Is The Netherlands Part Of Germany? We Find Out

November 5, 2020

Foreigners often think that the Netherlands and Germany are part of each other. This could be because they are neighboring countries, or because the languages show some similarities. As a Dutchman, I of course know exactly whether this is correct or not. But for those who do not know the answer to the following question: "is the Netherlands part of Germany?", I will give an extensive answer to this question in this article.

The Netherlands is not part of Germany but is an independent country. They are however neighboring countries, and the languages of both countries are based on the West Germanic language. In the past, the Netherlands and Germany were both parts of the Holy Roman Empire.

So, it is absolutely not strange that people think the Netherlands is part of Germany. There are many similarities to be found between these two countries. What exactly are these similarities, and in what ways do these two countries differ? Keep on reading to get a clear answer.

Why is The Netherlands not Part of Germany?

For many who don’t speak Dutch, the German and Dutch languages can sound quite similar. In addition, the countries are situated next to each other and had a lot to do with one another throughout the centuries. This is why it seems quite logical to think that the Netherlands is part of Germany.

However, I can simply give one clear answer to this, which is that the Netherlands is not part of Germany. The Netherlands is actually part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The other three countries within this Kingdom are Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten.

The Netherlands is situated next to the North Sea, in the North West of Europe. The eastern side of the Netherlands shares borders with Germany. It is because of these shared borders that the Netherlands and Germany have had a lot to do with each other throughout the centuries.

This also explains why there are a bunch of similarities and differences between both countries. We will dig into the past to find out whether the Netherlands has ever been part of Germany at all.

Besides the fact that many people think that the Netherlands is part of Germany, many people also think that the Netherlands is part of Scandinavia. To find out more about that topic, check out the following article.

National flags of The Netherlands and Germany:

Is The Netherlands part of Germany - Pic #1

Was The Netherlands Part of Germany?

As I mentioned before, the Netherlands is nowadays not part of Germany whatsoever. However, in the past, both countries used to be part of the same kingdom. To look at the origin of this kingdom we have to go back in time for many centuries.

The kingdom which the Netherlands and Germany used to be a  part of was called the Holy Roman Empire. This kingdom was formed in the year 962 and consisted of three merged kingdoms; the Italian Kingdom, the German Kingdom, and the Popedom. The Holy Roman Empire was lead by Otto I, also known as Otto the Great.

The Holy Empire would eventually exist from 962 until 1806. Throughout the different centuries, more kingdoms joined the Holy Roman Empire.

Which kingdoms were part of the Holy Roman Empire?

  • Kingdom of Germany (since 962)
  • Kingdom of Italy (from 962 until 1648)
  • Kingdom of Bohemia (from 1002 until 1198)
  • Kingdom of Burgundy (from 1032 until 1378)

The Holy Roman Empire kept changing its form throughout the centuries. Now and then, new countries would join the kingdom, while others would leave. The Netherlands left this kingdom when it was announced independent in the year 1648.

Of course, you have to keep in mind that the countries and their border looked very different in the past. But if we take the current position of the Netherlands and Germany into consideration, we can say that both countries have been part of the same kingdom in the past.

What do the Netherlands and Germany Have in Common?

Foreigners often think that the Netherlands and Germany look a lot like each other. Of course, there are similarities to be found, both between the countries and between cultures. 

Cultural similarities between the Netherlands and Germany:

  • Language is derived from the Germanic language
  • Enjoy going on vacation
  • Love football
  • Don’t say no to a beer
  • Like partying
  • Love to travel far

As you can see, most of these similarities are quite simple and would also apply to many other countries. Real big differences between both cultures are hard to find.

Similarities between the Netherlands and Germany:

  • Large export country
  • Wealthy
  • Democracy
  • Good healthcare
  • Good road network

As you can see, the commonalities between the two countries also aren’t that big. This could lead us to believe that the Netherlands and Germany don’t look like each other that much at all, even though the countries are neighbors. This goes for both aspects, cultural and nationwide.

Just because both countries and cultures differ from each other doesn’t mean that the two countries don’t maintain a good relationship with each other. The Netherlands and Germany work together in many ways and provide support where necessary.

Differences Between the Netherlands and Germany

 As you have been able to read above, there are only a handful of similarities between the Netherlands and Germany. Now we will talk about the great differences between the two countries.

Cultural differences between the Netherlands and Germany:

(all differences are viewed from German perspective)

  • A detached and business-like attitude
  • Politer and more reserved
  • Pay for yourself when you’re with a group
  • Different kind of humor
  • Less flirting
  • Toast with every drink
  • Speak less foreign languages
  • At a party, only congratulate the person who is celebrating their birthday
  • Pay in cash

These are only a couple of the differences between the Dutch and German culture, but it does provide an image of how different both countries are.

Differences between the Netherlands and Germany as countries:

(all differences are viewed from German perspective)

  • Republic
  • Cheaper in many ways
  • Alcohol allowed in many public places
  • No speed limit
  • Lower fines
  • Winter tires obligated
  • 14 months of maternity leave

As you can see these differences are quite big compared to the Netherlands. For instance, in the Netherlands, you are only allowed to drive at a maximum speed of 130 km/h (80 mph) and you can get fined if you drink alcohol in public areas.

This shows that, next to the great cultural differences, both countries are also ruled in different ways.


Do The Dutch Speak German?

In the Netherlands, people don’t speak German, but Dutch. Both languages do share a few similarities and some words can look a lot like each other.

(Click here if you would like to know if Dutch people understand German)

This is because both the Dutch language as the German language is derived from the West-Germanic language. This also includes languages like English, Afrikaans, Frisian, and Yiddish.

This language family finds its origin in the area which is nowadays West Germany. From here, the language has spread to the south and northwest. This is why it also had a big influence on the Dutch and English languages.

Because of the European colonization, the West-Germanic language eventually found its way to many different parts of the world and influenced a lot of modern languages. It is partially because of this that both Dutch and German are spoken in several countries around the globe.

Dutch is an official language in:

  • The Netherlands
  • Belgium
  • Aruba
  • Curaçao
  • Sint Maarten
  • Suriname

German is also being used as an official language in several other countries and has spread widely across the world.

German is an official language in:

  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Luxembourg
  • Italy
  • Liechtenstein
  • Austria
  • Denmark
  • Swiss

As I have mentioned above, people don’t speak German in the Netherlands. However, both languages are spoken by many millions of people worldwide.


Related Questions:

Which Countries are in The Netherlands?

The countries that are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands are:

  • The Netherlands
  • Aruba
  • Curaçao
  • Sint Maarten

What Part of Germany is Closest to Amsterdam?

North Rhine-Westphalia is the part of Germany that is closest to Amsterdam. The great circle distance is 108 km (67 miles) and the shortest route by car is 130 km (80 miles).

What Language is Dutch?

Dutch is the name of the official language of the Netherlands. It is spoken in The Netherlands, Aruba, Belgium, Curaçao, Suriname, and Sint Maarten. Some other countries where they also speak a lot of Dutch are South Afrika and Bonaire.


In this blog, you found out whether or not the Netherlands is part of Germany. Next to that, you now also know that both countries used to be part of the same kingdom many centuries ago. And finally, you now understand the biggest differences between both countries and their cultures.

More about


Written by

Leo van den Berg
As a Dutchman I am extremely proud of the beautiful country in which I live. My goal is to convey my passion and love for the Netherlands to as many people as possible.

Read more articles

Copyright © 2020 – 2024 All Rights Reserved