Den Helder
Den Helder is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, in the province of North Holland
North Holland
North Holland |West Frisian]]: Noard-Holland) is a province situated on the North Sea in the northwest part of the Netherlands. The provincial capital is Haarlem and its largest city is Amsterdam.-Geography:...

. Den Helder occupies the northernmost point of the North Holland
North Holland
North Holland |West Frisian]]: Noard-Holland) is a province situated on the North Sea in the northwest part of the Netherlands. The provincial capital is Haarlem and its largest city is Amsterdam.-Geography:...

 peninsula. It is home to the country's main naval base.

The Royal TESO
Royal TESO
The Royal TESO N.V. is a private ferry company operating the only public boat service to and from the Dutch Wadden island of Texel. TESO stands for Texel's Eigen Stoomboot Onderneming . Founded in 1907, this public company was started by Dr. Wagemaker to improve the quality of transportation to and...

 ferryboat service operates the transportation link between Den Helder and the nearby Dutch Wadden island of Texel
Texel is a municipality and an island in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It is the biggest and most populated of the Frisian Islands in the Wadden Sea, and also the westernmost of this archipelago, which extends to Denmark...

 to the north.

Population centres

The municipality of Den Helder consists of the following cities, towns, villages and/or districts: Den Helder, Huisduinen
Huisduinen is a village in the Dutch province of North Holland. It is a part of the municipality of Den Helder, and lies about 2 km west of Den Helder....

, Julianadorp
Julianadorp is a town in the Dutch province of North Holland. It is a part of the municipality of Den Helder, and lies about 6 km south of Den Helder.It was formed in 1909, and named after Princess Juliana who was born that same year....

, and the hamlets Friese Buurt
Friese Buurt
Friese Buurt is a hamlet in the Dutch province of North Holland. It is a part of the municipality of Den Helder, and lies about 3 km south of the Den Helder city centre. The name refers to the Frisian farmers who moved here after this area was reclaimed from the sea...

 and De Kooy
De Kooy (hamlet)
De Kooy is a hamlet in the Dutch province of North Holland. It is a part of the municipality of Den Helder, and lies about southeast of the Den Helder city centre.The hamlet is known for the nearby naval air field De Kooy....


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
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, when there was a great need for additional housing. De Schooten was constructed in the 1960s.


Huisduinen was the original older part of the city, whereas Helder itself was a nearby smaller hamlet. Due to its strategic location at the tip of the North Holland peninsula, multiple fortifications were built in the area. The area likely began being called Helledore ("Hell's Door" or "Hell's Gate", later on Den Helsdeur) because of the "hellish" fortifications that prevented enemy ships from sailing into the Zuyderzee
Zuyderzée is the name of a département of the First French Empire in the present Netherlands. It is named after the Zuider Zee sea inlet. It was formed in 1810, when the Kingdom of Holland was annexed by France. Its territory corresponds more or less with the present Dutch provinces North Holland...

. The name Helder may also have come from Helle/Helde, which means hill or hilly grounds, or from Helre, which means a sandy ridge.

Den Helder has played an important part in Dutch shipping. During the Dutch Golden Age
Dutch Golden Age
The Golden Age was a period in Dutch history, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, military and art were among the most acclaimed in the world. The first half is characterised by the Eighty Years' War till 1648...

, ships would be assembled near Den Helder and sail from there the world's oceans. During the 1820s, the North Holland Canal
Noordhollandsch Kanaal
The Groot Noordhollandsch Kanaal , now known simply as Noordhollandsch Kanaal, is a canal in the northwest Netherlands...

 was dug from Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

 to Den Helder. The lighthouse Lange Jaap was built in 1877 and is the tallest cast-iron lighthouse in Europe, at 63.45 metres (208.2 ft).

Naval base

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
Batavian Republic
The Batavian Republic was the successor of the Republic of the United Netherlands. It was proclaimed on January 19, 1795, and ended on June 5, 1806, with the accession of Louis Bonaparte to the throne of the Kingdom of Holland....

 navy there (see Battle of Castricum
Battle of Castricum
The Battle of Castricum saw a Franco-Dutch force defeat an Anglo-Russian force near Castricum, Netherlands. The battle was fought during the War of the Second Coalition against Revolutionary France between French and Dutch forces under the command of General Guillaume Brune and Herman Willem...

