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Where the Heck is Holland? Is that In Asia? And Other Tales of Geography Woe.

You constantly hear that the United States Education System is lacking. I never really put much thought into this because I feel like I got a pretty decent, broad education. Sure, I am not yet bilingual, but I took a class where I got to wield a blow torch. Perspective people, honestly. It wasn't until I started telling friends and co-workers about my upcoming move to The Netherlands, that I realized- American's have no clue about Geography. 

Of course, it is understandable that people get Holland and The Netherlands confused. Holland is actually two provinces in The Netherlands. North and South Holland. Utrecht is actually in the province of Utrecht. So technically, I am not moving to Holland, even though it has been used synonymously with The Netherlands for so long, I don't think anyone will freak out on you for using either.

I did an experiment today with some of my work friends, I printed out a blank map of Europe and asked people to identify where The Netherlands are. ( I know, it is a marvel that I have friends). The results were, well.... I know it is a small country, but dang. The most common answer was either Sweden or Denmark, kind of close, but no. The Netherlands is actually that tiny country located next to Belgium and Germany. It is not however, in Asia, which I have been asked from time to time. 

People tend to also not know what language they speak in The Netherlands. For the record, its Dutch or Nederlands. Someone also told me that they always wanted to go to Holland because they are a really big skier. For those of you who have been to The Netherlands, I will let you process that for a moment... For those of you who haven't been, The Netherlands is almost entirely flat and the reason for all the canals and dikes is all about Dutch ingenuity and reclaiming landmass from the sea. 

I am very much looking forward to the day that my friends come visit me in my new home. Assuming of course that they can find it! 

What are the weirdest things you have heard about the place you call home? Can you find The Netherlands?

Comments

We are all geographically challenged. Especially me. I don't know where anything is. I feel bad for the Miss America girl who went on about Iraq and "the such as" because I felt like that could have been me! (minus the beauty queen features, of course.) It is such a shame. But it is the truth. I'm a smart person, but I just don't know my geography. At all.

As far as crazy things about where I live...not much. Many of my family members continually think I live in Statesville. And around here if I ever mention living in Buford, they automatically assume I mean Beafort, South Carolina. Nothing really crazy about living in Portal except for the age old question of "WHY?!?!?" And I always get a few laughs from people when I tell them we live a few miles north of Hopeulikit (pronounced hope you like it). Oh, and of course Snellville becoming Snailville. Good times!

Remember Between,Georgia? I'm in Between, in between what?

I often get the same responses from people and friends. Most recently a friend asked me "so when are you going to Sweden?" LOL

Most often I get, "so when are you moving to Amsterdam?" I'm moving to Arnhem, which is an hour + south of the 'dam. But honestly, if its someone who I don't know and the topic comes up I usually just say 'Amsterdam.' A lot of my Dutch friends do this as well when us geography disabled 'merkins' ask them where they are from. 

I think I'm going to do your little map test with my friends...though Ill probably get cursed out for it.

 

I literally laughed out loud -- and loudly -- at the skiing comment. Awesome! I got a lot of blank stares, too, when I told people I was moving to the Netherlands. Saying Holland only helped slightly.

Even living here, we still get excited when we hear the Netherlands mentioned in any way on the BBC or CNN news. It's so rare. And then we correct their pronunciation. ;)

I've got to the point where I just say Amsterdam, instead of The Netherlands or Holland, even though I am moving to Utrecht. It seems to help people out, a little bit. Then they ask me if I am going to be high all the time.  So maybe it is not better.