Webster's Dictionary 
(n.) A kind of linen first manufactured in Holland; a linen fabric used for window shades, children's garments, etc.; as, brown or unbleached hollands.
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature 
also called THE NETHERLANDS, a kingdom in Europe, has an area of 13,890 English square miles. Holland still owns extensive colonies in the East and West Indies, and in South America, which together make an area of about 685,700 English square miles.
I. Church History. — At the beginning of the Christian were, the country which is now called Holland or the Netherlands was inhabited by Germanic tribes, of whom the Batavians and Frisians (q.v.) are best known. Their subjection, begun by Caesar, was completed by Germanicus. At the beginning of the 4th century the Franks conquered a large portion of the country; only the Frisians maintained their independence until the 7th century. Charlemagne appointed counts in Batavia and in Zealand, and compelled the people to embrace the Christian religion. After the division of the empire of Charlemagne, the Netherlands were united with Lorraine, and they both were made a dependency of Germany. But gradually a number of princes became semi-independent; among them the bishops of Utrecht, who ruled over Upper-Yssel and Groningen. The most powerful among the princes were the counts of Flanders, and after the extinction of these last their land fell by marriage to the dukes of Burgundy, who gradually came into possession of the whole of the Netherlands, remaining, however, feudal to the German emperor. The marriage of the daughter of the last duke of Burgundy with Maximilian, archduke of Austria (later, emperor Maximilian I of Germany), made the Netherlands a part of the extensive dominions of the house of Hapsburg.
The Christianization of the country has been referred to in the arts. BELGIUM and Friesland Holland, like Belgium, early became distinguished for its excellent cathedral schools, especially that of Utrecht. A great-influence upon the religious life not only of Holland, but of many other countries, was exercised by the Brothers of Common Life, who were founded by Gerhard Groote (q.v.) (1340-1384). This order soon established a number of schools, especially in the Netherlands and the adjacent parts of Germany, which imparted not only elementary instruction, but also a higher education. Thus Holland became celebrated for its learning and scholarship, which in the 15th century was further promoted by the establishment of the University of Deventer. Many of the prominent men of Holland tool an active part in the efforts to reform the Church of Rome; the best known of these reformers is John de Wessel. The Mennonites (q.v.) fully separated from the Church of Rome, and, living in a country which was favorable to religious toleration, suffered less from persecution than most of the mediaeval sects.
The Reformation of the 16th century found in few countries so congenial a soil as in Holland. Favored by the liberal traditions of the country, the national spirit of independence, and the extensive commerce with foreign countries, it spread rapidly. In vain did Charles V issue a number of cruel edicts (the first in March, 1520, the last in 1550) to put it down; it grew in spite of all persecution. Among the different reformed systems which then began to establish themselves, it was especially that of Calvin, first introduced by young Dutch students of Geneva, which struck deep root. The Lutheran doctrines, and, still more, Anabaptist movements, also found numerous adherents, but Calvinism soon obtained the ascendency, owing to a large extent to the influence of the Reformed churches of England and France. Thus arose the Dutch Reformed Church, embracing at its origin the reformed churches of Belgium, as well as those of Holland, as these countries were at this time politically united. [The inner history of this Church is given in the article Reformed Church] Philip II was determined to destroy the new doctrine, and introduced into the Netherlands. all the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition. This called forth a general opposition. The lower nobility united in presenting to the regent Margaret of Parma a protest against religious persecutions; the citizens assembled in the open field for divine service. In 1566, general attacks began against the Roman Catholic churches. In 1567, Philip sent duke Alba to ‘ the Netherlands with an army, consisting of Spaniards and Italians, to subdue the religious movement; but the cruel tyranny of the duke led to very different results. William of Orange, the stadtholder,' who had escaped death by flight, unsuccessfully at, tempted, at the head of an army of exiles, to expel the Spaniards, but in 1572 nearly the whole of the northern provinces fell into the hands of the patriots. The efforts of Alba to suppress the revolution by force of arms having entirely failed, he was recalled, and departed in Jan. 1574, boasting that during his administration 18,600 men had been executed, chiefly on account of religion. The efforts