Zandvoort, beach resort
Over 1900 years ago the so-called recent dunes were formed by enormous sand drifts. A small number of fishermen settled in the part of the coastal dunes where the range of dunes was broken and gave entry to the low-lying old dunes. Here the village of Sandevoerde or Zandvoort developed around the year 1100.
Originally, Zandvoort was always a fishing village, which numbered merely 700 inhabitants at the beginning of the 19th Century. From then on, however, Zandvoort increasingly became a seaside resort. Fishing no longer plays a role now.
That Zandvoort became popular as a resort is thanks to the fact that "sea therapy" became increasingly more important in the past century. People were sent to the seaside to recover from illness. Villas and pensions were built, and in 1887 an electric tram began to ride - the first in the Netherlands. Alas, this was quickly discontinued, but later a tram from Zandvoort to Haarlem was established, and even later this line was continued through to Amsterdam. Thanks to this tramline, more and more visitors came to the resort.
Zandvoort was a real family seaside resort up until the outbreak of the First World War. Entire familes lodged here and stayed for a whole season as well. A stay of three months was normal, and four months was not unusual too. That is why most guests had their own house, and after 1920 people began to stay the winter. Zandvoort Beach was also popular with foreign royal families.
The Second World War caused a sudden reversal in Zandvoort: on the 23rd May 1942 access to the beach was forbidden, and a few months later the village had to be evacuated. Only a small group was allowed to remain living in a restricted area. In the period which followed, all bathing hotels, pensions, boulevards and a large number of the houses were demolished. All the sanitary fixtures, electric wiring and suchlike were removed from the remaining houses.
After the Second World War finished in 1945 Zandvoort rapidly took on it's role as the major resort for those families living in the capitol Amsterdam. The railway service to the station almost near the sea developed further and was a major contributor to the development of the city.
Well-known as an important seaside resort, Zandvoort is also famous for the circuit and the casino.