The "Netherlands" is a plural word.
The Netherlands comprise at least two countries: Holland and Friesland, much as Great Britain comprises England and Scotland (and Wales). As shown in the map above, there are many different states. In fact, "Holland" actually comprises both North (Noord) and South (Zuid) Holland.
But there is much more to the Netherlands than just (North AND South) Holland. For example, there is Noord Brabant, Friesland, Limburg, Gelderland, and so forth.
Nederland encompasses a variety of cultures that I am only beginning to understand. What I do understand is that it is not about wooden shoes and fingers in dikes and cheese. Certainly these are important, but the essential character that I have seen is one of order and civility.
The Minjden forest above is just one example. By taming the flood and the passions of men the Nederlanders have created a special sanctuary of peace and beauty.
Suffice it to say that on first meeting the Nederlanders I was struck with their influence on our American culture. Driving north from Amsterdam into Friesland and listening to the radio I was vaguely troubled by the fact that the radio sounded like American English, but was totally incomprehensible. Then it dawned on me: perhaps the reason that Americans sound like they do is that the British language merged with the Dutch accent in New Amsterdam?
Polyglots have it all:
Speak Spanish with a French accent and you have Portuguese
Speak British with a Dutch accent and you have American...
If you have any comments or insights on the above, please let me know.
I hope to learn much, much more about the Netherlands. These are some of the key points I've found so far:
I've highlighted only a few of the many links available to this amazing little country that quietly is at the heart of the heritage of freedom-loving countries world wide. As Prokofiev said, if you listen carefully... you will find the presence of the Dutch.