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.