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Castricum reveals over twenty centuries of history
More evidence of early development in North Sea resort
Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill
CASTRICUM, the Netherlands - It already was known that the Noord-Holland seaside village of Castricum - between seaport IJmuiden and beach resort Bergen - had existed since the Roman Era. Recently dug-up evidence supports the claim that the village’s history is older still. Archeologists now contend that the area was inhabited during the Iron Age, which started around 750 B.C. and ended with the arrival in the Lowlands of the Romans about 2,000 years ago.
The archeological dig took place in the centre of town near the church, which itself has Romanesque and early Middle Ages history. The evidence mostly is gleaned from discolorations in the soil and remnants of stakes and piles, indicative of early wooden dwellings, sheds and cultivated land. Other finds at the Castricum dig are from later centuries and include pottery shards and wooden wells dug in Roman times and the early Middle Ages. A few other pottery shards have been dated back to 2,100 years ago.
Earlier research in and around the centre of town also had revealed traces of local settlements built a few centuries before the arrival of the Romans. It was known in the 10th century as Castrichem (from the Latin word for ‘the settlement in the field’), further evidence that the village had existed during the Roman era. In the early times, its villagers often were at odds with their neighbours (such as those of Egmond) over ill-planned sea dikes built by each to divert the sea and keep arable land in each territory from flooding. Castricum’s sandy soil was well suited to grow potatoes and in later years flowering bulbs. The area in the 18th century housed a manor estate (Kronenburg).
The village was home to some 230 inhabitants in 1840, the municipality which includes the village of Bakkum now has 23,000. Earlier area hamlets bore such names as Duinzijde, Schulpstet, Noordend and Oosterbuurt.
After 1920, Castricum also emerged as a seaside resort and the site of many campings and summer cottages, and convelesance homes. At the beach, summer pavillions and other amenities for the growing number of tourists created a virtual resort which soon adopted the grand name of Castricum on the Sea, now an established village in its own right.
In October 1799, Castricum became a battleground when the French-Dutch army commanded by Marshall Brune defeated invading English-Russian forces led by General Abercrombie.
During World War II, the German command forcibly evacuated some 6,000 villagers and had 300 homes demolished to make way for Atlantikwall bunkers. The old, mostly 12th century church was spared however.