of his successors likewise failed to reestablish the rule of Spain. In 1579, the provinces of Holland, Zealand, Utrecht, Friesland, Groningen, Overyssel, and Guelderland formed the Union of Utrecht, and thus laid the foundation of the republic of the Seven United Provinces. From this time the history of the Netherlands divides itself into that of Holland, in which the ascendency of Protestantism was henceforth established, and that of Flanders (subsequently Belgium, q.v.), or the ten provinces, which remained under the Spanish dominion, and adhered to the Roman Catholic Church. William of Orange was assassinated in 1584 by a partisan of Spain, but his son Maurice successfully defended the independence of Holland, and in 1609 compelled Spain to agree to a truce for twelve years. During the peace an unfortunate quarrel broke out between the Calvinists and the Arminians (q.v.). Maurice, who aspired to become hereditary sovereign of Holland, placed himself, from political reasons, at the head of the strict Calvinists, and when he prevailed, the venerable head of the Arminian party, Barneveldt, one of the most illustrious of the Dutch statesmen, was (May 13,1619) executed, while Hugo Grotius, another distinguished leader of the Arminians, or, as they were generally called, from their remonstrances in favor of religious toleration, Remonstrants, escaped by an artifice. The war with Spain was renewed in 1621, but at the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, Spain had to recognize the independence of Holland.
Under various political vicissitudes, Holland remained henceforth a Protestant country. On the establishment of the Batavian republic in 1795, in consequence of the conquest of the country by France, Church and State were separated; the constitution of the national Church remained however, substantially as before. Simultaneously with the erection of the kingdom of Holland under Napoleon, an attempt was made to reorganize the Church, at the head of which the national Synod was to be placed; but this plan, also, was not executed, as in 1810 Holland was incorporated with the French empire. An introduction of the Organic Articles (1812) was then meditated, but never carried through. The re-establishment of the Netherlands as an independent state, with which also Belgium was united, restored to the national Church most of the rights formerly possessed by her, and gave her for the first time a national Synod. In the new state a majority of the population belonged to the Roman Catholic Church, but the government knew how to maintain in its legislation the ascendency of Protestantism, to the great dissatisfaction of the southern provinces, which revolted in 1830, and constituted the independent kingdom of Belgium (q.v.). From that time Holland again became a predominantly Protestant state, in which, however, the Roman Catholic Church comprises about two fifths of the entire population. Of late, an almost complete separation between Church and State has been effected.
II. Church Statistics. — The total population of the kingdom of Holland amounted in December 1888, according to an official calculation, to 4,505.932. This is exclusive of the grand duchy of Luxemburg (q.v.), which is governed by the king of Holland as grand duke, but is entirely independent from Holland in point of administration. A little over a majority of the entire population, according to the official census taken in 1879, 2,469,814, belong to the National Reformed Church. The present constitution of this Church, which almost makes it autonomous, was regulated by a law- of March 23, 1852. The Church embraces 43 classes in 10 provincial districts. A classis consists of the pastors and a number of the elders, but the number of the latter must not exceed the number of the pastors. Each classis meets annually, and elects a standing committee, which exercises ecclesiastical discipline. The General Synod, which meets every year in June at The Hague, consists of ten pastors, one being elected by each of the provincial synods, three elders, and the representatives of the three theological faculties of Leyden. Utrecht, and Groningen. To these are added delegates appointed by the Commission of the Reformed Walloon Churches (those which use the French language), and by the East and West Indian churches. A Synodal Commission, consisting of the president, the vice-president, and the secretary of the Synod, of three preachers and elders, and one professor of theology, is chosen for a period of three years. The number of parishes in 1884 was 1345, which were administered by 1611 pastors. The Walloon churches were seventeen in number, with twenty-five pastors, and a population of 9678. They are placed under a special commission for the affairs of the Walloon churches, but form an integral part of the National Reformed Church. Theological faculties representing this Church are connected with the state universities of Leyden, Utrecht, Groningen, and the Athenaea of Deventer and Amsterdam. The famous theological schools of Harderwyk and Franeker (q.v.) have been abolished.
