)
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Having seen your note, then I would agree with cmwilliams' proposal(s). Depends ...

Taña Dalglish
Jamaica
Local time: 06:56
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 12
Notes to answerer
Asker: I am so happy I am not The only one! :-) Good suggestion, but my translations is about things that have happened in The/the Netherlands and the name of the country is in every other sentence. Besides, I have found Kingdom of The Netherlands as well! To avoid the issue, my option was to use 'Dutch' as many times as possible.


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  writeaway: not a good idea. Even in Dutch they don't use the full whammy as a rule.
2 mins
  -> Fair enough, your opinion! The big question here is the use of "The" or "the" and I have agreed that IMO small "t" would be OK. I don´t care what the Dutch themselves do .., does not make it right? but you have to agree that it solves the dilemma. Yes?
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47 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
the netherlands vs the netherlands vs netherlands
'The Netherlands'


Explanation:
I use it this way as the name of the place is not Netherlands but "The Netherlands"

the Netherlands is a place where where you never go. the forbidden place.

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Note added at 4 hrs (2008-07-13 13:11:53 GMT) Post-grading
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It is the difference which is made when you use a cap "T" or a small "t" in The

Gary D
Local time: 21:56
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 18
Notes to answerer
Asker: Ha, ha, ha! I have never thought of my country like that!

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Jul 13, 2008 - Changes made by writeaway:
Field (specific)Geography » General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters


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