). French
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

 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
Royal Netherlands Navy
The Koninklijke Marine is the navy of the Netherlands. In the mid-17th century the Dutch Navy was the most powerful navy in the world and it played an active role in the wars of the Dutch Republic and later those of the Batavian Republic and the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

's main centre of operations. Den Helder continues to be the navy's main base today. The Royal Netherlands Naval College
Royal Netherlands Naval College
The Royal Netherlands Naval College in Den Helder is the service academy of the Royal Netherlands Navy. The KIM offers a program of four or five years and also a short course of sixteen to twenty-two months...

 is also located in the city, as is the Dutch Navy Museum
Dutch Navy Museum
The Dutch Navy Museum is a naval museum in Den Helder, Netherlands.The museum is dedicated to the history of the Koninklijke Marine ....


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 climate

Den Helder is located on the tip of a lowland peninsula jutting out into the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 Because of this, Den Helder's climate is heavily moderated by the maritime environment. Also, Den Helder is the sunniest city in the Netherlands.


The town is served by two stations:
  • Den Helder
    Den Helder railway station
    Den Helder is a Terminus railway station in the Naval town of Den Helder, the Netherlands. The station opened on 20 December 1865, and is the most northerly station in North Holland. The station is the start of the Den Helder–Amsterdam railway...

  • Den Helder Zuid (South Den Helder)
    Den Helder Zuid railway station
    Den Helder Zuid is a suburb railway station in Den Helder, the Netherlands. The station opened on the 31st May 1980. The station is on the Den Helder–Amsterdam railway, between Den Helder and Anna Paulowna.-Train services:...

Den Helder can be reached by the following main roads:
  • N9
  • N99
  • N250
  • N502

These roads all have only two lanes. There's no highway leading to Den Helder.

Local government

The municipal council of Den Helder consists of 31 seats, which are divided as follows:
  • PvdA
    Labour Party (Netherlands)
    The Labour Party , is a social-democratic political party in the Netherlands. Since the 2003 Dutch General Election, the PvdA has been the second largest political party in the Netherlands. The PvdA was a coalition member in the fourth Balkenende cabinet following 22 February 2007...

     - 8 seats
  • VVD
    People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
    The People's Party for Freedom and Democracy is a conservative-liberal political party located in the Netherlands. The VVD supports private enterprise in the Netherlands and is often perceived as an economic liberal party in contrast to the social-liberal Democrats 66 alongside which it sits in...

     - 6 seats
  • CDA
    Christian Democratic Appeal
    The Christian Democratic Appeal is a centre-right Dutch Christian democratic political party. It suffered severe losses in the 2010 elections and fell from the first to the fourth place...

     - 4 seats
  • Progressief Den Helder - 2 seats
  • Stadspartij Den Helder - 2 seats
  • ChristenUnie - 2 seats
  • D66
    Democrats 66
    Democrats 66 is a progressive and social-liberal political party in the Netherlands. D66 was formed in 1966 by a group of politically unaligned, young intellectuals, led by journalist Hans van Mierlo. The party's main objective was to democratise the political system; it proposed to create an...

     - 2 seats
  • SP
    Socialist Party (Netherlands)
    The Socialist Party is a democratic socialist political party in the Netherlands. After the 2006 general election, the Socialist Party became one of the major parties of the Netherlands with 25 seats of 150, an increase of 16 seats. The party was in opposition against the fourth Balkenende cabinet...

     -2 seats
  • GroenLinks - 1 seats
  • Lijst Prins - 1 seat
  • KiesKees - 1 seat

Notable people born in Den Helder

  • William Lonsdale
    William Lonsdale (colonist)
    William Lonsdale supervised the founding of the official settlement at Port Phillip from 1836 and went on to serve under the Superintendent La Trobe from 1839 to 1854.-Early life:...

     (1799-1864), soldier, colonialist, founding administrator of Melbourne, Australia
  • Dorus Rijkers
    Dorus Rijkers
    Theodorus "Dorus" Rijkers was a famous Dutch lifeboat captain and folk hero, most famous for his sea rescues of 487 shipwrecked victims over a total of 38 rescue operations, and at least 25 before joining the lifeboat-service....

     (1847-1928), lifeboat captain and folk hero
  • Edward W. Bok
    Edward W. Bok
    Edward William Bok was a Dutch born American editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. He was editor of the Ladies Home Journal for thirty years...

