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coastal provincie (province), northwestern Netherlands, comprising a peninsula (area 1,030 square miles [2,667 square km]) surrounded by the North Sea (west), the Waddenzee (north), and the IJsselmeer (Lake IJssel; east). It includes the west Frisian island of Texel off its northern tip. The island of Marken in the IJsselmeer has been connected by embankment with the mainland since 1957; the former island of Wieringen, now united after drainage with the mainland, is the starting point of the Afsluitdijk, the 19-mile (31-kilometre) dam that encloses the IJsselmeer and links Noord-Holland and Friesland. The province, drained by the Zaan, Amstel, and Vecht rivers, is mainly low fenland, with dunes, and sea and river clays. Formed by the division (1840) of Holland into North and South, its capital is Haarlem. The province contains Amsterdam, the chief city of The Netherlands.