Just what is the Netherlands anyway?

Thu, Jul 8

The Netherlands? Holland? The Dutch?

Courtesy of New LineWe all know who Goldmember is rooting for in the World Cup.

When it comes to who's playing in the World Cup final, it can get pretty complicated. On the one side, there's Spain. But their opponent goes by so many names, it's hard to keep track.

So Page 2 would like to clear up just who's taking the pitch on Sunday.

The country is formally known as the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It's often referred to as Holland, although that is technically incorrect. Holland is a region in the western part of the country and North and South Holland represent just two of the twelve provinces of the Netherlands.

But who are the Dutch? Well, they are the people from Holland aka the Netherlands. The word Dutch also refers to anything relating to the country. It's derived from "Diets," a language spoken in middle Europe long before The Netherlands was a country. Even more confusing -- Double Dutch. Why would anyone want to stand in the middle of two furiously spinning jump ropes?

The word nether translates to low, which is fitting because one third of the Netherlands lies below sea level. This may explain why the country is so good at soccer. I'd learn to run fast too if there was a constant fear of flooding.

Of course none of this information will help you choose the winner of the World Cup final. Both Spain and the Netherlands are tremendously talented teams and either way we are guaranteed a first time winner. So I'll leave you with Nigel Power's advice on partisanship from 2002's "Austin Powers in Goldmember:" "There are only two things I can't stand in this world; people who are intolerant of other peoples' cultures, and the Dutch."