The origins of Zandvoort

More than 1900 years ago, the sea level was lower than it is today. Along the coast, on the wide stretches of sand, the wind was unrestricted, and the dunes were created by wind-blown sand. The dunes were young in historical terms, as compared with the ancient beach embankments to be found today a few kilometres further inland, and on which the initial habitations were built. These include Haarlem, Santpoort and Velsen. Broadly speaking, this strip of old dunes runs between The Hague and Haarlem. At many locations, it has today been excavated for bulb growing. On the excavated dune escarpments, magnificent country estates such as Beeckestijn and Elswout were subsequently established. Along the coastline, where Zandvoort is located, a small number of fisherfolk quickly established settlements in the new area of dunes. They had a clear reason for selecting this location. Here, the young line of dunes was interrupted, and from the beach, there was access to the inner line of dunes located on a lower level. Surrounded by this dune landscape, then, the village of Sandevoerde was established around 1100. Protected and safe from stormy weather, part of the centre today still lies in the basin where the town once started