There is a Swedish saying: “Älskat barn har många namn” (which roughly translates to: ‘a beloved child has many names’). Well, judging by the amount of names it has, The Netherlands must be loved indeed! For such a small country, The Netherlands inspires a large amount of confusion. A confusion regarding names.
When I was younger I thought that The Netherlands, or Nederländerna as we call it in Swedish, and Holland where two different countries. I knew that Holland was the place where people spoke Holländska, and where the tulips my mother adores come from. What The Netherlands was or where it was – I had no idea. I remained ignorant until my geography teacher finally set me straight in about the eight grade (age 14). To this day I still want to write Holland instead of The Netherlands but force myself not to.
Sadly I am not alone in this and it remains the case for many young people outside of the Dutch borders. This however, is only the tip of the iceberg. When you start learning English it becomes even more confusing, adding a completely new layer to the proverbial cake. It’s not like the people are called Netherlandian or Hollanders (no, that would have been too easy), instead they are referred to as the Dutch – don’t even get me started about the catalogue of names for the actual language.
So what can we do about it, how can we straighten out this mess of misunderstandings and confusion?
Ladies and gentlemen, the solution to this is simple. I propose a name change for this country! It can’t have just any old name. No, it should be a name that unites the people, that makes differences disappear. It should be a name that causes the ground to quake, the bells to chime, the angels to sing! I think you know where I am going with this.
Since I don’t want to leave anything to chance I have been toying with a few name suggestions and I’m going to run all of them by you.
Naming process, the process of the naming (whatever)!
So, what to name this small country to accurately convey what it represents?
* No Tasty Cheese Country!
– Maybe not. First of all, it is not really true (even though Sweden has the best cheeses in my own humble opinion). Secondly: cheese making people might get upset.
* Stiff Rain Counts as Snow Country?
– What a mouthful. True though, always funny to see people panic over so little.
* Where The Weather Can’t Make Up It’s Mind Land?
– Way too long! Nine times out of ten it’s not even actually raining!
* Tulip country/land?
– Although it is kind of true, the Dutch are famous for growing more than just tulips, just don’t tell my mom that.
* The Land of Many, Many Fried Foods?
-Seriously, fries with mayo for lunch (eew)? Not to mention the heart attack waiting to happen.
* The Land of Many, Many Bikes?
– Only problem is, it also has many, many cars. Which leads me to:
* The Land of Many, Many Traffic Jams?
– Again – true, but I don’t think we want to give the road-tripping tourists the wrong idea. Even if there was some way of successfully exporting it.
The Real Deal
Wait a minute, maybe you guys won’t take me seriously with all these lame name suggestions? It was just a bit of old fashioned fun poking. Now it is time for the jewel in the crown, the pièce de résistance, the cream of the crop, the chocolate dipped strawberry.
My dear ladies and gentlemen, animals of all kind. I hereby dub this country:
I’m sure it sounds just as sweet! Heck, even that sophisticated and intellectual broadcasting company from the States already thought of Dutchland.