The Northern Netherlandsis the most rural and unexplored area of the country.
Outside settlements, Friesland and Groningen mostly consist of meadows and arable land. Also, they are great areas for water-based activities such as sailing. Drenthe is a little different in that it also boasts large forests and more hilly terrain. Finally, the West Frisian Islands have a character all of their own.
Life is generally lived at a somewhat slower pace than in the west. Drenthe in particular is popular with people looking to move to a more quiet area after their retirement. Conversely, many young people leave the region looking for work.
North Holland is great for bike tours with its web of butter smooth bicycle paths connecting every inhabited spot on the map. Often about 3-4m alongside the roads separated from them by old trees.
Especially the countryside is one of the safest parts of the Netherlands, but drug and alcohol abuse is somewhat more common here than elsewhere and is frequently the cause of deadly traffic accidents, particularly during the weekend.