As the National Reformed Church in Holland, in the second half of the 18th and in the present century, fell more and more under the predominant influence of rationalism [for the doctrinal history of the Church, (See Reformed Church), a number of the leading defenders of the ancient creed of the Church deemed it best to secede from the National Church, and to organize an independent Church (De Afgescheid. Reform. Kerk). In 1884 this Church comprised forty classes in ten provinces, with about 200 ministers and 379 congregations. It has a theological school at Kampen, with fifty to sixty students. Its membership belongs chiefly to the poorer classes of the population, and numbers 139,903 souls. The Remonstrants and followers of Arminius (q.v.) have considerably decreased since the beginning of the present century. While in 1809 they still numbered thirty- four congregations and forty pastors, they had in 1884 only twenty-four congregations and twenty-four preachers left. They regard themselves as members of the Reformed Church, and call themselves the Remonstrant Reformed Brotherhood. They have been supported since 17.95 by the state, and their pastors are educated at the Athenaeum of Amsterdam. Their Synod meets annually, alternating between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The Lutherans of Holland adopted as early as 1596 a constitution similar to that of the Reformed Church. Like them, they have elective pastors, elders, and deacons; and by the new regulations of 1858, a Church Council, Synodal.Commission, and Synod, as the three stages of ecclesiastical representation. Their Synod likewise meets annually at the Hague. The population connected with the Church amounted in 1884 to 61,825; the number of parishes and pastors is about fifty; the number of classes six. They have a theological seminary at Amsterdam. The professors of this seminary, as well as the pastors, receive salaries from the state. The Mennonites, whose origin falls into the time before the Reformation, have likewise decreased since the beginning of the present century. In 1809 they numbered 133 congregations and 185 ministers; in 1884, 126 congregations and 129 ministers. They, too, have a seminary at Amsterdam, with fifteen students in 1884. Rationalism largely prevails among them. The population connected with their congregations numbered in 1884, 50,705. The churches are self-supporting, and independent of each other. The Moravians have two churches and four ministers. The Jews in 1888 numbered about 100,000 souls.
Among the religious societies of Holland the following are the most important:
(1.) The Netherlands Bible Society, which had in 1867 a circulation of 32,251 copies, and an income of $-30,000.
(2.) The Sunday-School Union had in 1867 established 271 Sunday-schools in ninety-five different places; they had together 1301 teachers and 24,400 children. It publishes a weekly paper, The Christian Family Circle.
(3.) The Society For Christian National-School Instruction (established in 1860), whose design is the establishment throughout the country of schools in which a sound Christian education shall be given, as opposed to that given in the national schools. Eighty schools had in 1867 been established in different parts of the country on this principle. The income of the society was about $9000.
(4.) The Netherlands Evangelical Protestant Union, established in 1853, endeavors to "counteract the terrible power of Rome, and unbelief prevailing throughout the country, by means of colporteurs and evangelists." The income of the society is about $1500. (5.) The missionary societies of Holland labor exclusively in the Dutch colonies, and in the neighboring islands of the Indian Archipelago. Great open-air missionary gatherings are now held every year in Holland.
