Help Wikitravel grow by contributing to an article! Learn how.

Difference between revisions of "North Holland"

From Wikitravel
Jump to: navigation, search
(elaborated on See section)
Line 93: Line 93:
 
==See==
 
==See==
  
===Amsterdam===
 
 
* The lovely canals of [[Amsterdam]] with their characteristic houses.
 
* The lovely canals of [[Amsterdam]] with their characteristic houses.
  
===Defence Line of Amsterdam===
+
===Historic towns===
 +
 
 +
North Holland has dozens of historic town centers that are worth visiting. The most well-known is obviously the historic center of Amsterdam, which is currently undergoing the process of becoming a [[UNESCO World Heritage Site]]. Its traditional architecture and canals known as ''grachten'' demand some pictures to be taken. But there are a lot more of them in the province {{-}} every region of North Holland at least has one town with a historic town center.
 +
 
 +
Many visitors to Amsterdam incorporate a day-trip to [[Alkmaar]] or [[Haarlem]], the largest towns of their respective regions with a historic core. Its a great walk (or cycle) through the romantic narrow streets in Alkmaar, and once a week a traditional cheese market is held. In Haarlem you can visit the '''Great Market''' (''Grote Markt''), a beautiful square in the center of the city. [[Hoorn]] and [[Enkhuizen]] are also beautiful historic towns well worth a visit.
  
 
[[Image:Stelling van Amsterdam the Netherlands.jpg|thumb|300px|Defence Line of Amsterdam]]
 
[[Image:Stelling van Amsterdam the Netherlands.jpg|thumb|300px|Defence Line of Amsterdam]]
  
The Defence Line of Amsterdam (Stelling van Amsterdam) is a 135 km long ring of fortifications around Amsterdam. It consists of 42 forts about 10 to 15 kilometers from the city center. It's surrounded by lowlands, which could easily be flooded in time of war. It was constructed between 1880 and 1920, but the invention of the airplane made the forts obsolete almost as soon as they were finished. It received recognition as a [[UNESCO World Heritage Site]] in 1996.
+
The nearest fortified town from Amsterdam is [[Weesp]] in the [[Gooi and Vecht Region]], which just a 14-minute train ride. It has a quiet historic center on the river Vecht with windmills. From there, it's an easy bicycle ride to [[Muiden]], which is home to the '''Muiderslot''', an amazing 13th-century castle, as well as other medieval remains. Closeby is [[Naarden]], which is also worth a trip as its 17th-century fortifications are among the best preserved in Europe.
  
There is no one place to visit, as the forts and remains are spread all over North-Holland.
+
The Muiderslot is just one of the dozens of pieces that together form the '''Defence Line of Amsterdam''' (''Stelling van Amsterdam''), a 135 km long ring of fortifications around Amsterdam. In total, it consists of 42 forts about 10 to 15 kilometers from the city center. It's surrounded by low polder lands, which could easily be flooded in time of war. It was constructed between 1880 and 1920, but the invention of the airplane made the forts obsolete almost as soon as they were finished. It received recognition as a [[UNESCO World Heritage Site]] in 1996.
  
 
===Traditional Dutch villages===
 
===Traditional Dutch villages===
  
* Visit traditional Dutch villages in the [[Waterland and Zaan Region]].
+
The [[Waterland and Zaan Region]] is home to many traditional Dutch villages with polders, clogs, windmills and traditional Dutch costumes. The most visited attraction in the area is the [[Zaanse Schans]], an open air conservation area and museum on the bank of the river Zaan, about 25 km north of Amsterdam. It displays the traditional architecture of the area (green wooden houses) and has several functioning windmills and craftmen's workplaces, which are open to visitors.
 
+
* The '''[[Zaanse Schans]]'''. It is an open air conservation area and museum, on the bank of the river Zaan, north of Amsterdam in [[Zaandam]] (Zaanstad). It displays the traditional architecture of the area (green wooden houses) and has several functioning windmills and craftmen's workplaces, which are open to visitors.
+
 
+
===Fortified and historic towns===
+
 
+
* Alkmaar, Hoorn, Haarlem
+
 
+
* Medieval castle '''Muiderslot'''. In [[Muiden]], just outside and east of Amsterdam. With 17th Century-style herbal and vegetable gardens. [http://www.muiderslot.nl Website castle] (in Dutch, but a lot of images and video).
+
 
+
* The nearest small fortified town from Amsterdam is [[Weesp]] (14 minutes by train), with a quiet historic centre on the river Vecht and windmills. At the station in Weesp you can rent bicycles for a ride to the fortified towns of [[Muiden]] (3 km) and [[Naarden]] (9 km). Information on day trips in the region on this [http://www.guideholland.com/links.html link page].
+
  
===Other===
+
[[Volendam]] is also very popular, which literally swarmed with visitors during the summer. It still is a traditional fishing village, although tourism took over as the engine behind its economy. Its traditional waterfront line looks picturesque, as are the local fishermen and farmers in their traditional costumes (which many visitors wear for the picture).
  
