Province of North Holland, The Netherlands
North Holland (in Dutch Noord-Holland) is a part of the Dutch mainland with the islands of Texel and Noorderhaaks, of the Frisian archipelago. Amsterdam is the biggest town of North Holland, but Haarlem is the province capital. The North Holland province is surrounded by water – the North Sea from the West and the Ijsselmeer from the East. The whole province can be visited on one-day trip from Amsterdam, but your route should be planned with the road map because of many canals, which cross the countryside.
North of Amsterdam amazes with wonderful landscape, long patches of grass and water. Old small cities and villages as Edam, Marken, Medemblik, Monnickendam, Naarden, De Rijp, Zaansche Schans, and Volendam are impressing visitor with their unchanged for centuries architecture and quiet, relaxed atmosphere. Some of these places became partly a museum themselves, but they are still economically active and vibrant with life.
Bigger cities like Haarlem, Hoorn and Alkmaar are worthy a one-day visit. Each of them is full of interesting sights, events, old architecture, museums. Alkmaar is a capital of cheese and the cheese market is traditional tourist attraction. Haarlem has a very interesting center and a very good museum. Hoorn is an old city, a harbour at the Ijselmeer. It is here that an explorer Willem Corneliszoon Schouten was born. In 1616, he sailed around the America’s most Southern cape naming it Cape Horn.
North Holland with its long stretch of the North Sea coast is a province of great sand beaches on almost whole length of its coast, and the country of windmills – you may find several of them at Panache Scans and more scattered all over the province.
At the very North of the province lays West Fries land, which is an attraction on its own with small villages like Abbekerk, Enkhuizen, Twisk which did not change much from the Dutch Golden Age (1584-1702).
Satellite cities close to Amsterdam are elegant, residential, quiet – today almost all are connected with Amsterdam in one huge metropolis: Amstelveen to the South and up to 35km to the East - Bussum, Bloemendal, Laren, and Hilversum.
To the South of Amsterdam there is Schiphol - a huge international airport, one of the biggest in Europe which creates the whole area of the economical boom with quickly growing places like Hoofddorp, Heemstede, Aalsmeer.