For a good understanding of the contents of Archimon, it is absolutely necessary to be aware of the fact that Holland and the Netherlands are not two names for the same country, but rather that Holland is the former name for part of it. On Archimon, 'Holland' will only be used in its true meaning. Here's a small map of The Netherlands. The black part is the current Holland, the rest of the map is not. Holland these days constitutes two out of a total of twelve provinces that make this country, and the border between them can just be seen in this little map. Much of the northern part was originally Frisian and came under the rule of the counts of Holland (who called their territory 'Holland and West-Frisia' after that) in the middle ages, while to the south Holland once had some territory in the present province of Noord-Brabant. More recently the province of Zuid-Holland exchanged some territory with the province of Utrecht. Despite these small changes, this map essentially shows the real outlines of Holland. In this area are such cities as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Haarlem, as well as the national airport, Schiphol. As a tourist you're likely to visit it, but be aware that Holland is just two parts of this country, and there are many more different faces to The Netherlands as a whole.
Why is it so important to make this distinction, you may ask. The answer is simple; it's incorrect not to. More specifically: the history of The Netherlands becomes completely incomprehensible when the distinction is not made. Not just for tourists, but for locals as well. In today's schools there are teachers who tell the children that Dordrecht is The Netherlands' oldest city, after having read somewhere it is Holland's oldest. Can you imagine how confusing it must be when you discover that cities like Maastricht, Nijmegen and Utrecht, to name just a few, are much, much older? Some people nowadays actually believe that the counts of Holland once ruled all of the territory of what now is this country. Holland's borders occasionally altered, and expanded at times into other provinces as well, but NEVER were Holland and The Netherlands the same. Only during a few years under French 'protection' the country was transformed into a puppet-state called Holland (what did Napoleon care about these things anyway?), but it had different, occasionally changing borders then, excluding most of the current province of Limburg and including parts of Germany as well. And you wouldn't call Germany Holland, would you?
But don't 'Hol' and 'Nether' mean the same? No, although it's often claimed that they do. 'Nether' means 'low', and although 'Hol' nowadays translates to 'hollow', the terms do have different meanings. 'Hol' originally referred to 'holt', an old word for 'wood'. The region around Dordrecht, Holland's oldest town, was known as Holtland, after its many forests.
Apart from old historic facts, what's the problem? Many people take issue, both outside and inside the historic Holland. For some people it's just plain silly to use an unofficial name for a country, while for others it's completely insulting. What you should be aware of is that this country is an artificially created one. It has been made out of several provinces with little more in common than more or less related languages, while the country's borders aren't the result of good thinking or justice either. The Netherlands has always constituted of many different native cultures, many of which proudly exist this very present day despite ages of repression. Several of these cultures cover areas that extend well over the national borders. Many people have a lot more in common with their neighbours in Germany or Belgium than they do with their compatriots in other parts of their country. Perhaps even more important, until just a few decades ago the country was divided along religious lines as well, with the northern half being mostly protestant, while in the south the catholics formed the vast majority. This is a very varied country, and for many people the word Holland is an insult when used in the wrong context. The fact that there are also many Dutch people (including our government and the notorious Netherlands Bureau for Tourism) prepared to insult other people as long as it makes them any richer does not change this. Also, thanks to this official policy many people don't know any better. To them Holland is the name for their country to be used in a nationalistic 'we are better than anyone else' kind of context. It's sad and ironic to see that in this time, when immigrants of all sorts are encouraged to preserve their own cultures, governmental policy is aimed at replacing the old native cultures by a single artificial, uniform sort of national feeling. It should be added that the national government usually consists of people from the actual Holland who care little about the rest of the country. It was the government that after World War Two promoted the use of 'Holland' to counter the regional awareness in especially the catholic southern provinces, where Holland was still thought of as an occupier, a completely different country. It is true that those people who prefer to use the word Holland have indeed in most cases lost contact with their own culture and replaced it with something artificial.
Why bother even paying attention to this issue? That's a question I often ask myself, as it sometimes feels like I'm fighting windmills. Some institutions, like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and even a museum like the Open Air museum in Arnhem have chosen not to answer any of my letters. I take it that these organisations don't care much about historic facts, and especially in the case of the mentioned museum I find this very disappointing. It does say something about the (lack of) quality of that museum too, which does not fail in this aspect alone but in others as well. The Netherlands Bureau for Tourism, of www.holland.com notoriety responded with a standard letter with lots of dubious excuses like "not exploiting the name of Holland would damage the national economy". It seems like I'm not the first to complain to them. Still, I decided not to settle for shallowness. This site is also a response to this insulting attitude. The fact that hundreds of people have visited this very page, with some others linking to it, proves that it has not been in vain.
Another good explanation can be found at WorldAtlas.com.