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Holland

About Country

Holland is a region and former province located on the western coast of the Netherlands. The name Holland is also frequently used as a pars pro toto to refer to the whole of the country of the Netherlands. This usage is generally accepted, but some individuals, particularly from the other parts of the Netherlands, dislike the use of "Holland" as a substitute for "the Netherlands"

Today, the former County of Holland roughly consists of the two Dutch provinces of North Holland and South Holland, which together include the Netherlands' three largest cities: the capital city of Amsterdam; the seat of government of The Hague; and Rotterdam, home of Europe's largest port.

Holland is situated in the west of the Netherlands. A maritime region, Holland lies on the North Sea at the mouths of the Rhine and the Meuse (Maas). It has numerous rivers and lakes and an extensive inland canal and waterway system. To the south is Zealand. The region is bordered on the east by the IJsselmeer and four different provinces of the Netherlands. Holland is protected from the sea by a long line of coastal dunes. Most of the land area behind the dunes consists of polder landscape lying well below sea level. At present the lowest point in Holland is a polder near Rotterdam, which is about seven meters below sea level. Continuous drainage is necessary to keep Holland from flooding. In earlier centuries windmills were used for this task. The landscape was (and in places still is) dotted with windmills, which have become a symbol of Holland.

Holland tends to be associated with a particular image. The stereotypical image of Holland is an artificial amalgam of tulips, windmills, clogs, cheese and traditional dress (klederdracht). As is the case with many stereotypes, this is far from the truth and reality of life in Holland. This can at least in part be explained by the active exploitation of these stereotypes in promotions of Holland and the Netherlands. In fact only in a few of the more traditional villages, such as Volendam and locations in the Zaan area, are the different costumes with wooden shoes still worn by some inhabitants.

Why Study in Holland

Higher education in Holland is known for its high quality and its international study environment. With more than 2,100 international study programmes and courses, it has the largest offer of English-taught programmes in continental Europe.

Dutch higher education has a binary system, which means that you can choose between two types of education:

  • Research-oriented education, offered by research universities
  • Higher professional education, offered by universities of applied sciences.

At a research university you will focus more on research-oriented work, which could be either in an academic or in a professional setting. At a university of applied sciences you can choose a professional programme in the applied arts and sciences, to prepare you for a specific career.

A third, smaller branch of higher education is provided by institutes for international education, which offer programmes designed especially for international students.