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States of Holland and West Friesland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Meeting of the States of Holland and West Friesland (Staten van Holland en West-Friesland) in 1625
Meeting of the States of Holland and West Friesland (Staten van Holland en West-Friesland) in 1625

The States of Holland and West Frisia (Dutch: Staten van Holland en West-Friesland) were the representation of the two Estates (standen) (Nobility and Commons) to the court of the Count of Holland. After the United Provinces were formed — and there no longer was a count, but only his "lieutenant" (the stadtholder) — they continued to function as the government of the County of Holland.

Philip the Good
Philip the Good
Johan van Oldenbarnevelt
Johan van Oldenbarnevelt

The Nobility was normally represented by the Land's Advocate of Holland or Grand Pensionary of Holland, who combined the votes of the ten members of the Ridderschap (the "Knighthood") in the estates; the nobility was also supposed to represent all rural interest, including those of the farmers. The Commons consisted of representatives of eighteen cities, in ancient feudal order: eleven of the Southern Quarter: Dordrecht, Haarlem, Delft, Leyden, Amsterdam, Gouda, Rotterdam, Gorinchem, Schiedam, Schoonhoven and Brill; seven of the Northern West Frisian Quarter: Alkmaar, Hoorn, Enkhuizen, Edam, Monnikendam, Medemblik and Purmerend.

More powerful cities were allowed to send more representatives — Amsterdam had a delegation of four — but these then together had only one vote. All members of the States were appointed officials, including the Land's Advocate or Grand Pensionary, who was appointed by the States themselves. The Land's Advocate or Grand Pensionary was nearly always a previous pensionary of a city. Very important matters, such as about taxation, had to be decided on unanimously but normally decisions were made by majority. This majority was not reached after a voting procedure, but by a summary at the end of the meeting by the Land's Advocate or the Grand Pensionary of the opinions expressed by the several members present, who would speak according to the feudal order: Dordrecht first, Purmerend last. He had literally both the first — as representing the nobility vote — and the last say in a meeting. Since the death of Johan van Oldebarnevelt any Prince of Orange also being stadtholder indirectly had much power over the States. He had the right to appoint the mayors of all cities, out of one of two candidates suggested by the appointment college of a city. Mayors of cities with city rights chose the officials who served as representatives in the States of Holland. The States of Holland were disbanded during the reforms by the Batavian Republic.

The States of Holland should not be confused with the States-General, or Staten-Generaal, the confederate government of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands as a whole. Each of the Netherlands had its own States and Holland was just one of seven. Nevertheless, this province was so dominant that a politician controlling the States of Holland by being Land's Advocate of Holland or Grand Pensionary, in fact controlled the Republic. Johan de Witt is a case in point, and Johan van Oldebarnevelt another famous example.

First mentioned in 1428, the States of Holland existed until 1795 when the Batavian Republic was established in the Batavian Revolution. The States of Holland were initially replaced by the Provisional Representatives of the People of Holland, which representative body also took the place of the States in the States General of the Batavian Republic.

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Welcome to the Great nation of Holland: where the tulips grow, the windmills turn, the breakfast is chocolatey, the people industrious, and the sea tries to drown it all. Except, this country isn't Holland. It's time for: The Difference Between Holland, the Netherlands (and a whole lot more) The correct name for this tulip growing, windmill building hagelslag eating, container ship moving, ocean conquering nation is the Netherlands. But confusion is understandable -- the general region been renamed a lot over a thousand including as: The Dutch Republic, The United States of Belgium, and The Kingdom of Hollande But it's not just history that makes this country's name confusing because the Netherlands is divided into twelve provinces: * Groningen * Drenthe * Overijssel * Gelderland * Limburg * Brabant * Zeeland (Which, by the way, is the Zeeland that makes this Zeeland, new) * Friesland (With adorable little hearts on its flag) * Flevoland * Utrecht, and here's the confusion: * Noord (North) Holland and * Zuid (South) Holland These provinces make calling the Netherlands 'Holland' like calling the United States 'Dakota'. Though unlike the Dakotas, which are mostly empty, save for the occasional Jackalope, the two Hollands are the most populated provinces and have some of the biggest attractions like, Amsterdam and Keukenhof. Chances are if it's Dutch, and you've heard of it, it's in one of the Hollands. Even the government's travel website for the country is -- officially because it sounds friendlier, but unofficially it's probably what people are actually searching for. Confusion continues because: People who live in the Hollands are called Hollanders, but all citizens of the Netherlands are called Dutch as is their language. But in Dutch they say: Nederlands sprekende Nederlanders in Nederland which sounds like they'd rather we call them Netherlanders speaking Netherlandish. Meanwhile, next door in Germany, they're Deutsche sprechen Deutsch in Deutschland. Which sounds like they'd rather be called Dutch. This linguistic confusion is why Americans call the Pennsylvania Dutch Dutch even though they're Germans. To review: this country is the Netherlands, its people are Dutch, they speak Dutch. There is no country called Holland, but there are provinces of North and South Holland. Got it? Great, because it's about to get more complicated. The Netherlands is part of a Kingdom with the same name: The Kingdom of the Netherlands -- which is headed by the Dutch Royal Family. The Kingdom of the Netherlands contains three more countries and to find them we must sail from the icy North Sea to the Caribbean and Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten. These are no territories, but self-governing countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands and as such they have their own governments, and their own currencies. Geography geek side note here: While Aruba and Curaçao are islands, Sint Maarten is just the Southern Half of a tiny island also named Saint Martin the other half of which is occupied by France and also named Saint Martin. So despite being separated by Belgium on the European map, The Kingdom of the Netherlands and the French Republic share a border on the other side of the world on an island so nice they named it thrice. But why does the Kingdom of the Netherlands reach to the Caribbean anyway? Because, Empire. In the 1600s the Dutch, always looking to expand business, laid their hands on every valuable port they could. For a time, America's East Coast was 'New Netherland' with its capital city of New Amsterdam. There was New Zealand, as mentioned previously, and nearby, the king of the islands, New Holland. Though the empire is gone, these three Caribbean nations remain. And while four countries in one kingdom, isn't unheard of, it doesn't stop there, because the country of the Netherlands, also extends its borders to the Caribbean and three more islands: Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. These are not countries in a Kingdom, but are cities of the Country of the Netherlands and they look the part. Residents of these far-flung cities vote in elections for the Dutch government just as any Hollander would. Though, weirdly, they don't belong to any province and they don't use the Dutch currency of Euros, they use Dollars instead. It's kind of like if Hawaii wasn't a state, but technically part of the District of Columbia, all the while using the Yen. These cities of the Country of the Netherlands and these countries in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, are together are known as the Dutch Caribbean. And their citizens are Dutch citizens. Which, because the Kingdom of the Netherlands is a member of the European Union, means these Dutch Caribbeans are also Europeans. So in the end, there are 6 Caribbean islands, four countries, twelve provinces, two Hollands, two Netherlands and one kingdom, all Dutch.


This page was last edited on 6 May 2019, at 19:01
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