Cities in the Netherlands

North Sea Region

The Story of Huisduinen

The northernmost mainland Noordzee resort is close enough to Den Helder to be a part of it. Huisduinen had about 55 homes in 1840 and 327 inhabitants. In 1975 it had nearly double that: 593 people called Huisduinen home. It is by far the oldest of the two and already was mentioned in regional annals of 886. Then located on an island in the ever-changing coastline, it triggered the building of a satellite village in the 1500s: Den Helder, which itself relocated a number of times until new dikes alleviated flooding danger around 1775. Huisduinen's lighthouse is known as Lange Jaap and just south of the dunes, the first kilometre marker starts the row along the North Sea coastline. Fort Kijkduin and its Marine Aquarium are 'bad weather' tourist attractions.

Nearby Den Helder is the traditional home of the Dutch Navy. In the 18th century it thrived on whale hunting and by the end of the century it also had become the favourite shelter of the Navy, made permanent in 1827 with the building of the Willemsoord navy camp. The town - made into a fortress during the Napoleonic era - lost its Navy importance with the opening of the North Sea Canal (IJmuiden-Amsterdam). After 1945 it again became an important Navy and a NATO port. Largely destroyed and razed during WWII, Den Helder became a ghost town, devoid of inhabitants. Since, Den Helder has been rebuilt as a modern city. Urban attractions include a number of museums, such as the Doll Museum, the Search-and-Rescue Museum Dorus Rijkers and a restored Russian submarine.