World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

North Holland

Article Id: WHEBN0000057161
Reproduction Date:

Title: North Holland  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Miss Nederland, Topklasse, List of museum ships, Haarlem, List of World Heritage Sites in the Netherlands
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

North Holland

North Holland
Province of the Netherlands
Flag of North Holland
Coat of arms of North Holland
Coat of arms
Motto: Ik houd van het groen in je wei!
Anthem: "Ik houd van het groen in je wei!"
Location of Noord-Holland in the Netherlands
Location of Noord-Holland in the Netherlands
Country Netherlands
Established 1840 (split-up of Holland)
Capital Haarlem
Largest city Amsterdam
 • King's Commissioner Johan Remkes (VVD)
 • Total 2,670 km2 (1,030 sq mi)
 • Water 1,421 km2 (549 sq mi)
Area rank 6th
Population (2006)
 • Total 2,606,584
 • Rank 2nd
 • Density 980/km2 (2,500/sq mi)
 • Density rank 2nd
ISO 3166 code NL-NH
Religion (2005) Protestant 8%
Catholic 18%
Muslim 8%
Hindus 1%
Amsterdam Damrak
Hartecamp villa at Heemstede
Alkmaar canal
Boulevard at Zandvoort beach ressort

North Holland (Dutch: Noord-Holland  ( ), West Frisian: Noard-Holland) is a province in the northwest of the Netherlands. It is situated on the North Sea, north of South Holland and Utrecht, and west of Friesland and Flevoland. In 2006, it had a population of 2,606,584 and a total area of 2,683 km2 (1,036 sq mi).

The capital and seat of the provincial government is Haarlem and its largest city is Amsterdam. The King's Commissioner of North Holland is Johan Remkes.


The history of this province can also be found in the articles on its constituent elements (e.g. Amsterdam, Haarlem, West Friesland, etc.) The information here pertains just to North Holland itself.

Before 1795

For most of its history, the modern-day province of North Holland was an integral part of Holland.

From the 9th century to the 16th century, Holland was a county ruled by the counts of Holland. During this period an area known as West Friesland (now part of North Holland) was conquered and integrated into Holland. For centuries afterwards Holland would be officially called "Holland and West Friesland". The people of West Friesland had (and still have) a strong sense of identity as a region within Holland (and later North Holland).

From the 16th century to 1795, Holland was the wealthiest and most important province in the United Provinces in the Dutch Republic. As the richest and most powerful province, Holland dominated the union. During this period a distinction was sometimes made between the "North Quarter" (Noorderkwartier) and the "South Quarter" (Zuiderkwartier), areas that roughly correspond to the two modern provinces.

Emergence of a new province (1795 to 1840)

The province of North Holland as it is today has its origins in the period of French rule from 1795 to 1813. This was a time of bewildering changes to the Dutch system of provinces. In 1795 the old order was swept away and the Texel", "Amstel", "Delf", "Schelde en Maas (fr)", and "Rijn". The first three of these lay within the borders of the old Holland; the latter two were made up of parts of different provinces. In 1801 the old borders were restored when the department of Holland was created. This reorganisation had been short-lived, but it gave birth to the concept of breaking up Holland and making it a less powerful province.

In 1807, Holland was reorganised once again. This time the two departments were called "Amstelland" (corresponding to the modern province of North Holland) and "Maasland" (corresponding to the modern province of South Holland). This also did not last long. In 1810, all the Dutch provinces were integrated into the French Empire. Amstelland and Utrecht were amalgamated as the department of "Zuiderzee" (Zuyderzée in French) and Maasland was renamed "Monden van de Maas" (Bouches-de-la-Meuse in French).

After the defeat of the French in 1813, this organisation remained unchanged for a year or so. When the 1814 Constitution was introduced, the country was reorganised as provinces and regions (landschappen). Zuiderzee and Monden van de Maas were reunited as the province of "Holland". One of the ministers on the constitutional committee (van Maanen) suggested that the old name "Holland and West Friesland" be reintroduced to respect the feelings of the people of that region. This proposal was rejected.