* The '''Afsluitdijk'''. A 32km long dike connecting [[North-Holland]] and [[Friesland]]. Built in 1930 to close what is now the IJsselmeer from being flooded by the North Sea. The dike was built as part of a plan to reclaim land in the IJsselmeer; this land became the province of [[Flevoland]].
+
Less touristed and thus more authentic Dutch villages surround [[Volendam]]. [[Edam]], which is on walk-distance from Volendam, is home to a cheese market and already feels more authentic. [[Marken]], which used to be an island but is currently connected by a dyke, is well-known for its characteristic wooden houses. Other villages worth visiting include [[Monnickendam]], [[Broek in Waterland]] and [[Ransdorp]], the latter of which is very, ''very'' off the beaten path.
  
* The '''Kazematten Museum'''. The bunkers defending the entrance to the Afsluitdijk were a vital part of Hollands defence plan during the Second World War. Some of the bunkers have been restored, with period-appropriate weapons, equipment and everyday items giving an overview of the soldiers' life inside the bunkers in 1940.
+
If you're interested in Holland's typical polder landscape, you might want to visit the [[Beemster]] reclaimed polder. Its land pattern bears a resemblance to the street pattern in [[Manhattan]], [[New York City]] (except for Broadway). It's been said that the Beemster functioned as a model for the pattern in New York. In 1999 the Beemster polder was placed on the [[UNESCO World Heritage Site|UNESCO World Heritage List]].
* Het '''Monument'''. A small statue of a dike-builder which has been placed on the spot where the dike was closed in 1932. Next to the monument is a plaque, cafe and a watchtower where (because of all the water) you can see the Wadden islands on a bright day.
+
  
* '''Zuiderzeemuseum''' in Enkhuizen.
+
===Museums===
  
* '''Frans Hals Museum''' in [[Haarlem]].
+
North Holland has been a center of history, art and crafts, and many museums are still dedicated to this cultural heritage. The South of [[Amsterdam]] has a neighborhood known as the Museum Quarter, which is home to some of the world's best museums {{-}} the '''Rijksmuseum''', '''Van Gogh Museum'''and '''Stedelijk Museum'''. But other neighborhoods also have museums that are definitely worth the visit. The '''Anne Frank Museum''' stands out, as does the '''Rembrandt House'''.
  
'''Haarlem'''
+
[[Haarlem]] is also home to numerous museums. '''Teylers Museum''' is the oldest museum of the Netherlands home to a very diverse collection of cultural objects, such as fossils, minerals, scientific instruments, medals, coins and paintings (including several works by Michelangelo and Rembrandt). The '''Frans Hals Museum''' is home to more than a dozen paintings of the famous painter Frans Hals. There are three other interesting museums in the city, including the '''Ten Boom Museum''', which is about a hiding place for Jews and other underground refugees during World War II.
* Visit the old city centre of [[Haarlem]], voted best shopping city in the Netherlands.
+
* Haarlem's Great Market is one of the most beautiful in the world.
+
* Visit one of the beaches in [[Bloemendaal]] or [[Zandvoort]].
+
* Go to  the National Park of [[Zuid-Kennemerland]].
+
* Visit the [[Teylersmuseum]], the oldest museum in the Netherlands.
+
  
'''Alkmaar'''
+
[[Hoorn]] and [[Enkhuizen]] both lie north of Amsterdam and in the 17th century were used as port towns for the Dutch East India Company (VOC). Both of these towns lie in West-Friesland, an area with a distinct dialect and culture. The '''Westfries Museum''', that lies on Hoorn's beautiful central square Roode Steen, shows the importance of [[Hoorn]] in 17th-century VOC history. Much larger is the '''Zuiderzee Museum''' in [[Enkhuizen]]. Many old Dutch houses from the 19th and early 20th-century have been moved here in order to preserve them for future generations.
* Walk thru the romantic narrow streets in the city centre of [[Alkmaar]].
+
* Visit the Cheese Market famous all over the world.
+
  
 
==Do==
 
==Do==

Revision as of 15:53, 27 July 2010

For the north of the Netherlands, which is often known as Holland, see Northern Netherlands.

