Bergen aan Zee


Bergen aan Zee is a coastal village in the municipality of Bergen, in the Dutch province of North Holland. The village is located on the North Sea coast and has 335 inhabitants (2020).



The village is quite young; the village was created in 1906 through a vision of large land owner and Lord of Bergen, mayor Jacob van Reenen. There were already a number of houses and farms in the dunes, but it was not on a very large scale. Part of the residence was called Bergen Binnen, on the inside of the dunes at Bergen and another part was already called Bergen aan Zee, which was a starting point for Bergen. More to the coast, the fewer houses and the less agriculture. He foresaw that more agriculture could take place in the dunes.

Mayor's wife Maria van Reenen-Völter also devoted herself to the development of the seaside resort. She published a book in 1904 in which she described the attractiveness of Bergen, especially for artists. In 1905 a cart track through the Berger Bos and the dunes was replaced by a paved access road to the sea; the Zeeweg. The mayor made sure that in 1909 the tram line was extended from Bergen to Bergen aan Zee. A member of the Zeiler family from Baarn saw opportunities for the development of the catering industry in the seaside resort. Thus, by private initiative in 1906, an entirely new village was created, which was given the old name, which already appears in 1848, for the starting point. Exactly on July 28, 1906, the first stone was laid for Café Prins Maurits, which a few years later was operated as Hotel Restaurant Café Prins Maurits; the first hotel in Bergen aan Zee was a fact and more than 100 years later the hotel still exists. In 2006, the 100th anniversary of the village was extensively celebrated.

Colony corner
Shortly after the creation of Bergen aan Zee, in 1908, Het Zeehuis was built on the northeast side of the village, a convalescent home for children of the Burgerweeshuis in Amsterdam. In 1910 the "Coloniegebouw Voor Jong Nederland" followed and in 1912 the Deutsche Ferienkolonie had a house built here as well. After WWII, the German colony house was put into use for returnees from the Dutch East Indies. In 1961, Het Zeehuis was reopened as a nature friends house of what is now Nivon. In 1967 the last pale noses left the third health resort, which has been operated by the Bio-Vacantieoord foundation since 1931. After more than ten years of vacancy, this colony building was squatted and later bought by the squatters. The three former colony houses have been listed buildings since 2001.

Dune fire
On April 14, 2010, a dune fire broke out in the dunes between Schoorl, Bergen and Bergen aan Zee. The northeasterly wind with force 4-5 drove the fire towards Bergen aan Zee and threatened the village. The built-up area was therefore required to be evacuated. The four hundred inhabitants of Bergen aan Zee were housed in the nearby sports center De Beeck. In 2009 there were also several big fires in this neighborhood. These earlier fires were probably started, it is not yet certain whether the April 2010 fire was also started.

Sports and recreation
Bergen aan Zee has grown into a real seaside resort, where not only bathing, but it is also a popular place for surfers and catamaran sailors. Medium and small hotels, apartments and guesthouses are located in the seaside resort. Another major attraction is the Bergen aan Zee Marine Aquarium, which provides a picture of sea inhabitants in and from the Netherlands and the rest of the world. And for the art lover there is a sculpture garden, where various artists from Bergen also exhibit their sculptures.

The dune area around the village is part of the Noordhollands Duinreservaat, managed by PWN Waterleidingbedrijf Noord-Holland and a popular walking area. The European walking route E9, locally also known as the Noordzeepad or Hollands Kustpad, runs through the town. A Dutch long-distance walking route, the Trekvogelpad, also starts right outside Het Zeehuis.