Quick Tip – Use “Netherlands” rather than Holland or NL

When recording Dutch place names in your genealogy program, use “Netherlands” rather than “Holland” or “NL.”

“Holland” is not the name of the country, but of a former province, now split into North-Holland and South-Holland. Some programs in the past tried to resolve Holland and ended up changing it to “Reusel-De Mierden, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands” since there is a street called Holland in that tiny village. It led to millions of corrupt trees.

“NL” is sometimes used as an abbreviation for the Netherlands, but also for Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. Some genealogy programs change “NL” to the Canadian option.

To avoid these problems, use “Netherlands,” so it is clear which country you mean.


About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG® is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has a post-graduate certificate in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years and helps people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. Cathy Crandall says

    So is “Netherlands” correct, rather than”The Netherlands”?

  2. Jerry van Zuuk says

    That’s like asking whether it should be “United States” or “the United States”.

  3. Josephine says

    Thank you Yvette, I found a couple of those Newfoundland and Labrador entries for my family and wondered how they got there!

  4. Right On, Yvette.

    A conversation about bingo awhile ago:

    Are not from Holland? No. But I thought you were Dutch? Yes, but I am from Overijssel. It and Holland are both located in the Netherlands. Oh. So is that not Denmark?

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