North Holland [1] (Dutch: Noord-Holland) is a province in the West of the Netherlands. It compasses the northern half of the old County of Holland, and is not to be confused with the Northern Netherlands (Friesland, Groningen and Drente). Obviously the city of Amsterdam is the place-to-be for tourists and the economic heart of the area. The Waterland and Zaan Region around it consists of green and flat polder landscapes with thousands of canals, windmills and farm houses, a landscape considered typical for the country. Especially the Zaanse Schans, Volendam, Marken and Edam make for a typical Dutch day-trip, with their clogs, traditional costumes and windmills. Also typical Dutch are its dykes, of which the Afsluitdijk and the Markerwaarddijk connect the province with respectively Friesland and Flevoland.

In the summer, many Dutch tourists head out to the sandy beaches of Kennemerland on the west coast, of which Zandvoort is the most prominent. Another way to take some time off here is in one of the national parks. The historic towns of Haarlem and Alkmaar are popular day-trips among tourists, the latter for its typical Dutch cheese market. The Kop van Noord-Holland is a distinctive area with its own dialect known as West Fries. Many historic trade towns from the Dutch Golden Age can be found here, such as Enkhuizen, Hoorn and Medemblik. Texel is one of the West-Frisian Islands and a great tourist resort. Last but not least, the Gooi and Vecht Region is a great area for cycling through forests and heath lands. Naarden has one of the best preserved fortified towns in the world, while Hilversum places an emphasis on modern architecture and is the city where almost all radio and TV stations and studios are.

Contents

Regions

North-Holland is the northern half of the former County of Holland. It can be divided into 6 historic regions:

Regions of North-Holland
Amsterdam-Amstelland
Famous capital for it's canals, architecture and liberal culture, and the surrounding urban sprawl
Gooi and Vecht Region
Known as the Garden of Amsterdam with plenty of opportunities for cycling
Kennemerland
Dunes, beaches and national parks, as well as some historic towns
Kop van Noord-Holland
This area has a distinct culture and language known as "West Fries"; it is a historical area with the Zuiderzee Museum and VOC history
Texel
The largest of the West Frisian Islands, it is a popular seaside resort in the summer
Waterland and Zaan Region
Traditional Dutch villages, polders, clogs and windmills

Cities

  • Haarlem — capital of North Holland with plenty of tourists visiting its ancient city center, shops and numerous museums
  • Alkmaar — historic town, well-known for its cheese market
  • Amsterdam — the place-to-be for tourists for its architecture, canals, museums, weed, red light district and nightlife
  • Den Helder — mostly visited for it's seaside resorts, beaches and the ferry to Texel
  • Enkhuizen — historic town with a rich history and the Zuiderzee Museum
  • Hilversum — starting point for cycling tours around architectural marvels, forests and the heath
  • Hoorn — historic town from the Dutch Golden Age
  • Zaandam — probably one of the oldest industrial areas in the world, which makes for an unusual day-trip
  • Zandvoort — major beach resort bordered by coastal dunes

Other destinations

  • Beemster — the Beemster polder is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lake reclamation from the 17th century
  • Bergen — calm beach resort with impressive dunes and natural scenery
  • Muiden — enormous 13th-century castle, as well as other medieval remains
  • Marken — a former island, and more authentic than Volendam, it is well-known for its characteristic wooden houses
  • Naarden — its 17th-century fortifications are among the best preserved in Europe
  • Texel — largest of the West Frisian Islands, suited for cycling, walking, swimming and horse riding
  • Volendam — traditional Dutch countryside fishing village with clogs, costumes and windmills
  • Zaanse Schans — very touristic display of Dutch windmills
  • Zuid-Kennemerland National Park — forests, beaches and dunes to hike or cycle around in

Understand

North-Holland is one of the twelve provinces and consists of about 60 municipalities.


Get in

By car

  • The highway E22/A7 passes over the Afsluitdijk from Friesland

By bus

By plane

As it is home to Schiphol Airport, North-Holland is easy to reach by plane.

