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Nature

Bergen aan Zee: beaches and art

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The seaside resort of Bergen aan Zee, in the province of North Holland, attracts thousands of tourists all year round. Many of them love Bergen aan Zee because of its beaches, others want to enjoy the nature, and even more come because of the artistic atmosphere. Bergen aan Zee is an attractive vacation destination all year round.

  • Bergen aan Zee, located in the district of Bergen, is an attractive seaside resort with a lovely beach.
  • Visit an arts and crafts market in Bergen in the summer months.
  • Explore Holland's highest and widest dunes in the north of Bergen aan Zee on foot or by bicycle.

Bergen: artists' village and resort

Bergen consists of two districts: Bergen and the village of Bergen aan Zee, a village by the sea, 3 km away. Bergen is therefore the perfect combination for anyone who wants to combine beach live with culture, swimming with excursions, nature with sightseeing.

Near Bergen aan Zee lies Egmond aan Zee another resort in the district of Bergen. This district is part of Zuid-Kennemerland National Park and north of Bergen, you'll also find Schoorl with its attractive dunes.

Notable art in Bergen

Bergen has been an artists' village since the beginning of 1900. Charley Toorop is an example of Bergen's internationally famous artists. The many artists were attracted by the peace and wide open spaces, and the marvelous location of Bergen at the edge of the dunes and in the heart of nature. They were able to gain inspiration from this. The resulting art movement is known as 'de Bergense School' (the Bergen School). You can gaze upon these works in the Kranenburgh Museum (Hoflaan 26, Bergen).

Like always, arts and crafts markets can be visited in the summer months. In October, Bergen celebrates the Kunst10daagse every year. Over 250 artists display their wares in various places throughout Bergen: painters, sculptors, photographers, engravers and ceramicists.

Another museum in Bergen is Het Sterkenhuis (Oude Prinsweg 21), which shows how people lived around 1900 in an old farmhouse - using originally established rooms, clothing, utensils and furniture. By contrast, you'll find modern art in the many galleries in the village of Bergen, e.g. in The Obsession of Art (Molenstraat 3) or in the Galerie Pi (Oosterweg 18).

More sightseeing in Bergen and Bergen aan Zee

One of the most notable sights in Bergen is the ruined church, which stands in the middle of the village. It was destroyed in the 16th and 18th centuries, meaning that only part of the church is still around today, and only the remains of its outside walls are proof of its original size. A mystic view! Various cafes, restaurants and stylish boutiques are dotted around the church square. Fireworks evenings and art markets are held here in summer (Thursday evening in July and August). 

A visit to the Sea Aquarium (Zee Aquarium, Van der Wijckplein 16, Bergen aan Zee), where you can walk under the skeleton of a sperm whale or visit Selma the seal, is particularly recommended for families with children. You can also see over 300 different species there, including piranhas, seahorses, starfish, anemones, and rays - you can even stroke the latter!

Activities around Bergen

You certainly shouldn't miss out on a lovely walk or Cycling tour through the dunes when you visit Bergen aan Zee. Bergen aan Zee has the highest and widest dunes in Holland (called the Schoorlse Duinen), with special flora and fauna. The 5,300 hectare Noordhollands Duinreservaat invites you to cycle or walk around. Special feature: the nature reserve is also accessible for people with wheelchairs or mobility scooters.

If you want to take your four-legged friend on vacation to Bergen aan Zee, you can go for long walks on the beach in the winter months. Between May and October, dogs need to be on a leash on the beach between 10 am and 7 pm. Dogs are also welcome in the large wooded area, Bergerbos, in the Noordhollands Duinreservaat; they must only be kept on a leash in the breeding season between March 15 and June 15.

© Regio VVV Hart van Noord-Holland

Where are good places to eat in Bergen aan Zee?

On the beach, you'll find the lovely beach pavilion SB Noord (address: C.F. Zeiler Boulevard 3, Bergen aan Zee) with its own unique character! The menu is a diverse one, with attractive traditionally farmed products from the region. If you fancy the wooded surroundings of Bergen, the restaurant Bergen Binnen (address: Breelaan 130, Bergen) is definitely recommended. A lovely warm interior with an attractive menu.

Restaurant tip from the editor: As a real typical Dutch treat, make sure you don't miss out on the Poffertjes at Duinvermaak (address: Breelaan 132, Bergen)!

How do you get to Bergen?

Bergen has no train links; visitors should take the bus from Alkmaar Station, which will get you into the village of Bergen in a quarter of an hour. The bus ride from Bergen to the coastal area of Bergen aan Zee also lasts a quarter of an hour. If you're traveling in your own car, bear in mind that you will have to pay parking fees from March to October). Good news for all sun worshipers: there are (paid) parking spaces in the direct vicinity of the beach.

Interesting destinations for trips

Only 10 km away from Bergen aan Zee lies the lovely cheese town of Alkmaar, where you can always visit the world-famous cheese market on a Friday in the summer months. Further south, you'll find the historic city of Haarlem, which represents a typically Dutch small town - with canals and drawbridges, windmills and a marketplace. Would you rather head towards the sea? Then you'll like the seaside resorts of Egmond aan Zee, Zandvoort and Julianadorp, surrounded by dunes and tulip fields. At the Netherlands' largest lake, IJsselmeer lake, you'll find the picturesque little towns of Hoorn and Enkhuizen, which attract visitors with idyllic harbors and plenty of water sports opportunities. 

Staying in Bergen aan Zee

Between the village of Bergen and the resort of Bergen aan Zee, you'll find several vacation homes and vacation apartment in green, which offer the best of both worlds: Closeness to the beach, and sightseeing and shopping opportunities. If you want to stay directly by the sea, with a view of the North Sea, you can put yourself up in a beach hotel.

© Sabrina Schlich
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