Holland is the widely used synonym for the Netherlands to foreigners and tourists. The word Holland originally comes from Holt, which means forest. Since this country was not only very flat (neder = nether = flat), but also covered with large forests, the name Holt-land (later named Holland) was used for the country in the 16th and 17th century.

The two main provinces are North-Holland (capital: Haarlem) and South-Holland (capital: Den Haag).

After the merge of all old provinces in the 18th century, the Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed.
Holland is used as synonym for the Netherlands today, but officially it's still Nederland, the Netherlands, le Pays Bas or die Niederlande.