The four major cities in the Netherlands, i.e. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht belong to the Randstad. What is the English translation for the Dutch word Randstad? I have found downtown but I wonder whether this is the correct translation.

closed as off-topic by Janus Bahs Jacquet, Jim, curiousdannii, jimm101, Helmar Oct 18 '16 at 8:41

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    From the third paragraph on the Wikipedia article: »Although the name Randstad is often translated into English as "edge city" or "border city", a more accurate translation would be "rim city" […] coined by […] Plesman who […] used it to describe a strip of cities at the rim of a large green agricultural area (the Green Heart). While technically more of a crescent (the southeastern edge of the rim is significantly less populated), the ring shape formed by connecting the four major cities of the region led to the use of the name "Ring City".« – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 16 '16 at 19:40
  • 5
    I would think that Randstad would be the most appropriate term. – Hot Licks Oct 16 '16 at 19:45
  • I would keep Randstad as well. But, to avoid repetitions, you may refer to "conurbation" (or "urban community"). – Graffito Oct 16 '16 at 20:34
  • 1
    @HotLicks and Graffito: I think the question is about a translation of what the name means, since it says “the Dutch word Randstad”, rather than “the Dutch name Randstad”. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 16 '16 at 22:01
  • The US census might call in "the greater metropolitan area of Amsterdam." – Michael Owen Sartin Oct 17 '16 at 2:04

The uncapitalised randstad is not a Dutch word.* However, because rand (edge) and stad (city) are Dutch words, natural (also given what the Randstad is) 'translations' of the Dutch name Randstad would be Ring City, Rim City, City on the Edge.

Of these, Ring City certainly looks the most appropriate. And, like here, it may be good to put it between inverted commas:

According to this definition the Randstad - the ‘Ring City’ embracing Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht - is not a European metropolis in the sense that Paris and London are.

The use of the inverted commas indicates that Ring City is not the real name, but rather a translation of sorts of Randstad.

If used enough over the next couple of hundred years, Ring City (without the inverted commas) could become the English version of the name Randstad, not unlike Cologne is the English (and French) version of the German name Köln.

NB: Observe that the Dutch usually speak of de Randstad. However, unlike Den Haag, the de is not part of the name. Which would give the `Ring City' in English.

*In the sense that it is not in the dictionary. However randstad may be used (by combining rand + stad) when it means randgemeente (suburb). However, I've never seen it used as such and it would mean something different as it would be a place bordering a bigger city (which is not the case for the Randstad, which sort-of goes around the relatively thinly populated Green Heart area).

  • 1
    What is or isn't a word is a bit of a Pandora’s box to get into, but I'd say randstad quite squarely meets the criteria for being one in Dutch. It's regularly formed, it's instantly understandable, and it's actually used, even if only as a proper noun. It may not be included in Dutch dictionaries, but that doesn't mean it's not a word. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 17 '16 at 7:08
  • @JanusBahsJacquet I added some stuff in. Perhaps you agree. – We oath to creation Oct 17 '16 at 15:15

Inspired by the Baltimore-Washington corridor:

the Dutch metropolitan corridor

(It just happens to be ring-shaped.)

There's also megalopolis.

Minneapolis-St. Paul are the twin cities. Perhaps your four cities could be the quadruplet cities.

If the context is clear, you could call it the doughnut. The four cities could be called the doughnut cities.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.