Bergen has been known as an 'artists village' since around 1900, though its association with the art world actually began in the 1920's and 1930's with the establishment of the 'Bergen School' of art. The village is located on the North Sea, near the city of Alkmaar.
The name Bergen is often written as Bergen (NH), or Bergen-NH - the NH is for Noord-Holland, since there is also a Bergen in the Province of Limburg. Bergen is now primarily an upper-income suburb of Alkmaar, and has a somewhat snobbish air. The village has two museums and an art centre.
The small historical museum, Gemeentemuseum Het Sterkenhuis, is in the centre at Oude Prinsweg 21. Open May to October, Tuesday to Saturday, 13:00-17:00, and also open on Sunday in July and August. Entrance € 1,50. The museum is one of the few places where you can see exhibits related to the Battle of Bergen. On 19 September 1799, the armies of Napoleonic France and the Batavian Republic defeated a joint English-Russian invasion force.
Museum Kranenburgh has a collection of paintings, graphic art, and sculpture, by the members of the Bergen School, and other artists who worked in the region. It is located in a 19th-century neo-classical villa, at Hoflaan 26, in the centre of the village. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 13:00-17:00, website www.museumkranenburgh.nl
The art centre, Kunstcentrum Bergen, with exhibitions by artists currently working in and around Bergen, is at Plein 7, in the centre. Open Wednesday to Sunday 13.00 - 17.00, open at 11.00 on Saturday, website: www.kunstcentrumbergen.nl
Park Meerwijk in Bergen, a cluster of villa-style houses, is one of the best places to see the architecture of the early-20th-century Amsterdam School architects.
The 'Schoorlse Duinen' are a dune nature reserve open to the public, run by the official forest agency Staatsbosbeheer. The forest was originally planted in the 19th century - not for tourists, but to prevent the dunes burying the villages. The reserve covers 1900 hectares, accessible on foot and by bike at several points. There is also a visitors centre, Bezoekerscentrum Het Zandspoor, Oorsprongweg 1, 1871 HA Schoorl, with a 'play forest' for children. Location map and images at www.staatsbosbeheer.nl