Den Helder (Dutch pronunciation: [dɛn ˈɦɛldər] (listen)) is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. Den Helder occupies the northernmost point of the North Holland peninsula. It is home to the country's main naval base. From here the Royal TESO ferryboat service operates the transportation link between Den Helder and the nearby Dutch Wadden island of Texel to the north.
Den Helder water tower in the village
Location in North Holland
|• Body||Municipal council|
|• Mayor||Koen Schuiling (VVD)|
|• Total||178.80 km2 (69.04 sq mi)|
|• Land||45.25 km2 (17.47 sq mi)|
|• Water||133.55 km2 (51.56 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1 m (3 ft)|
|• Density||1,237/km2 (3,200/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
Before the year 1928 the official name of Den Helder was Helder. The origin of the name Helder is not entirely clear. The name Helder may have come from Helle/Helde, which means "hill" or "hilly grounds", or from Helre, which means a sandy ridge. Another explanation is that the name derived from Helsdeur (Hell's Door), likely because in the water between Den Helder and Texel (called Marsdiep) the current was so strong that many ships were lost.
Huisduinen was the original older part of the city, whereas Helder itself was a nearby smaller hamlet. When a harbour was built near Helder the village began to grow and later became the seat of governance instead of Huisduinen. Due to its strategic location at the tip of the North Holland peninsula, multiple fortifications were built in the area.
Den Helder has played an important part in Dutch shipping. During the Dutch Golden Age, ships would be assembled near Den Helder and sail the world's oceans from there.
During the 1820s, the North Holland Canal was dug from Amsterdam to Den Helder. The lighthouse Lange Jaap was built in 1877 and is the tallest cast-iron lighthouse in Europe, at 63.45 meters (208.2 ft). In the Second World War most of the city was evacuated.
The major areas of Den Helder are Old Den Helder, Nieuw-Den Helder, and De Schooten. Nieuw-Den Helder was built in the 1950s, following World War II, when there was a great need for additional housing. De Schooten was constructed in the 1960s.
Dutch Topographic map of Den Helder (town), March 2014.
Den Helder was the site of a naval base as early as the 18th century. An Anglo-Russian invasion force landed at Den Helder in August 1799 and captured the Batavian navy there (see Battle of Castricum). French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, visiting Den Helder in 1811, was impressed with the town's strategic location and ordered the construction of a fort (Kijkduin) and naval dockyards (Willemsoord). The docks were built during the years 1813-1827. In 1947, it officially became the Royal Netherlands Navy's main centre of operations. Den Helder continues to be the navy's main base today. The Royal Netherlands Naval College is also located in the city, as is the Dutch Navy Museum.
The old naval dockyards of Willemsoord, located in the north of the city, now house restaurants, a cinema, and other recreational facilities. The naval docks and administration have been moved to a new location further east.
Geography and climateEdit
Den Helder is on the tip of a lowland peninsula jutting out into the North Sea Because of this, Den Helder's climate is heavily moderated by the maritime environment. Also, Den Helder is the sunniest city in the Netherlands.
|Climate data for Den Helder, Netherlands (1981-2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||13.7
|Average high °C (°F)||5.5
|Daily mean °C (°F)||3.5
|Average low °C (°F)||1.2
|Record low °C (°F)||−18.8
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||66.7
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||64.1||91.2||134.8||194.2||235.2||219.0||228.2||208.2||148.1||114.2||63.1||51.1||1,751.4|
|Source: knmi.nl (Klimaatatlas van Nederland, normaalperiode 1971–2000), ISBN 90-389-1191-2 KNMI|
The town is served by two railway stations:
Den Helder can be reached by these main roads:
These roads all have only two lanes. There is no highway leading to Den Helder.
The municipal council of Den Helder consists of 31 seats, which are divided as follows (as of 2018 elections):
- William Lonsdale (1799-1864), soldier, colonialist, founding administrator of Melbourne, Australia
- Dorus Rijkers (1847-1928), lifeboat captain and folk hero
- Edward W. Bok (1863-1930), Dutch-American editor, Pulitzer Prize winner
- Anton Pieck (1895-1987), painter and graphic artist
- Gré Brouwenstijn (1915-1999), opera singer
- Bram Koopman (1917-2008), politician
- Frans van Anraat (b. 1942), businessman, sold raw materials for the production of chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein
- Gerard 't Hooft (b. 1946), physicist, 1999 Nobel Prize winner
- Rijkman Groenink (b. 1949), banker, CEO of ABN-Amro
- Swen Nater (b. 1950), basketball player
- Ed Nijpels (b. 1950), former minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (1986–1989) and former mayor of Breda
- Paul Rosenmöller (b. 1956), politician and journalist, former leader of the GroenLinks party
- Hans Smits (b. 1956), water polo player
- Marleen Barth (b. 1964), politician, trade union leader and journalist
- Martine Ohr (b. 1964), field hockey striker
- Edith Bosch (b. 1980), Judo world champion and Olympic silver and bronze medalist
- Menno de Jong (b. 1984), trance DJ
- Mark de Vries (b. 1975), Dutch footballer currently playing for Dutch Hoofdklasse club ONS Sneek.
- Chima Onyeike (b. 1975), Dutch football coach and former professional player, currently fitness coach for VfB Stuttgart.
- René Schoof (b.1955), mathematician.
In popular cultureEdit
The Frank Boeijen Groep song Haast (rust roest) contains the line " 's avonds in Den Helder". (English- In the evening in Den Helder)
The Rob de Nijs song Jan Klaassen de Trompetter contains the line "hij marcheerde van Den Helder tot Den Briel". (English- He marched from Den Helder to Den Briel)
Film shot in Den HelderEdit
- 2008: Den Helder, directed by Jorien Van Nes, (entirely shot on location).
- "Samenstelling college" [Members of the board] (in Dutch). Gemeente Den Helder. Archived from the original on 2 March 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
- "Kerncijfers wijken en buurten" [Key figures for neighbourhoods]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
- "Postcodetool for 1784MC". Actueel Hoogtebestand Nederland (in Dutch). Het Waterschapshuis. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
- "Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand" [Population growth; regions per month]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
- Tony Jaques, Dictionary of Battles and Sieges: P-Z, p.1009