IJmuiden by the Sea
Introduction to Velsen/IJmuiden
The sluices, piers and harbours around the North Sea Canal mark IJmuiden as a dynamic port town for the fish and steel industries. Interesting places to visit include the old fishing port with its seafood restaurants, and the modern local marina, Marina Seaport IJmuiden.
Near the fishing port on Halkade, old warehouses are currently being converted into shops, fishmongers and seafood restaurants.
With its ideal seaside location, Velsen/IJmuiden aan Zee combines the tranquillity of the wide beaches and sand dunes with the bustle of the ports, the immense sluices, and industrial activity. Velsen/IJmuiden aan Zee is best known for its fishing port, the steel company Tata Steel, and the beautifully illuminated skyline by night. However, there is more to Velsen: it is also a diverse municipality rich in beautiful historical sites such as the country estates with their parks, Forteiland, the Bunkermuseum (Bunker Museum), the village of Oud Velsen and the Ruïne van Brederode (Brederode Ruins). It is also a wonderful place for hiking, inline skating and kick scooter and bicycle tours in Zuid-Kennemerland National Park and the Spaarnwoude Recreation Ground.
History of Velsen
The municipality of Velsen originated from the village of Velsen, which was once an agricultural community and was split in two after the construction of the North Sea Canal in 1876. The lagoon area – formed by beach ridges and coastal lakes – was already inhabited during the early Bronze Age. There are traces of Roman occupation in the area in the form of a port on the Wijkermeer lake.
A tour of the area quickly reveals that Velsen was once attractive from a strategic perspective. During the Middle Ages, Kasteel Brederode (Brederode Castle) was already located on a major trade route, and the IJmuider Fort on Forteiland guarded the sluices of the North Sea Canal. Since 1875, it has been part of the Stelling van Amsterdam (Defence Line of Amsterdam), currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In World War II, the German occupiers built a bunker line in this area.