     (1863-1930), Dutch-American editor, Pulitzer Prize
    Pulitzer Prize
    The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

  • Anton Pieck
    Anton Pieck
    Anton Franciscus Pieck , a Dutch painter, artist and graphic artist...

     (1895-1987), painter and graphic artist
  • Gré Brouwenstijn
    Gré Brouwenstijn
    The Dutch lyric-dramatic soprano Gré Brouwenstijn was a famous opera singer whose stage career spanned from the early 1940s to the mid-1970s. She was admired for her warm, radiant voice, her stage presence, her dramatic instincts, and her "Ingrid Bergman" looks...

     (1915-1999), opera singer
  • Jan T. Bremer (b. 1932), teacher, geographer and historian
  • Frans van Anraat
    Frans van Anraat
    Frans Cornelis Adrianus van Anraat is a Dutch businessman who sold raw materials for the production of chemical weapons to Iraq during the reign of Saddam Hussein.-Business in Iraq:...

     (b. 1942), businessman, sold raw materials for the production of chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein
    Saddam Hussein
    Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

  • Gerard 't Hooft (b. 1946), physicist, 1999 Nobel Prize
    Nobel Prize
    The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

  • Rijkman Groenink (b. 1949), banker, CEO of ABN-Amro
  • Swen Nater
    Swen Nater
    Swen Eric Nater is a retired Dutch professional basketball player, primarily in the ABA and NBA.-Basketball career:Nater helped John Wooden's UCLA Bruins win two NCAA titles....

     (b. 1950), basketball player
  • Ed Nijpels
    Ed Nijpels
    Eduardus Hermannus Theresia Maria Nijpels is a Dutch politician.-References:...

     (b. 1950), former minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (1986–1989) and former mayor of Breda
    Breda is a municipality and a city in the southern part of the Netherlands. The name Breda derived from brede Aa and refers to the confluence of the rivers Mark and Aa. As a fortified city, the city was of strategic military and political significance...

  • Paul Rosenmöller
    Paul Rosenmöller
    Paul Rosenmöller is a Dutch television presenter and former politician and trade unionist. Between 1989 and 2003, he was member of the Dutch House of Representatives for GroenLinks .-Biography:...

     (b. 1956), politician and journalist, former leader of the Groenlinks party
  • Hans Smits
    Hans Smits
    Hans Karel Daniël Smits is a former water polo player from The Netherlands, who won the bronze medal with the Dutch Men's Team at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada.-References:*...

     (b. 1956), water polo player
  • Marleen Barth
    Marleen Barth
    Magdalena Antoinette Maria Barth is a Dutch politician of the Labour Party and trade unionist, and a former journalist.- Biography :...

     (b. 1964), politician, trade union leader and journalist
  • Martine Ohr
    Martine Ohr
    Martine Ohr is a former Dutch field hockey striker, who won the gold medal with her team at the 1984 Summer Olympics. Four years later she claimed a bronze with the Holland squad at the Seoul Olympics, and Ohr also participated at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, where the Dutch finished sixth...

     (b. 1964), field hockey striker
  • Edith Bosch
    Edith Bosch
    Edith Bosch is a Dutch Judoka who won the silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in the middleweight division....

     (b. 1980), Judo world champion and Olympic silver and bronze medalist
  • Menno de Jong
    Menno de Jong
    Menno de Jong is a DJ and producer from the Netherlands. His production & remix career has seen him record for some of Europe’s biggest trance labels and he’s the owner of lauded Dutch independent Intuition Recordings. A Podcast pioneer, he’s produced and presented the much respected and...

     (b. 1984), trance DJ
  • M. Voormanns (b. 1990), Dutch entertainer

In Popular Culture

In the Frank Boeijen
Frank Boeijen
Frank Boeijen is a Dutch singer and guitarist. His best known songs are Kronenburg Park about a prostitute, Zwart Wit about the racial murder of Kerwin Duinmeijer in Amsterdam and Twee gezichten about a split personality...

 Groep song Haast (rust roest) the line " 's avonds in Den Helder". (English- Evenings in Den Helder)

Film shot in Den Helder

  • 2008: Den Helder, directed by Jorien Van Nes, (entirely shot on location).
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