North Holland

Last updated

North Holland

Noord-Holland  (Dutch)
Noard-Hollân  (West Frisian)
Noord-Holland wapen.svg
Coat of arms
Anthem: "Noord-Hollands Volkslied" [1]
(Anthem of North Holland)
Noord-Holland in the Netherlands.svg
Location of North Holland in the Netherlands
North Holland by Sentinel-2.jpg
Coordinates: 52°40′N4°50′E / 52.667°N 4.833°E / 52.667; 4.833 Coordinates: 52°40′N4°50′E / 52.667°N 4.833°E / 52.667; 4.833
Country Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
Established1840 (split-up of Holland)
Capital Haarlem
Largest city Amsterdam
   King's Commissioner Arthur van Dijk (VVD)
  Council States of North Holland
 (2017) [2]
  Total4,092 km2 (1,580 sq mi)
  Land2,662 km2 (1,028 sq mi)
  Water1,430 km2 (550 sq mi)
Area rank 4th
 (1 November 2019) [3]
  Rank 2nd
  Density1,082/km2 (2,800/sq mi)
  Density rank 2nd
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
ISO 3166 code NL-NH
GDP (nominal) [4] 2017
 - Total€159 billion/ USD 200 billion
 - Per capita€56,300/ USD 70,000 [5]
HDI (2017)0.946 [6]
very high · 2nd

North Holland (Dutch : Noord-Hollandpronounced [ˌnoːrt ˈɦɔlɑnt] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ), West Frisian : Noard-Hollân) is a province of the Netherlands located in the northwestern part of the country. It is situated on the North Sea, north of South Holland and Utrecht, and west of Friesland and Flevoland. In November 2019, it had a population of 2,877,909 [7] and a total area of 4,092 km2 (1,580 sq mi), of which 1,430 km2 (550 sq mi) is water.


From the 9th to the 16th century, the area was an integral part of the County of Holland. During this period West Friesland was incorporated. In the 17th and 18th century, the area was part of the province of Holland and commonly known as the Noorderkwartier (English: "Northern Quarter"). In 1840, the province of Holland was split into the two provinces of North Holland and South Holland. In 1855, the Haarlemmermeer was drained and turned into land.

The provincial capital is Haarlem (pop. 161,265 [8] ), the province's largest city and also the largest city in the Netherlands is the Dutch capital Amsterdam, with a population of 862,965 as of November 2019. The King's Commissioner of North Holland is Johan Remkes, serving since 2010. There are 51 municipalities and three (including parts of) water boards in the province. The busiest airport in the Netherlands and Europe's third busiest airport, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, is located in North Holland. [9]


Damrak, Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands (Unsplash 2Hs8zbwOLDA).jpg
Damrak, Amsterdam
Hartekamp, Heemstede Hartekamp-2011.jpg
Hartekamp, Heemstede
Hoorn Binnenstad Hoorn, 1621 Hoorn, Netherlands - panoramio (71).jpg
Zandvoort Boulevard zandvoort.JPG
Government house of North Holland province, Villa Welgelegen, in Haarlem Paviljoen Welgelegen.tif
Government house of North Holland province, Villa Welgelegen, in Haarlem

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 Batavian Republic was established. In the Constitution enacted on 23 April 1798, the old borders were radically changed. The republic was reorganised into eight departments (département) with roughly equal populations. Holland was split up into five departments named "Texel", "Amstel", "Delf", "Schelde en Maas", 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. 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 (area that is now North Holland) and one for the former department of Maasland (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.

Urbanisation and economic growth (1840 to today)

Broek in Waterland Broek in waterland 077.JPG
Broek in Waterland

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. [10] This has been positively received by the First Rutte cabinet, for the desire to create one Randstad province has already been mentioned in the coalition agreement. [11] The province of South Holland, part of the Randstad urban area, visioned to be part of the Randstad province, [12] and very much supportive of the idea of a merger into one province, [13] 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.