However, the division was not totally reversed. When the province of Holland was re-established in 1814, it was given two governors, one for the former department of Amstelland (i.e. the area that is now North Holland) and one for the former department of Maasland (i.e. now South Holland). Even though the province had been reunited, the two areas were still being treated differently in some ways and the idea of dividing Holland remained alive. (During this reorganisation the islands of Vlieland and Terschelling were returned to Holland and parts of "Hollands Brabant" (including "Land of Altena") went to North Brabant. The borders with Utrecht and Gelderland were definitively set in 1820.)

When the constitutional amendments were introduced in 1840, it was decided to split Holland once again, this time into two provinces called "North Holland" and "South Holland". The need for this was not felt in South Holland or in West Friesland (which feared the dominance of Amsterdam). The impetus came largely from Amsterdam, which still resented the 1838 relocation of the court of appeal to The Hague in South Holland.

1840 to today

After the Haarlemmermeer was drained in 1855 and turned into arable land, it was made part of North Holland. In exchange, South Holland received the greater part of the municipality of Leimuiden in 1864.

In 1942, the islands Vlieland and Terschelling went back to the province of Friesland.

In 1950, the former island Urk was ceded to the province of Overijssel.

In February 2011, North Holland, together with the provinces of Utrecht and Flevoland, showed a desire to investigate the feasibility of a merger between the three provinces.[1] This has been positively received by the Dutch cabinet, for the desire to create one Randstad province has already been mentioned in the coalition agreement.[2] The province of South Holland, part of the Randstad urban area, visioned to be part of the Randstad province,[3] and very much supportive of the idea of a merger into one province,[4] is not named. With or without South Holland, if created, the new province would be the largest in the Netherlands in both area and population.


North Holland is a broad peninsula for the most part, located between the North Sea, Markermeer and the IJsselmeer. More than half of the province consists of reclaimed polder land situated below sea level.

North Holland has four municipalities with 100,000 or more inhabitants. They are, in order of size, Amsterdam (in terms of population this is also the largest municipality in the Netherlands), Haarlem, Zaanstad, and Haarlemmermeer. Another seven municipalities have a population between 50,000 and 100,000 inhabitants (i.e. Hilversum, Amstelveen, Purmerend, Hoorn, Velsen, Alkmaar, and Heerhugowaard.) The island of Texel is also part of North Holland.

North Holland makes up a single region of the ISO 3166-2:NL-NH.


As of January 2013, North Holland is divided into 53 municipalities (local government). After the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, three islands in the Caribbean, Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius, were offered to join the province, though the offer has been neither accepted nor rejected.

Regions in North Holland

Map of North Holland (2013)

North Holland has various regions that, for historical or other reasons, have their own identities. Some of these regions are unofficial, ill-defined and sometimes overlapping. Others are official and are part of regional groupings artificially created for various administrative purposes. These regions are not the same as the municipalities.

List of some of these unofficial and official regions in North Holland:


A Highland in Zuid-Kennemerland National Park

Some of the best known nature reserves in this province are:

More information about nature reserves in North Holland is available (in Dutch) on the relevant site pages of national nature conservation organisations [7]


Several international nature friendly organisations such as Greenpeace and Amnesty International have settled the headoffice of their Netherlands branche in this province and particularly in Amsterdam.

The international headquarters of Greenpeace is also located in Amsterdam.

Several national nature friendly organisations like Milieudefensie, the national "Union of vegetarians",[8] the "Vissenbescherming" (Fish protection foundation)[9] and the Party for the Animals as well have their headoffice in this province.

Notable residents


  1. ^ (Dutch) "Drie provincies denken over fusie", NOS, 2011.
  2. ^ (Dutch) "Randstadprovincies bekijken fusie", RTL Nieuws, 2011.
  3. ^ (Dutch) Marije Willems, "Randstadprovincies onderzoeken fusie", NRC Handelsblad, 2011.
  4. ^ (Dutch) "Echte Randstadprovincie is robuuste oplossing", Provincie Zuid-Holland, 2011.
  5. ^ Nature reserves in North Holland on site Natuurmonumenten
  6. ^ Nature reserves in North Holland on site Staatsbosbeheer
  7. ^ Nature reserves in North Holland on site Landschap Noord-Holland
  8. ^ Home page of the national "Union of vegetarians"
  9. ^ Website "Vissenbescherming"

External links

  • Province of Noord-Holland, official government website
  • Provincial Tourist Board
  • North Holland travel guide from Wikivoyage
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.