Den Helder

Travel Guide Europe Netherlands North Holland Den Helder



Den Helder is a port city in North Holland. It is the main base of the Royal Netherlands Navy and is also an important civilian port. Den Helder is the northernmost settlement on the mainland of Noord Holland. Den Helder is named as such since 1928. Before that, the city was called Helder, but was also referred to as 't Nieuwediep and Willemsoord. Den Helder was the local name, which was solidified as the town name in 1928.

Den Helder has been an island town up to 1610, when the Zanddijk between Callantsoog and Huisduinen was completed. The town was a naval one, with most of its income coming from fishing. East of the town was the Nieuwediep inlet, which formed a natural harbour. Stadtholder Willem V ordered to investigate the option of creating a new harbour for the royal navy in 1779, and after much resistance from Hoorn, Enkhuizen and Medemblik, the other three major harbour cities along the Zuiderzee, work started in 1781 to make the Nieuwe Diep into a harbour. Den Helder subsequently became one of the home ports of the royal navy.

During Napoleonic French occupation, the town was fortified . The navy permanently stayed when the French were defeated. Den Helder became an outport of Amsterdam with the completion of the Noordhollandsch Kanaal. The town subsequently expanded, got a steamboat connection to Amsterdam in 1845 and a railway connection to Amsterdam in 1865. Meanwhile, the national naval university also moved to the town. The town of Juliadorp was founded in 1909 after the town moved back to fishing since the Noordhollandsch Kanaal allowed ships bound for Amsterdam to do there directly, from which the trade suffered. 10% of the people in Den Helder migrated to elsewhere in the country.

The city, during World War Two, housed parts of the German Navy, and the entire town was declared a Sperrgebiet in 1943, meaning that Den Helder no longer was accessible to regular people. In favour of the Atlantikwall and having a free range of sight, many buildings along the seadike were demolished. Since the fall of the Nazi-German Empire, the city has been largely expanded upon.



Sights and Activities

The city's sea wall provides a good view of the constant parade of ships entering and leaving the port.

  • Fort Kijkduin, a fortress built in 1811.
  • Oude Rijkswerf Willemsoord
  • Marinemuseum - this museum records the history of the Royal Netherlands Navy, and includes several preserved warships and a submarine. It takes about 20 minutes to walk from Den Helder's train station to the museum.
  • Nationaal Reddingmuseum Dorus Rijkers
  • Käthe Kruse Poppen- en speelgoedmuseum



Getting There

Den Helder has two train stations to its name, these being 1 Den Helder and 2 Den Helder Zuid . Both of these are on the same line that terminates at Den Helder. From here, two train services connect to the rest of the country. Both follow the same route up to Utrecht via Amsterdam, from which one goes to Nijmegen via Arnhem and the other goes to Maastricht via Eindhoven. Both trains are Intercity services, meaning that they stop only at the major stations. Travelling to Den Helder, however, the train becomes a stopping train from Alkmaar onwards. Be sure to sit in one of the front carriages of the train, as the rear carriages are detached at a station en-route! Den Helder station (the last stop on the line) is far more useful for tourists as it is located in the centre of the city. The station includes a small cafe which sells snacks and drinks.

Ferries from Texel arrive at Den Helder's harbour, which is 25 minutes away when travelling on foot from the station. Catch a bus or taxi if you have luggage. Bus 33 goes back and forth between Den Helder, Steiger TESO and the Den Helder train station every thirty minutes. This saves you fifteen minutes in total.



Getting Around

A bus service is available, though the centre of the city is reasonably compact and all the attractions are within comfortable walking distance of one another.




  • Spijz, Koningstraat 70, 1781 KJ Den helder, ☎ +31 223-613035. Also suited for: Vegetarian, lactose free, gluten free, organic and sugar-free.




  • Hotel Lands End, Havenplein 1, ☎ +31 223 625658.



Keep Connected


Internet cafés are not as widespread as you would expect, but you can easily find one in the popular cities. Most hostels, hotels and camp sites have several computers, so you can keep connected with folk at home. Here is a list of internet cafés that could come in handy for travellers. Otherwise, most libraries have lots of computers and prices are around the €2-3 per hour range, although sometimes it can be even more expensive.

Wireless internet access using wifi is becoming more popular and is usually available at most hotels and increasingly at train stations. Also in trains (at least in most first class wagons, but also more and more in second class) and some buses you can use wifi. Finally, places like McDonald's and Starbucks have free wifi, and smaller individual business like cafés and restaurants are on the rise too offering these services. More often than not, these service tend to be free of charge, though there might be a limited time you can use the internet.


See also: International Telephone Calls

The country code for the Netherlands is 31. The outbound international prefix is 00. The general emergency number is 112, like many other countries.
0800 numbers are toll-free and for 09xx numbers are charged at premium rates. Mobile phones have numbers in the 06 range, and calls to cell phones are also priced at higher rates.

From internet cafés, it is also usually possible to make long distance international calls. Like in other countries, telephone booths have almost disappeared, though some are still found around public transport stations, where you can use a few coins to make calls. It is only recommended for local calls.

The cellular phone network in the Netherlands is GSM 900/1800. The main providers of cell phone networks are KPN (Dutch only), T-mobile and Vodafone, who cover the whole country. Other operators, like Hollandsnieuwe, Simyo or Tele2, use one of these 3 networks basically.

It is best to buy a SIM card when in the Netherlands for use in your cellphone, as this usually works out cheaper than using the one from home. If you are planning to study or work in the country and stay for several months, buying a cellphone is the best option. A simple one, sometimes with €10 worth on it, can be bought from around €25. The simplest smartphones are around €75.


The rate for sending a postcard or letter up to 20 grams within the Netherlands is €0.64 (2014). Since 2010 there are stamps available for domestic post which no longer include the value in €. Instead, there are stamps available with either a '1' or a '2' as a substitute for value. The '1' can be used for letters and postcards up to 20 grams, while 20-50 grams require you to use the '2'-valued stamps (or two '1'-valued stamps of course).

Sending items to other EU countries and the rest of the world (there is one price since 2014) will cost €1.05. Stamps are sold at post offices, supermarkets and smaller shops/kiosks; often the place where you buy your postcards can also supply you with stamps.

Sending parcels abroad is more costly. A standard-sized parcel between up to 2 kilograms will cost you €9 for destinations within the EU and €18 (both without Track & Trace) to the rest of the world. Prices with Track & Trace start at €13 and €24.30 respectively. Parcel service is available from major post offices only; standard-size boxes are on sale there as well. For sending parcels, it might be just as competitive and fast to use a company like TNT, UPS or DHL.

If you need to receive mail while moving around, you can have it sent poste restante (to be called for) to a post office of your choice, where it will be kept for a month. If you come to claim it, bring a valid ID, and make sure to have told the sender that the name on the envelope must be an exact match with that in your passport. For addresses of post offices, as well as more information, consult the TNT website.


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This is version 2. Last edited at 13:37 on May 3, 19 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

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