Cities in the Netherlands

North Sea Region

The Story of Bergen

Known in the 9th century as Bergum, the village most likely got its name from the dunes landscape. The village's central church was - with almost the entire village - burnt down in 1574 to prevent Spanish troops to seek shelter. During the British incursion of 1799, the partly rebuilt church suffered heavy damage again but while a ruin still serves a purpose today, as a church, a concert venue and a tourist attraction. The municipality had 950 inhabitants in 1840 (now 14,000) and includes the resort of Bergen aan Zee. Earlier hamlets - such as Oostdorp, Zanegeest and Wimmenum - have since become part of the town.

In the very early part of the 20th century, Bergen became a painters' haven resulting in the famed Bergen School with artists such as Colnot, Filarski and Wiegman. The art movement attracted other artists as well, among whom famed poet A. Roland Holst. Museum Kranenburgh is dedicated to the art of those who lived and worked in the area.

A resort town, it has all the makings of a major tourist attraction in its core: shaded lanes, outdoor cafes, gourmet restaurants, designer shops, a small game farm and the Bello steam engine of the erstwhile rail link with Alkmaar. Just outside its small core, Bergen is both affluent suburbia and rural, with woods reaching in.

Famous sons: Willem Bogtman (born in 1882) stained glass artist; Edgar Fernhout (1912) painter; Jaap Mooy (1915) painter/sculptor.