Holland is the name of a region in the central-western part of the Netherlands. Holland is a former county of the Holy Roman Empire and later the leading member of the Republic of the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands (1581-1795). Because of this historic dominating position, the name Holland is often applied incorrectly to denote the entire Netherlands. For a short time (1806-1810) however, there was the Napoleonic Kingdom of Holland, which did encompass the entire Netherlands.
The name Holland in this and the other entries on this page ultimately stem from holt land ("wooded land"). A popular, but incorrect, etymology holds that it is derived from hol land ("hollow land"), inspired by the low-lying geography of both the Dutch and the English region (Holland, Lincolnshire).
Even though officially incorrect, the word Holland is often used by both Dutch (speaking) and foreign people to denote the entire Netherlands, possibly because "The Netherlands" ("Nederland" in Dutch) is such a long word to pronounce. It is a common misconception by people who think they know better that someone saying he or she is from Holland is actually from one of the two provinces mentioned above.
See also: Count of Holland