Why Dutch officials want you to forget Holland

For decades, the Dutch government used "Holland" and "the Netherlands" interchangeably to describe the country known for its canals, tulip fields and windmills. But as of Jan 1, the country is hoping to put that identity crisis behind it: All official government communications and promotional materials will use the Netherlands as its name.

The Dutch government has been working on a branding campaign for the past 18 months to enhance the country's image in the face of growing international competition, said Ms Ingrid de Beer, head of the public diplomacy section in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "Our international image faces some challenges," she said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2020, with the headline 'Why Dutch officials want you to forget Holland'. Subscribe