Cities in the Netherlands

North Sea Region

The Story of Heemskerk

The village was heavily damaged by Spanish troops in 1573, who also torched the church. Only the belltower survived and around it, a new church was built in the 17th century. The municipality now has 36,000 inhabitants; only 885 in 1840, when it included the separate hamlets and villages Hoogdorperbuurt, Oosterbuurt, Heemskerkerduin and Noorddorp.

It was known in the 11th century as Hemesenkirica, meaning 'the church of the hamlet.' In later years, a local hill - Schepelenberg - was used by the Counts of Holland to acknowledge tribute after their inaugurations.

The local Castle Assumburg dates from the end of the 13th century and went through a series of extensive renovations since, the last one in 1911. Although impressive and massive-looking, its walls are thin and the castle could not have had any kind of defensive importance. Another local castle - Marquette Manor - in its present form dates from the 18th century but was originally a 13th century fortified farmstead.

Famous son: Maarten van Heemskerck (1498) painter.