Satellite image of the North Holland, Friesland and Flevoland North Holland, Friesland and Flevoland by Sentinel-2.jpg
Satellite image of the North Holland, Friesland and Flevoland
Satellite image of the south of North Holland Amsterdam with North Sea Canal by Sentinel-2.jpg
Satellite image of the south of North Holland

North Holland is situated at 52°40′N4°50′E / 52.667°N 4.833°E / 52.667; 4.833 in the northwest of the Netherlands with to the northeast the province of Friesland, to the east the province of Flevoland, to the southeast the province of Utrecht, to the southwest the province of South Holland, and to the west the North Sea.

North Holland is a broad peninsula for the most part, located between the North Sea, the Wadden Sea, the IJsselmeer, and the Markermeer. More than half of the province consists of reclaimed polder land situated below sea level. The West Frisian islands of Noorderhaaks and Texel are also part of the province.

North Holland makes up a single region of the International Organization for Standardization world region code system, having the code ISO 3166-2:NL-NH.


As of January 2019, North Holland is divided into 47 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.[ citation needed ]

North Holland has five 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, Haarlemmermeer and Alkmaar. Another seven municipalities have a population between 50,000 and 100,000 inhabitants (Hilversum, Amstelveen, Purmerend, Hoorn, Velsen, Den Helder and Heerhugowaard).

On 1 January 2015 the municipalities of Graft-De Rijp and Schermer were merged into the existing municipality of Alkmaar. On 1 January 2019 the municipality Haarlemmerliede en Spaarnwoude was merged into the existing municipality of Haarlemmermeer.

Regions in North Holland

Map of North Holland (2019). Prov-Noord-Holland-OpenTopo.jpg
Map of North Holland (2019).

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 Schotse-Hooglander-NPZK-01.JPG
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 Natuurmonumenten [18] and Staatsbosbeheer , [19] as well as provincial organisation "Landschap Noord-Holland". [20]

Organisations and companies based in North Holland

Several international organisations such as Amnesty International [21] have settled the head office of their Netherlands branch in the province and particularly in Amsterdam; the international head office of Greenpeace is located in the city. [22] Other companies based in the Netherlands' capital include Akzo Nobel, Heineken International, ING Group, ABN AMRO, TomTom, Delta Lloyd Group, and Philips. Randstad Holding has its headquarters in Diemen [23] while KPMG and KLM operate from Amstelveen. [24] [25]

Several national nature friendly organisations like Milieudefensie, the national "Union of vegetarians", [26] the "Vissenbescherming" (Fish protection foundation) [27] and the Party for the Animals as well have their head office in North Holland.

Notable residents

Related Research Articles

Holland Region and former province on the western coast of the Netherlands

Holland is a region and former province on the western coast of the Netherlands. The name Holland is also frequently used informally to refer to the whole of the country of the Netherlands. This usage is commonly accepted in other countries, and sometimes employed by the Dutch themselves. However, some in the Netherlands, particularly those from regions outside Holland, may find it undesirable or misrepresentative to use the term for the whole country.

South Holland Province of the Netherlands

South Holland is a province of the Netherlands with a population of just over 3.7 million as of November 2019 and a population density of about 1,317/km2 (3,410/sq mi), making it the country's most populous province and one of the world's most densely populated areas. Situated on the North Sea in the west of the Netherlands, South Holland covers an area of 3,419 km2 (1,320 sq mi), of which 605 km2 (234 sq mi) is water. It borders North Holland to the north, Utrecht and Gelderland to the east, and North Brabant and Zeeland to the south. The provincial capital is the Dutch seat of government The Hague, while its largest city is Rotterdam. The Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta drains through South Holland into the North Sea. Europe's busiest seaport, the Port of Rotterdam, is located in South Holland.

Flevoland Province of the Netherlands

Flevoland is the 12th and youngest province of the Netherlands, established in 1986, when the southern and eastern Flevopolders were merged into one provincial entity. It is located in the centre of the country, where the former Zuiderzee was. Almost all of the land belonging to Flevoland was reclaimed only in the 1950s and 1960s. The province has a population of 422,202 as of November 2019 and consists of six municipalities. Its capital is Lelystad and most populous city is Almere.