By train

International train services connect Schiphol/Amsterdam with Germany as well as Belgium/France.

Get around

There is an excellent public transport network throughout the Netherlands and particularly in the highly populated province of North-Holland. Buses and railways criss-cross the region with services reaching all but the most remote villages. Amsterdam also has trams and light railways (metros) [2]. Planning routes across the region (and throughout the country) is exceptionally easy because of the co-operation between the service providers. OV9292 [3] provides a comprehensive point-to-point public transport route planner covering all major transport types.

See

  • The lovely canals of Amsterdam with their characteristic houses.

Historic towns

North Holland has dozens of historic town centers that are worth visiting. The most well-known is obviously the historic center of Amsterdam, which is currently undergoing the process of becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its traditional architecture and canals known as grachten demand some pictures to be taken. But there are a lot more of them in the province — every region of North Holland at least has one town with a historic town center.

Many visitors to Amsterdam incorporate a day-trip to Alkmaar or Haarlem, the largest towns of their respective regions with a historic core. Its a great walk (or cycle) through the romantic narrow streets in Alkmaar, and once a week a traditional cheese market is held. In Haarlem you can visit the Great Market (Grote Markt), a beautiful square in the center of the city. Hoorn and Enkhuizen are also beautiful historic towns well worth a visit.

Defence Line of Amsterdam

The nearest fortified town from Amsterdam is Weesp in the Gooi and Vecht Region, which just a 14-minute train ride. It has a quiet historic center on the river Vecht with windmills. From there, it's an easy bicycle ride to Muiden, which is home to the Muiderslot, an amazing 13th-century castle, as well as other medieval remains. Closeby is Naarden, which is also worth a trip as its 17th-century fortifications are among the best preserved in Europe.

The Muiderslot is just one of the dozens of pieces that together form the Defence Line of Amsterdam (Stelling van Amsterdam), a 135 km long ring of fortifications around Amsterdam. In total, it consists of 42 forts about 10 to 15 kilometers from the city center. It's surrounded by low polder lands, which could easily be flooded in time of war. It was constructed between 1880 and 1920, but the invention of the airplane made the forts obsolete almost as soon as they were finished. It received recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

Traditional Dutch villages

The Waterland and Zaan Region is home to many traditional Dutch villages with polders, clogs, windmills and traditional Dutch costumes. The most visited attraction in the area is the Zaanse Schans, an open air conservation area and museum on the bank of the river Zaan, about 25 km north of Amsterdam. It displays the traditional architecture of the area (green wooden houses) and has several functioning windmills and craftmen's workplaces, which are open to visitors.

Volendam is also very popular, which literally swarmed with visitors during the summer. It still is a traditional fishing village, although tourism took over as the engine behind its economy. Its traditional waterfront line looks picturesque, as are the local fishermen and farmers in their traditional costumes (which many visitors wear for the picture).

Less touristed and thus more authentic Dutch villages surround Volendam. Edam, which is on walk-distance from Volendam, is home to a cheese market and already feels more authentic. Marken, which used to be an island but is currently connected by a dyke, is well-known for its characteristic wooden houses. Other villages worth visiting include Monnickendam, Broek in Waterland and Ransdorp, the latter of which is very, very off the beaten path.

If you're interested in Holland's typical polder landscape, you might want to visit the Beemster reclaimed polder. Its land pattern bears a resemblance to the street pattern in Manhattan, New York City (except for Broadway). It's been said that the Beemster functioned as a model for the pattern in New York. In 1999 the Beemster polder was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Museums

North Holland has been a center of history, art and crafts, and many museums are still dedicated to this cultural heritage. The South of Amsterdam has a neighborhood known as the Museum Quarter, which is home to some of the world's best museums — the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museumand Stedelijk Museum. But other neighborhoods also have museums that are definitely worth the visit. The Anne Frank Museum stands out, as does the Rembrandt House.

Haarlem is also home to numerous museums. Teylers Museum is the oldest museum of the Netherlands home to a very diverse collection of cultural objects, such as fossils, minerals, scientific instruments, medals, coins and paintings (including several works by Michelangelo and Rembrandt). The Frans Hals Museum is home to more than a dozen paintings of the famous painter Frans Hals. There are three other interesting museums in the city, including the Ten Boom Museum, which is about a hiding place for Jews and other underground refugees during World War II.

