282 Route 42. HELDER. From Amsterdam
The Bosch, or park, near Alkmaar, although inferior to the parks
of Haarlem and the Hague, affords pleasant walks. Trotting-matches
(Harddraverij) are occasionally held here, and the prize generally
consists of a silver coffee-pot presented by the magistrates. One of
these matches should if possible be witnessed by the traveller,
who will not fail to admire the costumes of the peasantry and the
unsophisticated delight of the spectators.
The Cemetery on the W. side of the Bosch, surrounded by a
lofty wall, and resembling a park, contains no monuments worthy
At Egmond-Binnen, 3 M. to the W. of Alkmaar, are situated the
scanty ruins of the castle of Egmond, the ancestral seat of the illustrious
family so often mentioned in the annals of the Netherlands. In the
vicinity, at Egmond op den Hoef, is an old and ruined abbey-church, in
which many of the ancient Counts of Holland are interred. The abbey
at a very remote period was a zealous patron of science, and its chronicles
formed the principal source of the early history of Holland. In 1572 the
fanatical iconoclasts destroyed the venerable and once magnificent build¬
ings. A lighthouse erected in 1833 near Egmond aan Zee is adorned with
a colossal lion in honour of Lieutenant Van Speyk (p. 147).
The train crosses the North Holland Canal (p. 277), which
skirts the back of the Dunes, and then turns to the N.E. To the
right a view is obtained of the fertile Schermeer Polder. —28Y2M.
Hugowaard; 31 M. Noord-Schaarwoude • 36 M. Schagen; 43 M.
Anna Paulowna, in the extensive polder of that name.
50 M. Helder (Hotel Bellevue, near the station; Den Burg, near
the harbour, with a good view of the Zuider-Zee) was towards the
close of last century little more than a large fishing-village. In 1811
Napoleon caused extensive fortifications to be constructed here by
Spanish prisoners of war, and the works were afterwards com¬
pleted by the Dutch. The construction of the North Holland Canal
also greatly increased its importance. About 3/4 M. to the E., and
connected with the Helder by a road along the Helder Dyke, lies
Nieuwe Diep, the harbour at the mouth of the canal. Its extensive
piers and bulwarks are destined to afford protection to the vessels
entering or quitting the Northern Canal, a considerable number
of which are English and Norwegian. The capacious wharves and
magazines of the Dutch Navy, and also the Naval Cadet School,
together known as Willemsoord, are situated at Nieuwe Diep.
Part of the Dutch fleet is generally stationed here.
Since the opening of the North Sea Canal (p. 280) the united
population of the Helder and Nieuwe Diep has decreased from
21,300 to 19,500.
As this, the extreme promontory of N. Holland, is exposed
more than any other part of the coast to the violence of the wind
and the encroachments of the sea, it is protected on all sides by
huge and massive dykes. The great Helder Dyke , about 5 M. in
length , and 12 ft. in width, which is traversed by a good road
from the Nieuwe Diep to the Helder, descends into the sea to a