While there are a great many coastal towns in the Netherlands, the ironically named Bergen (Mountains) is perhaps one of the prettier and more interesting ones to visit. We at DutchReview were invited by the good people of Blooming to stay the night and explore the town of Bergen in Noord Holland, which has made its name internationally by attracting artists and philosophers from a wide range of backgrounds.
Bergen has everything that makes a coastal town in the Netherlands great. The town itself is relatively small but it more than makes up for its size by its wide range of differing locales. Walking through the town takes you along a forest, through the dunes and to the beach where idyllic beach pavilions dot the coastline for you to have hot coco, or depending on the time of year, cold corona’s.
Art and Bergen in Noord Holland
In the early 1900’s Bergen began attracting a wide range of artists which called themselves the “Bergen School”. They mostly dabbled in expressionism and cubism, and much of their work can still be found in the Museum Kranenburgh, which is well worth a visit if you’re interested in the arts! The artistic history of the town is still alive and well in many of the events they host during the summer months. On Wednesdays and Thursdays during the summer holidays there are artmarkets surrounding the Ruinekerk. For those of you who aren’t here in summer the town has plenty to offer, as in in October art lovers may want to visit the quite popular “10 days of art”.
We stayed at the Blooming estate, which encompasses a large forest where one can take a leisurely stroll towards the beach, or when the weather is uncooperative, to the actual Blooming estate itself, a stately mansion with a seemingly unending wine cellar. The hotel itself is quite beautiful and the surrounding historical area is maintained by the foundation which manages it. Effectively, staying at the hotel means you’re directly contributing to keeping the surrounding land in its current well maintained state, allowing you to feel good about yourself while wallowing in the luxury the hotel has to offer. The food on offer at the hotel, the affiliated mansion and the beach pavilion is all excellent, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more hospitable and friendly staff anywhere.
For those with an enthusiasm for cooking the surrounding forest has quite a bit of wild growing plants and mushrooms on offer, all of which are allowed to be picked! However if you’re not particularly sure about whether something is poisonous or not, I’d recommend getting a tour guide to show you which plants and mushrooms are safe to eat, as it takes a sharp eye to distinguish between shrooms which are delicious, and those which will result in a hospital visit.
The forest itself is quite large and well worth walking through, it is also exceptionally dog friendly and you so you may want to bring your K-9 companion! Be ready to wash them when you get home however, as they’ll be hard pressed to resist a dive in one of the many shallow waters you’ll come across while traversing the forest.
Being from a small coastal town in North Holland myself I found a lot to love in Bergen and the Blooming estate. It’s the perfect escape for those who’ve grown weary of the hustle and bustle in Amsterdam and the Hague, offering serene surroundings and even a “borstelbaan”, which is effectively a skiing slope where you ski over brushes. All in all Bergen is absolutely worth checking out!
1861 GL Bergen (nh)
postbus 23, 1860 AA Bergen