Groningen (province) The northeasternmost province of the Netherlands

Groningen is the northeasternmost province of the Netherlands. It borders on Friesland to the west, Drenthe to the south, the German state of Lower Saxony to the east, and the Wadden Sea to the north. As of November 2019, Groningen had a population of 585,881 and a total area of 2,960 km2 (1,140 sq mi).

Utrecht (province) Province of the Netherlands

Utrecht is a province of the Netherlands. It is located in the centre of the country, bordering the Eemmeer in the north-east, the province of Gelderland in the east and south-east, the province of South Holland in the west and south-west and the province of North Holland in the north-west and north. The province of Utrecht has a population of 1,353,596 as of November 2019. With an area of approximately 1,449 square kilometres (559 sq mi) of which 69 square kilometres (27 sq mi) is water, it is the smallest of the twelve Dutch provinces. Apart from its eponymous capital, major cities in the province are Amersfoort, Houten, Nieuwegein, Veenendaal, IJsselstein and Zeist. The busiest railway station in the Netherlands, Utrecht Centraal, is located in the province of Utrecht.

Zeeland Province of the Netherlands

Zeeland is the westernmost and least populous province of the Netherlands. The province, located in the south-west of the country, borders North Brabant to the east and South Holland to the north, consists of a number of islands and peninsulas and a strip bordering the Flemish provinces of East and West Flanders. Its capital is Middelburg with a population of 48,544 as of November 2019, the largest municipality in Zeeland is Terneuzen Zeeland has two seaports; in Vlissingen and Terneuzen.Its area is 2,934 square kilometres (1,130 sq mi), of which 1,151 square kilometres (440 sq mi) is water, and it has a population of 383,689 as of November 2019.

Drenthe Province of the Netherlands

Drenthe is a province of the Netherlands located in the northeastern part of the country. It is bordered by Overijssel to the south, Friesland to the west, Groningen to the north, and the German state of Lower Saxony to the east. As of November 2019, Drenthe had a population of 493,449 and a total area of 2,680 km2 (1,030 sq mi).

Overijssel Province of the Netherlands

Overijssel is a province of the Netherlands located in the eastern part of the country. The province's name translates to "across the IJssel", from the perspective of the Episcopal principality of Utrecht by which it was held until 1528. The capital city of Overijssel is Zwolle and the largest city is Enschede. The province had a population of 1,162,215 as of November 2019.

Gelderland Province of the Netherlands

Gelderland, also known as Guelders in English, is a province of the Netherlands, located in the central eastern part of the country. With a total area of nearly 5,136 km2 (1,983 sq mi) of which 169 km2 (65 sq mi) is water, it is the largest province of the Netherlands and shares borders with six other provinces and the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Provinces of the Netherlands first-level administrative division in the Netherlands

There are twelve provinces of the Netherlands, representing the administrative layer between the national government and the local municipalities, with responsibility for matters of subnational or regional importance.

Almere City and municipality in Flevoland, Netherlands

Almere is a planned city and municipality in the province of Flevoland, Netherlands, bordering Lelystad and Zeewolde. The municipality of Almere comprises six official areas that are the districts of Almere Stad, Almere Buiten and Almere Pampus, and the boroughs of Almere Haven, Almere Hout and Almere Poort. Four of them feature official district or borough offices. Furthermore, it also comprises the unofficial historic district and neighborhood Oostvaardersdiep, which has an active semi-self-governing community, and the planned district of Almere Oosterwold. Almere is part of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (MRA).

Amstelveen Municipality in North Holland, Netherlands

Amstelveen is a municipality in the province of North Holland, Netherlands with a population of 89,918 (2017). It is a suburban part of the metropolitan area of Amsterdam.

Haarlemmermeer Municipality in North Holland, Netherlands

Haarlemmermeer[ˌɦaːrlɛmərˈmeːr](listen) is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It is a polder, consisting of land reclaimed from water, and the name Haarlemmermeer means Haarlem's Lake, still referring to the body of water from which the region was reclaimed in the 19th century.

