Bergen Travel Guide

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A statue of the poet Roland Holst in the center of Bergen

A statue of the poet Roland Holst in the center of Bergen

Vincent Dekker

Bergen is considered to be the artist-town of The Netherlands. Located just a few kilometers from Alkmaar, famous for its cheese market, Bergen is a very green village. Trees outnumber houses in every street, the woods and the dunes are always nearby, just as the typical Dutch polders (former lakes turned into farmland). No wonder Bergen inspired many poets (like the most famous Dutch poet Jani Roland Holst), painters and other artists alike and still does so. If you care for art: every october Bergen has its 'Ten days of art'  (Kunsttiendaagse). These days some hundred local artists open their doors for the public and explain their work. The first half of the twentieth century Bergen painters developed a typical technique which became known as the Bergense School (School from Bergen). For a selection of the best works of the painters from Bergen, go to Museum Kranenburgh.
If you love classical music: every august The International Holland Music Sessions bring the most promising young classical musicians to Bergen for masterclasses. Three weeks in a row there are two or more concerts a day in different locations. Be sure to go to one of them in the Ru├»nekerk, a small church some five centuries old in the very center of Bergen. The town has its own famous  (well, certainly in The Netherlands) composer: Simeon ten Holt, born in 1923 and in april 2005 still very much alive. To hear some of his music, go to and download mp3's. Or much better still: go to a concert where for example Canto Ostinato is being played, a piece for four piano's lasting from two up to four hours, depending on the performers. And every minute is worth wile...
As stated in the beginning, woods and dunes are nearby. It's about an hours walk from Bergen to Bergen aan Zee (Bergen at the Sea). You cross the broadest strecht of dunes The Netherlands have to offer (some 5 kilometers or 3 miles).  Once on the beach, a walk to the south brings you to the old fishers village of Egmond aan Zee. Goning north towards Schoorl you pass by a breach in the dunes where the sea can enter when heavy storms combine with high tide, thereby creating a zone with very special vegetation. From here it takes about 45 minutes to walk back through the dunes to Bergen.



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