South Holland - Facts and Figures

South Holland, Netherlands at a glance: largest cities, biggest companies, tallest towers and the major event venues in The Hague, Rotterdam, Delft, Leiden and surroundings...

Name: Holland vs. the Netherlands

There is a misconception that 'Holland' and 'the Netherlands' are interchangeable and refer to the same thing...

The Netherlands is the name of the country in northwestern Europe, made up of twelve provinces and three special municipalities:

  • Provinces: Drenthe, Flevoland, Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, Noord-Brabant, Noord-Holland, Overijssel, Utrecht, Zeeland and Zuid-Holland
  • Municipalities: Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba

Holland is a region within the country and accounts for two of the twelve provinces:

  • North Holland (Noord-Holland) and South Holland (Zuid-Holland)

*Interesting to note: the Kingdom of the Netherlands includes both the country of The Netherlands and the Caribbean islands of Sint Maarten, Curacao and Aruba.

    Population and Geography

    South Holland Population and Geography
    Land Area2,818 km2 (ranking 5/12)
    Population3.6 million (ranking 1/12)
    Elevationmost of South Holland is at or below sea level
    Ten Most Populated Cities in South Holland Population (000's)
    The Hague519.4
    Alphen aan den Rijn108.0

    Figures from Citypopulation and based on 2016 estimates.

    Regions and Municipalities

    South Holland is made up of 60 administrative municipalities ('gemeenten'). In some cases, a city and a municipality are one and the same (for example, The Hague is both a city and a municipality), while in other cases, a municipality may be comprised of several towns or cities (for example, the municipality of Alphen aan den Rijn includes the towns of Alphen aan den Rijn, Aarlanderveen, Zwammerdam and Boskop).

    For reporting purposes, the Dutch national statistics bureau CBS, breaks down South Holland into 6 regions: 1) Leiden and Bollenstreek (bulb-growing region), 2) Haaglanden (The Hague metropolitan area), 3) Delft and Westland, 4) Rijnmond (Rotterdam metropolitan area), 5) Oost Zuid-Holland (including Gouda and Alphen aan den Rijn) and 6) Zuidoost Zuid-Holland (including Dordrecht and Alblasserdam).

    Transport and Shipping

    The Port of Rotterdam is the largest shipping port in Europe.

    RandstadRail is a light rail service specific to South Holland. It bridges the gap between the National Rail Service and more local tram service, connecting the Rotterdam metropolitan area with The Hague metropolitan area. It operates across a combination of former railroad tracks as well as active tram and metro tracks. One line connects The Hague to Rotterdam via Voorburg, Leidschendam, Nootdorp, Pijnacker, Berkel en Rodenrijs and Bergschenhoek, and a second connects The Hague to Zoetermeer via Voorburg and Leidschendam.


    There are approximately 130,000 registered businesses in South Holland. Among these are the the global, European or Dutch headquarters for Royal Dutch Shell, Siemens A.G., TNT Post, T-Mobile, Unilever, APM Terminals, Aegon, KPN, ABN AMRO and ING.

    Because The Hague is the seat of the Dutch government and home to the Royal Family, it is also where most foreign embassies, consulates and international organisations are located, including the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the European Police Office (EUROPOL), the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the European Patent Office (EPO). As such, it has a large population of expat residents.


    Tallest Structures by Type in South Holland
    Church TowersNieuwe Kerk, Delft (1496): 108.8m
    Grote Kerk, The Hague (1424): 92.6m
    St Jacobus Kerk, The Hague (1878): 91.1m
    AttractionEuromast (Rotterdam): 186m
    SkyscrapersMaastoren (Rotterdam): 165m
    New Orleans (Rotterdam): 158 m
    Delftse Poort (Rotterdam): 151m
    Millennium Tower (Rotterdam): 149m
    Hoftoren (The Hague): 142m
    Ministry of Justice (The Hague): 146m
    Ministry of the Interior (The Hague): 146m

    Major Arenas, Stadiums and Media Centres