Wieringen Former municipality in North Holland, Netherlands

Wieringen is part of the new municipality of Hollands Kroon, established in 2012 in the province of North Holland in the Netherlands. It is a former municipality in this province, with its name appearing in records of the late 9th and early 10th century. From 1200 it was known as an island, also named Wieringen, which was separated by water from the mainland during one of the disastrous storm floods towards the end of the late Middle Ages that changed the coastline. By draining, dikes and landfill from 1924 to 1932, the island was rejoined to the mainland.

Randstad Megalopolis in Netherlands

The Randstad is a megalopolis in the central-western Netherlands consisting primarily of the four largest Dutch cities and their surrounding areas. Among other things, it contains the Port of Rotterdam, and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. With a population of 8.2 million people it is one of the largest metropolitan regions in Europe, comparable in population size to the Milan metropolitan area or the San Francisco Bay Area, and covers an area of approximately 8,287 km2 (3,200 sq mi). With a population density of 1,500/km2 it also is one of the most important and densely populated economic areas in northwestern Europe. It encompasses both the Amsterdam metropolitan area and Rotterdam–The Hague metropolitan area.

The Koninklijke Nederlandse Hockey Bond, also known as KNHB, is the official governing body of field hockey in the Netherlands. It governs both the indoor and outdoor field hockey leagues, as well as the Netherlands national field hockey team and the Netherlands women's national field hockey team.

Amstelland region along the Amstel in the Netherlands

Amstelland is the area along the river Amstel in the Netherlands, beginning in South Holland and running north towards Amsterdam in southern North Holland.

Amsterdam metropolitan area Metropolitan region in Netherlands

The Amsterdam metropolitan area is the city region around the city of Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. It lies in the Noordvleugel of the larger polycentric Randstad metropolitan area and encompasses the city of Amsterdam, the provinces of North Holland and Flevoland, as well as 36 further municipalities within the two provinces, with a total population of over 2.4 million inhabitants.

The Dutch Amateur Radio Emergency Service (DARES), which was founded on 12 May 2004, is a non-profit organization made out of licensed radio amateurs in the Netherlands. DARES participants are able to set up a national, continental or international radio network in case of an emergency situation, like a power outage on a large scale, a flooding, a cyber attack causing severe damage to communication networks, or other emergency situations, where the safety of a large group of people are in danger.


  1. (in Dutch) Noord-Hollands volkslied, Province of North Holland. Retrieved on 19 Januari 2019.
  5. average EUR/ USD ex. rate in 2017
  6. "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  10. (in Dutch) "Drie provincies denken over fusie", NOS , 2011.
  11. (in Dutch) "Randstadprovincies bekijken fusie", RTL Nieuws , 2011.
  12. (in Dutch) Marije Willems, "Randstadprovincies onderzoeken fusie", NRC Handelsblad , 2011.
  13. (in Dutch) "Echte Randstadprovincie is robuuste oplossing" Archived 24 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine , Provincie Zuid-Holland, 2011.
  14. "The ports of IJmuiden; History; Fishing port; The fish auction; Cup port; Seaport Marina". Archived from the original on 18 January 2018. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  15. World Heritage. "Visiting the Kop van Noord-Holland". Wadden Sea World Heritage. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  16. DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: The Netherlands. Penguin. 2011. p. 169. ISBN   9780756684761.
  17. Bertolini, Luca (10 January 2013). "Transitions of Mobility Systems in Urban Regions: A Heuristic Framework". Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning. 15 (2): 141–160. doi:10.1080/1523908X.2012.746182.
  18. "Natuurgebieden in Noord-Holland". Natuurmonumenten.
  19. "Natuurgebieden". Staatsbosbeheer.
  20. "Natuurgebieden".
  21. Amnesty International, Amsterdam address.
  22. Work for Greenpeace, official website.
  23. Randstad address in Diemen.
  24. "Amstelveen hoofdkantoor",
  25. KLM Office, Amstelveen.
  26. Vegetariersbond. "De Vegetariërsbond - Vegetariersbond".
  27. "Vissenbescherming".