Until the Reformation, the whole of modern Holland belonged to the diocese of Utrecht (q.v.). In: 1559 this see was made an archbishopric, and five suffragan sees were erected-Haarlem, Middleburg, Deventer, Leeuwarden, and Groningen. The success of the Reformed Church, after the establishment of the independence of Holland, put an end to all the dioceses. In 1583 an apostolical vicariate was established for those who continued to adhere to the Church of Rome. It was at first administered by the apostolical nuncio in Brussels. At the beginning of the 17th century the Dutch mission again received a resident vicar apostolic at Utrecht (who was to supply the place of the former archbishops), and five provicars at the former episcopal sees. In 1723 the Jansenist (q.v.) canons of Utrecht elected an archbishop; in 1742 a Jansenist bishop was elected for Haarlem, and in 1755 another for Deventer. Al these sees are still extant, but the number of parishes and the membership have decreased. These have at present (1870) a population of about 4000 souls in twenty-five parishes. After the establishment of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Roman Catholic Church in the seven old provinces was divided into seven arch-presbyterates, who were placed under the papal nuncio at the Hague as "vice superior of the Dutch mission," while the: apostolic vicariates of Herzogenbusch, Breda, and Limburg (1840) were erected into districts which had formerly belonged to other states. On March 7. 1853, Pius IX re-established the regular hierarchy by erecting the archbishopric of Utrecht, and the four bishoprics of Haarlem) Breda, Herzogenbusch, and Roeremonde. The Catholic population in 1879 Numbered 1,439,137 souls), with 39 convents of monks (containing 815 members) and 137 female monasteries (containing 2188 members). Among the monks are Jesuits, Redemptorists, Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, and Norbertines. Several congregations of Sisters of Charity have arisen in Holland.
A complete Church History of Holland has been published by Glasius, Geschiedeniss der christelike kerk en godsdienst in de Nederlanden (Leyden, 1833 sq., 6 vols.). The introduction of Christianity into the Netherlands is specially treated of by Diest Lorgion (Gesch. van de invoering des christend. in Nederlanden (Leuw. 1841), and by Prof. Royaards (Gesch. der invoering en vestiqing van et christend. in Nederl. Utr. 1841; 3rd ed. 1844). The latter began a Church History of Holland during the Middle Ages (Gesch. van et gerestigde Christendom en de christ. kerk in Neederlande gedurende. de middeleeuwen Utr. 1849-53, 2 vols.), but the death of this eminent historian (1854) prevented the completion of the work. A biographical Church History, from a Roman Catholic stand-point, was begun by Alberding Thijm (Gesch. der kerk in de Nederl.; vol. 1. H. Willibrodus, A postel der Nederlanden, Amsterd. 1861; Germ. translated Munster, 1863). A work of great ability is the Church History of Holland before the Reformation, by Moll (Kerkegeschiedeniss van Nederland voor de hervorming, Arnheim, 1864 sq., 3 vols.). (See Belgium). (A. J. S.)
The Nuttall Encyclopedia 
Officially known as the Netherlands, a small maritime country of Western Europe, bordered on its N. and W. by the German Ocean, and having Prussia on its E. and Belgium to the S.; its area, somewhat less than one-fourth the size of England and Wales, comprises, besides the mainland, two island groups, one in the N. and one in the S.; its flat surface in great part lies below the level of the sea, and where there are no natural sandhills is protected from inundation by enormous dykes, 365 ft. thick, forming excellent carriage-ways along the coast; much of the soil has been reclaimed by draining lakes and by pushing back the sea walls, the size of the country having been increased by one-half since 1833; canals traverse the country in all directions, and form with the shallow lakes and the great rivers a complete system of waterways. The climate is for the most part similar to that of England, but greater extremes of heat and cold are experienced. Farming is the staple industry, although a considerable portion of the land is still unfit for cultivation; butter and cheese are the most valuable products, and are largely exported; the fisheries, coast and deep sea, are also of much importance; manufactures are retarded by the want of coal, but the wind is made to supply the motive power, by means of windmills, to flourishing textile factories (cotton, woollen, and silk), gin distilleries, pottery works, margarine and cocoa factories, &c. Holland no longer is the premier shipping country of Europe, a position it held in the 17th century, but it still maintains a busy carrying trade with all parts of the world, especially with its many rich colonies in the East and West Indies, which comprise an area 64 times larger than Holland itself. The government is a limited monarchy; the executive power is vested in the crown and the legislation in the States-General, an assembly consisting of two chambers, the one elected (for four years) by direct suffrage, the other (for nine years) by provincial councils. Primary education is free, but not compulsory. Religion is not established, but about two-thirds of the people are Protestants, the remainder Roman Catholics. The birth of Holland as an independent European power took place in the 16th century, when, after an heroic and protracted struggle, it freed itself from the yoke of Spain, then the most powerful nation in the world.