Den Helder is the home base of the Royal Dutch Navy and it owes its growth to that. During the French occupation construction of the port began. That was also when Fort Kijkduin (1811) was built. After the French went home in 1815, Den Helder remained the most important support of the navy. It is a fairly modern city with some historical buildings, including the former town hall on the Kerkgracht. This art deco style building was damaged heavily in a fire in 2005. The annual National Fleet Days attract hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts. The 63 metre high lighthouse is one of the main attractions.
The city has 60,000 inhabitants, which includes the villages of Julianadorp and Huisduinen, which have become suburbs of Den Helder. In the past, the city was also called Nieuwediep, which is why its inhabitants are sometimes still referred to as Nieuwediepers.
Den Helder is located at the northernmost tip of the mainland of the province of Noord-Holland. This region is called the Kop of Noord-Holland or the Noordkop (Northern head). The city is surrounded by water: to the west lies the North Sea, to the north the Marsdiep and to the east the Amsteldiep, a part of the Wadden Sea. The island of Texel lies on the other side of the Marsdiep.
Along the North Sea coast to the south of Den Helder there are miles and miles of sandy beaches that stretch as far as the seaside resort of Petten.
The Royal Navy is the city's main employer. It is not only the home bases of the navy's ships, there is also a maintenance wharf, various naval workshops and training institutions, for instance the Royal Naval Institute. To the south of the city lies the naval airport of De Kooy.
The city council realizes that it is extremely dependent on the navy, which is why it tries to attract start-up entrepreneurs.
To the south of the city there is a helicopter port, which is used above all to move employees to and from the oil rigs in the North Sea. At the moment, Den Helder Airport is looking at ways to attract business travelers, which includes plans for a regular service to Great Britain.
The nearest passenger airport is Schiphol, near Amsterdam.
The public transport node is the combine bus and train station in the centre of the city. There are local and regional buses.
Every half an hour there is a direct train connection between Den Helder and Nijmegen, with stops at all stations until it reaches Alkmaar, after which it becomes an intercity that goes via Amsterdam, Utrecht and Arnhem to Nijmegen.
During the day there is a ferry connection every half an hour to Texel.
Den Helder is a spaciously built city and it is never very busy, except during special events like the National Fleet Days. The N9 connects the city to the rest of the province. Near Alkmaar, it becomes the A9, which leads to Haarlem, Schiphol and Amsterdam. The N250 connects Den Helder to the province of Friesland, via the Afsluitdijk.
There are various car parks (Koninckshoek and Bernhardplein) and parking areas in Den Helder. There are indications on signs (P-route) on signs around the city centre. In the centre, various rates apply to parking in the street. On Sundays, parking in the street is free.
The city has six hotels and one bed & breakfast accommodation. Den Helder is trying to attract more tourists, but generally speaking it is not likely to be very difficult to find a place to stay. Of course we do recommend booking your room in advance if you have a specific hotel in mind.
For more information about Den Helder, we recommend Google, and the following sources: