Official name for The Netherlands / Netherlands?
Thread poster: Jennifer ONeill

Jennifer ONeill  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:02
Jun 7, 2010

Seems a silly question but what's the offical name for The Netherlands / Netherlands when writing the country's name in a postal address? Is it The Netherlands or Netherlands? I need a reference that states which name is the official name. Thanks.



Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:02
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Actually a good question! Jun 8, 2010

Here is a pretty impressive-looking site that aims to give links to just about everywhere!

As far as I can see, it suggests plain Netherlands.


I live in Denmark, and in practice, when writing addresses, I add the name of the country in Danish, as I reckon it is largely for the use of the Danish sorting office. Once inside the receiving country, it has served its purpose. Writing it correctly may be a question of good manners, of course!

My purely personal system is to write the name of the receiving country in the language of the country where the letter is posted. I can see that I more or less follow the rules suggested on the Danish post office website. (Though I do send a lot of post from the UK when I am there.)

My Dutch friends actually live in Belgium, so I write BELGIEN on the envelope to them!
Sverige and Norge are the same in all three languages, but I write UK addresses with the postcode at the bottom for OCR sorting, and England a line higher, out to the right. (Or Scotland or Wales, where that applies.)
It should officially be Storbritannien for them all, but they get through!

It would be Nederlandene or Holland from Denmark - the definite article, if used, comes at the end of the word... Holland is still used in Danish, though not officially in English.

But I'm watching this thread to see what others say.

[Edited at 2010-06-08 09:28 GMT]


Trinh Do  Identity Verified
Member (2007)
English to Vietnamese
+ ...
Official name Jun 8, 2010

I remember it is 'The Netherlands' in official documents. 'Holland' is for colloquial texts.


Mathieu Isidro (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:02
English to French
+ ...
the Netherlands Jun 8, 2010

I believe this is similar to "the United Kingdom" "the United States of America" "the United Arab Emirates" etc.

When writing letters you would not add "the". You would simply say "UK" "USA" etc.

However, very much like you can't say "The France" I believe "the" is thus an essential part of the name for those countries in official communication. I suppose the "the" exists because of the fact the name of the country includes "lands" or "kingdom" or "states" etc. The name itself does not include the article, but to phrase it correctly in English you need to use it.

this page might help you:

or this page:

Hope this helps!


Rebekka Groß (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:02
English to German
the Netherlands Jun 8, 2010

I'm totally bowled over because I thought it was The Netherlands...;jsessionid=9ea7991c30d79437dc53628940609acd91a6344f9f99.e3iLbNeKc38Ke3eKaNiLaxyNby0


French Foodie  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:02
French to English
+ ...
Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors Jun 8, 2010

Says this:
Netherlands, the
formerly Holland was only part of, not equal to, the Netherlands (or Low Countries), which also included Belgium and Luxembourg. Now, however, these three countries are known collectively as Benelux, and the Netherlands is the official name of the province of Holland only. The definite article in 'the Netherlands' is lower case in running text, unlike that of its seat of government, The Hague.
Netherlands, NL, Kingdom of the Netherlands


Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:02
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Other countries have problems with this as well. Jun 8, 2010

Ukraine, in the Soviet era, was always known in English as the Ukraine. But it now insists on Ukraine without the article being the only acceptable form in English. On the other hand, a former colonial territory in Africa once known as Gambia now insists, since its independence, on being called The Gambia.


Tina Vonhof
Local time: 14:02
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
The Netherlands Jun 8, 2010

When the country was formed in the 16th century, it was "The Republic of the Seven United Netherlands". Via various name changes, eventually it became "The Kingdom of the Netherlands" and that is still its official name. This plural version stuck in the English language but the Dutch themselves refer to is as "Nederland", i.e. singular.

For more information see

[Edited at 2010-06-08 16:17 GMT]


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:02
Member (2007)
+ ...
Zuid/Noord Holland Jun 8, 2010

French Foodie wrote:
the Netherlands is the official name of the province of Holland only.

When I was living in The Hague I was told that Noord Holland and Zuid Holland were only two of the regions of the Netherlands - it just happens that the Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam are all in these 2 areas. However, the term Holland would actually exclude Groningen, Arnhem, Utrecht etc.

Is this right, Dutch colleagues?


Françoise Vogel  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:02
English to French
+ ...
"Contact the Ministry" - site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jun 8, 2010

This is how the address of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is written on, the official site of the Ministry:

Visitor's Address: Bezuidenhoutseweg 67, The Hague
Postal Address: PO Box 20061, 2500 EB The Hague, The Netherlands
Telephone: +31 70 3486486
Fax: + 31 70 3484848

while it is - correctly - indicated as "Pays-Bas" in French.


Michiel Leeuwenburgh  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:02
Member (2009)
English to Dutch
Holland vs. The Netherlands @ Sheila Jun 8, 2010

You are right, Sheila. Holland is only part of The Netherlands (the most populated part, hence the generalization). Many, if not most people from other parts of the country (for instance Friesland, Limburg or Twente) resent being referred to as *Hollanders*.

[Bijgewerkt op 2010-06-08 17:25 GMT]


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:02
Member (2007)
+ ...
Thanks for the confirmation, Michiel Jun 8, 2010

Michiel Leeuwenburgh wrote:
Holland is only part of The Netherlands

In the same way as England is only one part of the United Kingdom

Many, if not most people from other parts of the country (for instance Friesland, Limburg or Twente) resent being referred to as *Hollanders*

In the same way as so many Welsh, Scottish and Irish people resent being called English

Even if individuals don't mind (and my half-Scots husband thinks it's a big laugh, really), I think translations need to be as accurate as possible and to avoid upsetting anyone.


Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:02
Portuguese to English
+ ...
The Netherlands Jun 8, 2010

This is the form I would use. Strangely, however, the Country Guide at mixes "Netherlands" and "The Netherlands" in the same text!

In Portuguese, "Holanda" is the normal term (despite the fact that Holland is only part of the Netherlands - see and also "Países Baixos" (Low Countries).


Jennifer ONeill  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:02
Got the official name Jun 15, 2010

Apologies for the delay in replying. Thanks to everyone for their helpful suggestions.

I contacted the Dutch language authority, Taalunie (, on what the official name is when writing an address and they have told me it is The Netherlands.


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