South Holland (Dutch: ) is a province situated on the
Sea in the western part of the Netherlands. The provincial capital is The Hague and its largest city is Rotterdam.
For more on the history of South Holland in the context of Dutch
history, see the article on the "History of the Netherlands
history of this province can also be found in the articles on its
constituent elements (e.g. Rotterdam, The
Hague, etc.) The information here pertains just to South
of its history, the modern-day province of South Holland was an
integral part of Holland.
9th century to the 16th century, Holland was a county
of the Holy Roman Empire, and was
ruled by the counts of
Some of the counts were powerful magnates who
also ruled many other territories, culminating in a period of rule
by the House of Habsburg
terminated by the Dutch Revolt
From the 16th century to 1795, Holland was the wealthiest and most
important province in the United Provinces in the Dutch Republic
. As the richest and most
powerful province, Holland dominated the union. During this period
a distinction was sometimes made between the "North Quarter"
) and the
"South Quarter" (Zuiderkwartier
), areas that roughly
correspond to the two modern provinces.
The emergence of a new province (1795 to 1840)
The province of South Holland as it is today has its origins in the
period of French rule from 1795 to 1813. This was a time of
bewildering changes to the Dutch system of provinces. In 1795 the
old order was swept away and the Batavian Republic
was established. In the
Constitution enacted on 23 April 1798, the old borders were
radically changed. The republic was reorganised into eight
) with roughly equal populations.
Holland was split up into five departments named "Texel","Amstel",
"Delf", "Schelde en Maas", and "Rijn". The first three of these lay
within the borders of the old Holland; the latter two were made up
of parts of different provinces. In 1801 the old borders were
restored when the department of Holland was created. This
reorganisation had been short-lived, but it gave birth to the
concept of breaking up Holland and making it a less powerful
In 1807, Holland was reorganised once again. This time the two
departments were called "Maasland"
(corresponding to the modern province of South Holland) and
"Amstelland" (corresponding to the modern
province of North Holland).
This also did not last long. In
1810, all the Dutch provinces were integrated into the French
Empire. Maasland was renamed "Monden van de Maas"
(Bouches-de-la-Meuse in French). Amstelland and Utrecht were
amalgamated as the department of "Zuiderzee" (Zuyderzée in
After the defeat of the French in 1813, this organisation remained
unchanged for a year or so. When the 1814 Constitution was
introduced, the country was reorganised as provinces and regions
). Monden van de Maas and Zuiderzee were
reunited as the province of "Holland".
However, the division was not totally reversed. When the province
of Holland was re-established in 1814, it was given two governors,
one for the former department of Maasland (i.e. the area that is
now South Holland) and one for the former department of Amstelland
(i.e. the area that is now North Holland). Even though the province
had been reunited, the two areas were still being treated
differently in some ways and the idea of dividing Holland remained
When the constitutional amendments were introduced in 1840, it was
decided to split Holland once again, this time into two provinces
called "South Holland" and "North Holland". The impetus came
largely from Amsterdam, which still resented the 1838 relocation of
the court of appeal to The
Hague in South Holland.
1840 to today
1840, South Holland has ceded three municipalities to the province
of Utrecht: Oudewater in 1970, Woerden in 1989, and
Vianen in 2002.
In the period 2004 to 2006, there was a municipal
- On 1
January 2004 the municipalities De Lier, 's-Gravenzande, Monster,
Naaldwijk and Wateringen were merged into a new municipality
Westland, and Maasland and Schipluiden to another one,
South Holland is divided into 77 municipalities
. In the
Netherlands a municipality (gemeente
) may consist of a
single city or town or it may consist of a number of smaller towns
Municipalities (with links to maps)
Municipalities (sortable listing, with populations)
Islands of South Holland
part of the province of South Holland consists of a number of
islands lying in the Rhine-Meuse river delta.
Although technically islands
in the sense that they are surrounded by rivers, canals or other
bodies of water, most of these islands are well connected to the
rest of the province.
The islands are listed here alphabetically. A few of these islands
bear the same name as a municipality (and are therefore linked to
the information about the municipality).
Regions in South Holland
Some of the regions in South Holland are official regional
groupings artificially created for various administrative purposes.
Other regions have developed their own identities for historical,
geographic or other reasons. These regions are sometimes undefined
The province is officially divided into four regions:
official region is the Zuidvleugel ("The
South Wing"), which refers to the conurbation consisting of the southern wing of
Some of the other regions in South Holland:
- The information in this section has been drawn from the Dutch
articles on "Zuid-Holland" and "Noord-Holland" on the Dutch
Internal Wikipedia links
Links to Maps
Entries for South Holland in worldwide gazetteers