The village of Bergen has been known as an 'artists village' since 1900. In the 1920's and 1930's a 'Bergen school' of painters developed. It is located behind the North Sea dunes, just west of Alkmaar. The name is often written as Bergen (NH), or Bergen-NH - for North Holland, 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. A few kilometres further north are the villages of Schoorl and Groet, both near enough to walk from Bergen.
Bergen is connected to Alkmaar by bus (number 160), which runs every every 15 minutes. Schoorl and Groet are also served by bus 151 from Alkmaar, every 30 minutes.
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.
Bergen is a starting point for walking and cycling in the dune reserves, which begin at the edge of the village. The main dune nature reserve is the 'Schoorlse Duinen', north of Bergen and west of the village of Schoorl. Much of it is dune forest, originally planted in the 19th century, 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
De Kleine Javaan - an Indonesian restaurant (072) 5818835