Noord-Holland is an extraordinary changeable province: a vast peat- and polder scenery between the North Sea and the former Zuiderzee, a piece of Wadden Sea and real Frisian Island: Texel. Along the North Sea coast we find relatively quiet beaches and dunes, with relatively small seaside resorts in between, among them are very charming ones just like the old fishing village Egmond aan Zee.
Noord-Holland is an area of big contrasts. Behind the dunes we find a multi-coloured variety of cultural landscapes: peat-meadowland, polders and land reclamation areas full of ditches and windmills. At the upper part of Noord-Holland a new ‘bulb area’ has been developed, even more elaborate than the traditional bulb area south to Haarlem.
In Zuid-Kennemerland the age-old barrier beach landscape has been kept relatively well. In the central eastern part of the province there is a vast complex of peat meadows and polders, including the area of Waterland, a land reclamation area with legakkers (strips of land at which the peat was laid to dry) rich in old windmills, meadows and dairy cows.
Noord-Holland also has marvellous and particularly different nature reserves, among them are the Wadden Sea and the Naarden lake, but also the moors and woods of the Gooische nature reserve. Meadow landscape like the Eilandspolder is including a meadow bird reserve with among others the rare snipe and the brawler.
Amsterdam is nearly the biggest tourist tempter of the province. Annual about five million of tourists are staying in the city, of which the largest part is coming from abroad. They make it there mostly because of the typical Amsterdam atmosphere, the monuments and the museums.
Historical walking towns
Besides are ‘Dutch’ destinations like the Zaanse Schans, Volendam and Marken also popular with foreign tourists. Noord-Holland don’t have a shortage at historical walking towns. Edam, Hoorn, Enkhuizen and Medemblik along the Lake Ijssel coast are highly to be recommended. Bigger but not less interesting are the inner cities of Alkmaar and Haarlem, which is the capital of the province. The entire inner city of Haarlem has a historical charisma and offers besides top museums as the Teylers Museum and the Frans Hals Museum.
But also the holiday makers and tourists are getting their way. The coastline of the mainland is about 70 km long and attracts numerous beach lovers at sunny days. The woods behind the coast are mainly in vogue with walkers and bicylists. Top-class for nature lovers are the wet nature reserves in the heart of the province and the national parks nearby Haarlem and at Texel. This Frisian island also persuades due to the typical island atmosphere.
Volendam & Marken
The historical fishermanvillages Volendam and Marken are mostly famous for their characteristic, wooden houses, aquatics, traditional garments and fresh fish. These villages are situated on the former South Sea (Now the IJsselmeer), where they have stood the test of time for centuries. The charming houses, winding water ways and drawbridges evoke a sense of nostalgic romance.
Volendam used to be a wealthy Dutch fishermenvillage. However, when the South Sea was closed down in 1932 the fishing boats could no longer reach the sea. Nowadays Volendam has made its own historic theme park out of the city. The local population still wears the traditional clothing from their fishing days and will happily pose for a picture with you dressed in the same garments.
The Zaanse Schans is a scenic, inhabited township on the river Zaan. A newly built museum village, with one small anomaly compared to regular museums: it is inhabited by real people. There are characteristic, wooden houses and windmills from the 17th and 18th century as well as shops, restaurants, a wooden shoe factory, a cheese factory and a tin workshop.
On the horizon you can see seven beautiful windmills. Some of the windmills may be visited. The Zaan area was famous for its windmills that produced paint, flour and woodworking. You can also buy mustard produced by one of the local windmills.
Amidst the gables, mostly green with white decorations, you’ll find an old Albert Heijn greengrocer and a cheese house. Boat tours across the river Zaan will offer a different perspective of the village. Some places worth visiting include the Czaar Peter House in Zaandam, the Mill Museum in Koog aan de Zaan and the industrial heritage on the banks of the river Zaan.
Alkmaar is a beautiful, historical city in the province of North-Holland. The city center is magical a magical place where you’ll discover canals and mansions. The city of Alkmaar was established in 939 and is famous for its cheese products. Every year, from April to September, it hosts a world famous cheese market where you can witness the traditional weighing and bidding on cheese.
Haarlem was established in 1245 and is older than Amsterdam. Because of its convenient location, the city soon flourished. Not much has changed to Haarlemstreetscape since then. Italso a perfect city for visitors who love to shop; you’ll find brand-name stores, boutiques and antique stores.