Information and Tourism
If you have a mental image that the Netherlands is a land crisscrossed by canals, with a dike at every turn and acres of fields dotted with black-and-white cows or bristling with flower blooms, then North Holland will certainly serve to confirm this image.
Many of the colourful flower-covered fields of the Bollenstreek - better known as the Dutch 'Bulb Fields', can be found in North Holland, mainly around the Haarlem and Petten areas. They certainly add a spectacular edge when visiting this region in the springtime.
More than half of North Holland sits on land that has been reclaimed from the sea and is surrounded by a monumentally long 'Afsluitdijk' or 'enclosing dike'. At the waters' edge are the dunes of the Zwanenwater Nature Reserve, and mile upon mile of beaches.
The canals are a great way of getting around the region, whether by kayak or narrowboat, or as a passenger aboard a cruise on the North Holland Canal, where you've got time to admire quaint villages and Dutch windmills as you drift by. No visit to the region of North Holland would be complete without stopping off at the medieval town of Edam, famed for its cheese.
The busy city of Amsterdam, the venue for many a city weekend break, is a far cry from all that rural tranquility. That said, it is the perfect place to amble, whether by bike or boat. Pick up a hire bike and you can enjoy the fact that two wheels are definitely good in this easy going city. Alternatively, take to the water on a boat and, without any fuss or bother, you can watch as the city's 17th-century architecture unfolds around you.
If you weren't particularly interested in art when you arrived in Amsterdam, you may well find that you have acquired a new-found fascination. Amsterdam has more masterpieces than you could hope to cover in one go, from the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum to the popular Hermitage Amsterdam attraction.
North Holland Information and Fast Facts
- Country: The Netherlands
- Main administrative centre: Haarlem
- Biggest city: Amsterdam
- Population: approximately 2.8 million
- Language: Dutch
- Area: 1,030 square miles / 2,668 square kilometres
Map of the Netherlands