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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:
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!
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
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.
Selected response from:
Local time: 07:56
|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
5 mins confidence: peer agreement (net): +7