Although many people across the globe refer to our country as Holland this is not correct. The Netherlands currently consists of twelve provinces and two of those provinces have Holland in their name: North Holland and South Holland. Most people will understand the confusion but when you’re using Holland instead of the Netherlands you will probably often get corrected by one of the local inhabitants… despite the fact that we will cheer ‘Holland’ during sports events:) So basically it’s ok for us to call it Holland… but you should call it the Netherlands.
The reason many people refer to the Netherlands as Holland has probably to do with the fact that during the Dutch Golden Age (17th century) most trade and shipping were done from the province Holland (at that time South Holland and North Holland were one province known as Holland). Provinces were autonomous at this time in history and each had their own settled government, so when a sailor or one of his workmen were asked where they are from they would have answered with ‘Holland’.