25 Years in Holland... Sorry: The Netherlands

Hoera! I’m celebrating 25 years in Dutch- land. Amsterdam has changed a lot since 1994. I myself have changed a lot since 1994. For example, when I got here my name was Greg Shore. Shore is the name of the step-father grew up with, so it’s the name I grew up with. But it was the Dutch who said ‘What’s your birth name? THAT’S your name. Shapiro: cool name.’ And my name is not the only one that would change...

Zuidas was not called Zuidas. Was there even a Station Zuid? No. It was Station Zuid WTC. They changed the name somewhere in the early 2000’s. After 9/11, the term World Trade Center was not great branding. Zuidas back then was... I don’t really know. Like so many expats when they first arrive, my entire world was pretty much Amsterdam Centrum - and the Vreemdelingenpolitie in Slotermeer. But soon enough came the Amsterdam Expat Center! Which is now listed as IN Amsterdam (The Office Formerly Known As ExpatCenter).

When I came to the Netherlands, the country marketing said ‘Visit Holland.’ The logo of the tourism board was a tulip saying ‘Welcome to Holland.’ And the in-flight KLM magazine was called The Holland Herald. It’s no wonder most people fail to realize the name of the country is The Netherlands. Maybe it’s just too long, too clunky, not great for marketing. But then came a little viral video called ‘Netherlands Second,’ which turned out to be pretty good advertising for this country’s true name. Now - for the first time in at least 25 years - the Dutch government is ditching the term Holland and rebranding as The Netherlands. You’re welcome!

Gregory Shapiro (b.1968) is known from Boom Chicago, Comedy Central, and as the voice of Trump in the viral video ‘Netherlands Second.’ The US election show ‘Trump Up the Volume’ can be seen at Boom Chicago theater throughout 2020. www.gregshapiro.nl