As initially announced in October, The Netherlands is going full steam ahead with their biggest rebrand in years to transform its image from 2020 onwards. Over the past few days, the news has been published in media outlets worldwide… so it looks like their rebrand is off to a good start!
The basis of the rebrand is the removal of the country’s nickname “Holland” which has also been the name used by the nation’s tourist board. Instead, the country will only be referred to as The Netherlands in every case going forward, whether for tourism purposes or other official purposes. The nickname originated from two of The Netherlands’ 12 regions, North Holland and South Holland, both of which contain the majority of the country’s biggest cities.
The tourist board will also be changing its logo from a tulip to the capital letters “NL” which is chosen to look like a “stylised” tulip. You can see the previous tourist board logo and the new one in our featured image above.
Getting ready for Eurovision
But why is the country spending €200,000 on this new marketing campaign? A foreign ministry spokesperson stated that “it is a little strange to promote only a small part of the Netherlands abroad, that is, only Holland”. Additionally, the rebrand “aims to put an end to large numbers of visitors on cheap flights, particularly to Amsterdam, and promote more sustainable and respectful travel.”
Multiple outlets also highlight the country’s hosting of the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest and the nation’s participation in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo as key factors to the timing of the decision. These two big events are big showcases for The Netherlands to show off its new rebrand.
Mixed success for nation rebrands
Nation rebrands have had mixed success in recent years. Arguably the most important “rebrand”, although for reasons much more important than tourism opportunities, was for North Macedonia in its attempt to improve relations with neighbouring Greece and, in turn, increase their chances to join NATO and the European Union. The name was quickly adopted globally and, in the context of Eurovision, immediately implemented in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest ahead of the name change earlier in the year.
In 2016, Czech Republic attempted to make Czechia its widely-used country name. Whilst it has gained some recognition, it hasn’t made the same global impact as North Macedonia’s name change despite being submitted to the United Nations. Indeed, the country still participates in Eurovision as the Czech Republic.
A smalltown nation in a giant world
Of course, The Netherlands is already widely used in many contexts so this isn’t comparable to the two cases above. However, it remains to be seen whether the nation can make the world forget about “Holland” for good.