Kop van Noord-Holland
The eastern part of Kop van Noord-Holland is known as West Friesland or West Frisia, an area that retains a number of distinctive characteristics. As its name betrays, it has historical links with the province of Friesland on the eastern shore of the IJsselmeer. Its dialect is also closely related to the Frisian language. The region is geographically defined by its enclosure dike, the Westfriese Omringdijk, and covers an area of approximately 780km². It is a predominantly agricultural region, with characteristic bell-shaped farmhouses and typical linear villages. Apart from Hoorn, there are two more towns in the region, Enkhuizen and Medemblik - the latter has remained very small. West-Friesland is one of the areas in the predominantly protestant north of the Netherlands where the Roman Catholic faith remained the most popular religion.
In the area north of Alkmaar and Hoorn the West-Frisian dialect is still spoken by approximately 50,000 people. It retains clear influences of the Frisian language that was once spoken here and can be hard to understand for native Dutch speakers. Like many other dialects in the Netherlands it is developing into a more standardized 'regiolect' that is more distinctive for its pronunciation than for its vocabulary.
There are direct Intercity train connections from Amsterdam to Alkmaar, Hoorn and Den Helder. The area is also easily reached by train from Haarlem.
The area is easy to drive around, with the A7 as the major thoroughfare. Traffic is usually not very dense, but the route from Alkmaar to Den Helder can be a bit slow in the weekends, with the tourists coming to and from Texel having to use a two-lane road.
By public transport
There are two major trainlines in the area, connecting Amsterdam to Den Helder via Alkmaar, and to Enkhuizen via Hoorn. You will have to rely on buses to further explore the area. These are not as frequent as in more densely populated areas in the Netherlands.