Holland ,.I. A division of the Netherlands, comprising the present provinces of North and South Holland, which in the middle ages successively formed a part of the Frankish empire, of Lorraine, and of the German empire, being governed by counts, of whom those of Vlaardingen rose to considerable power. This line became extinct in 1299, and the land was inherited by the counts of Hainaut. In the middle of the 14th century arose a dispute between Margaret, wife of the emperor Louis the Bavarian, who had inherited the county after the death of her brother Count William IV., and her son William V., which threw it into long continued conflicts between two parties who took the names of Hoeks (hooks) and Kabeljaauws (codfish). Finally, in 1430, the county was annexed to Burgundy. (See Burgundy, and Netherlands.) - The kingdom of Holland, under the rule of Louis Bonaparte, from 1800 to 1810, included nearly all the territory of the present kingdom of the Netherlands, together with part of the former kingdom of Hanover and the duchy of Oldenburg. II. North, a province of the kingdom of the Netherlands, bounded W. and N. by the North sea, E. by the Zuyder Zee, and S. by Utrecht and South Holland; area, 1.054 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 602,539. The islands of Terschelling, Vlieland, and Texel, in the North sea, and Wieringen, Marken, and a few smaller ones, in the Zuyder Zee, belong to it.
The surface is flat, increasing in depression toward the north, and the districts of Waterland, Kennemerland, and Purmerland are partially below the level of the sea. Expensive dikes extend along the whole coast of the North sea, and for about 100 m. on the coast of the Zuyder Zee. Haarlem lake has been closed and drained. (See Drainage, and Haarlem Lake.) The river Y penetrates far into the land, which is crossed by numerous small rivers, and drained by a still larger number of canals. The climate is damp, changeable, and cool. Flowers are cultivated, especially about Haarlem. Hemp, flax, and madder are raised. Wood is scarce; the pasturage is excellent, and horses, cattle, and swine abound. There are important manufactures of linen, paper, woollen cloths, silks, carpets, leather, sugar, etc. Capital, Amsterdam. III. South, a province of the Netherlands, bounded W. by the North sea, N. by North Holland, E. by Utrecht and Gelderland, and S. by the Maas and its mouths; area, 1,155 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 710,753. The islands of Ysselmonde, Voorne, Beijerland, and Overflakkee form part of its territory. The general character of the province resembles that of North Holland. There are numerous canals, rich pasture lands, and fertile fields.
Portions of the Bies-Bosch, a shallow marshy lake formed by the inundation of 1421, have of late been reclaimed, and converted into meadow land. Capital, the Hague.