North Holland (Dutch: Noord-Holland, , West Frisian: Noard-Holland)
is a province situated
on the North
Sea in the northwest part of the Netherlands. The provincial capital is Haarlem and its
largest city is Amsterdam.
Holland is a broad peninsula between the North Sea and the IJsselmeer.
More than half of the province consists of
land situated below sea
Holland's major cities and towns are Amsterdam, Haarlem, Hilversum, Den
Helder, Alkmaar, Zaandam and Hoorn.
of Texel is also part
of North Holland.
North Holland has also invited Bonaire,
Saba and St. Eustatius in the Netherland Antilles to become part of
their state. No decision has been reached as of yet.
North Holland makes up a single region of the International
Organization for Standardization
world region code system,
having the code ISO
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.
of its history, the modern-day province of North Holland was an
integral part of Holland.
9th century to the 16th century, Holland was a county
ruled by the counts of
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
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"
) and the
"South Quarter" (Zuiderkwartier
), areas that roughly
correspond to the two modern provinces.
The 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
) 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
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
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
). 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
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.
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
Hague in South Holland.
1840 to today
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.
the islands Vlieland and Terschelling went back to the province of Friesland.
the former island Urk was ceded to
the province of Overijssel.
As of January 2009, North Holland is divided into 60 municipalities
) plus 3 future
municipalities that have been offered annexation into the province.
These 60 municipalities (plus the 3 future municipalities)
Municipalities marked with an asterisk (*)
are located in West Friesland
Regions in North Holland
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
Friesland has an identity of its own. In the list of
municipalities above, the municipalities marked with an asterisk
(*) are municipalities located in West
Friesland is a region that is part of North Holland (not of
the province of Friesland).
consists of the municipalities Alkmaar, Andijk, Drechterland, Enkhuizen, Harenkarspel, Heerhugowaard, Hoorn, Koggenland, Langedijk, Medemblik, Niedorp, Opmeer, Schagen, Stede
Broec and Wervershoof.