Hoorn and Enkhuizen both lie north of Amsterdam and in the 17th century were used as port towns for the Dutch East India Company (VOC). Both of these towns lie in West-Friesland, an area with a distinct dialect and culture. The Westfries Museum, that lies on Hoorn's beautiful central square Roode Steen, shows the importance of Hoorn in 17th-century VOC history. Much larger is the Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen. Many old Dutch houses from the 19th and early 20th-century have been moved here in order to preserve them for future generations.

Do

Cycling is a fun activity that many of the locals do daily. Many visitors rent a bicycle and cycle their way through the centre of Amsterdam. There are even bicycle taxis that bring visitors to the place they request, such as one of the museums. Locals generally spend a weekend cycling through the nature of the surrounding areas. If you want to see the typical Dutch polder landscape and picturesque villages, consider a cycling route through Waterland. Hilversum is a good starting point for cycling through the affluent villages, forests and heath of the Gooi and Vecht Region.

The beaches are a fun activity during warm summers. Kennemerland generally has a lot of calm beaches that are very family-friendly. Zandvoort is the busiest one, while Bloemendaal, Bergen and Egmond are calmer options. Many locals go to Texel for a few days to breeze out on its windy beaches.

Water sports can be done at the lakes that North Holland has to offer. The artificial lakes of Wijdemeren, which literally means "Wide Lakes", are a popular destination for this. Aalsmeer is home to the Westeinderplassen, which can also be used for water sports. The lakes are very calm, so activities are limited to renting a rowing boat (don't expect rafting or parasailing of some sort).

Eat

Holland is known for its cheese and North Holland is no exception. Alkmaar and Edam are known for their traditional cheese markets, which give an excellent opportunity to try some Dutch cheese. Edam cheese is among the most widely known brands of cheese and a must-try. Hoorn recently reintroduced their historic cheese market as well.

Restaurants in North Holland are very diverse, but generally there is plenty of choice. As Amsterdam is the city with the most nationalities in the world, this city is filled with ethnic restaurants. There are plenty of Indonesian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Italian, Surinamese, Mexican and Argentinian restaurants in the city, among others. It is also the best place for Dutch restaurants, as they cannot be found elsewhere. Try to avoid tourist traps as they are expensive, not authentic and they have a pretty bad service.

The Gooi and Vecht Region is a popular night out for affluent locals, as it is home to plenty of quality restaurants. Bussum has the best restaurants of that area, while Hilversum has more diverse options. Another affluent town in North Holland is Bloemendaal in Kennemerland. The village of Overveen nearby Bloemendaal is home to two of the best French restaurants of the province. If you're on the island of Texel, Den Burg has plenty of quality restaurants as well.

Drink

If you're looking to dance and party all night long, look no further than Amsterdam. It has plenty of clubs and serves as a hub for the whole province. In other regions, nightlife is less engaging, but generally the largest towns of these regions have some clubs available. Haarlem is the party hub for Kennemerland, Alkmaar for the north and Hilversum for the Gooi and Vecht Region. Due to the media and celebrities living in the Gooi area, Hilversum has a few posh bars and clubs that might be worth visiting.

If you're wondering what to drink: North Holland is beer country. Heineken is one of the largest beer corporations in the world and its brewery has been in the South of Amsterdam for centuries. You can still visit the Heineken Experience museum if you're interested in the history of beer and the province. Another alcoholic drink that has its origins in Amsterdam is Beerenburg, a spirit that throughout history has been more and more associated with the culture of Friesland.

Get out

North Holland has borders with Flevoland, Friesland, South Holland and Utrecht. Typical day-trips outside of the province include:

  • Delft — historic unspoiled town with the world-famous blue and white ceramics
  • Keukenhof — millions of tourists visit these enormous flower fields each Spring
  • Kinderdijk — these windmills show the typical Dutch landscape in all its glory
  • Leiden — historic student city with the country's oldest university and three national museums
  • Rotterdam — modern architecture, good nightlife and the largest port of Europe
  • Schokland — old island evacuated in 1859, a well-preserved ghost village remains
  • The Hague (Den Haag) — seat of government, royal family, judicial capital of the world and Madurodam
  • Urk — a Protestant community that mainly lives off fishery; This was once an island with its own culture, dialect and anthem and belonged to North Holland till 1950
  • Utrecht — historic center, nice antique stores and the Rietveld-Schröder House



This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!

Variants

Actions

Destination Docents

In other languages

other sites