The back country is populated by many farmers, well off Amsterdammers and pop stars. The village centers are mostly hundreds of years older than the center of Amsterdam, and are known to be conservative and tradtional. The best way to get introduced to this area is by skating. If you’re lucky, there’s ice on the canals and it’s hazy. You won’t know if it’s the 21st or the 16th Century you’re skating through. After a few days of frost the ice becomes thick enough for a few daredevils to join the swans and ducks as the first to venture on the ice. If the frost persists, practically everyone gets the spirit, and you can witness an exceptional (mate) of togetherness. Skating fanatics lay down rubber mats, making the many bridges easier to cross, and hot cocoa is handed out. In summer you can take the same tour by boat.
Waterland, Monnickendam and Marken
If you want to escape the urban bustle of Noord, the area northward from Noord has a lot to offer. Countless walking and biking trails are indicated in Waterland. You can go out on a small motor boat or canoe, and sailing is possible in the neighboring IJsselmeer.