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CCN Event: Information Session about the Embassy of Canada in the Netherlands by Julie Normand

Curious about what the role of the Embassy of Canada in the Netherlands and what services it provides to Canadians residing in the Netherlands? We’re pleased to host an online special information session with Julie Normand, head of the Consular and Administration section at the Canadian Embassy in the Netherlands.

This event is open to all Canadians and friends of Canada in the Netherlands. For event details, visit this link.

Bergen Bike Tour: A Great Day Trip and Mini Adventure
by Marc Maisonneuve

One of my favorite simple but fun summer activities is a bike ride (how Dutch 😀) across the Bergen dunes and coast, not far from Alkmaar. The total distance is 19 kms with mostly flat terrain. Quite an easy ride, especially with the below suggested stops.

Your adventure starts in the old town city center of Bergen. If you can drive there with your bikes, you can park in the underground parking “Parkeergarage Centrum Bergen” next to the Deen Supermarket. Alternatively, you can take the train to Alkmaar and rent a bike from there.

As you walk your bike out of the garage, make sure to circle around the main plein/square of Bergen and its hauntingly beautiful Ruïnekerk (literally the “ruined” church).

The Ruïnekerk is a 15th-century church on the Raadhuisstraat in Bergen. The church was burnt down during the Eighty Years’ War, but partially rebuilt. It has status as an official national monument.

The church and its square is surrounded by nice cafes and restaurants if you would like “een goede kop koffie en een stuk appeltaart” before you start your bike adventure. Admire the sights, the majestic church and people watch as you sip your cup of joe.

Bergen is a lovely town! Since about 1900, Bergen has been the home of many painters, writers and architects. Some of the work of this “Bergen School” is on exhibit at the nearby Museum Kranenburgh, definitely worth a stop. The neighbourhood of Park Meerwijk, constructed in 1915, is made up entirely of villas in Amsterdam School style. There are also regular art fairs in Bergen, as well as an annual music festival (the Holland Music Sessions in August) and arts festival (the Kunsttiendaagse in October).

From the Ruïnekerk, follow the map along the Hoflaan and Eewigelaan where a lovely dedicated bike path will lead you westward towards the coast and along the way you will see one of the nicest (and richest) parts of the country. Check out the lovely stately homes and mix of modern and more traditional architecture.

After an easy 20 minutes ride (5.4 km) you will reach Bergen aan Zee, a lovely coastal town. If your stomach is already growling or you fancy a seaside lunch, you can stop at the nearby Strandpavijleon Noord which serves simple but good food and drink along with a stunning view of the beach.

Head north along the bike path. This will take you into the park and dune area. Be prepared to be amazed by the open space, rolling dunes and beautiful forest.

An excellent stop area/lunch spot is Paal 29. It is also about half-way thru the bike route. Here you can rest, swim, stroll the beach or just settle-in for a nice lunch at the friendly and complete eatery.

From Paal 29, it is a 30 minute ride (8 km) back to Bergen. Along the way, you can stop at “Uitzichtpunt Zwarte Blink” which is a 31 meter high view point.

By the way, north of the town of Bergen are the Schoorlse Duinen, a nature area with the highest and widest dunes of the Netherlands! Right in the actual town center of Schrool, you will also find the famous “Klim duin” (literally “climb dune”), quite special!

And if you fancy a real fancy treat and a true culinary experience, Schoorl has a Michelin star restaurant called Merlet (also a hotel if you decide to spend the night).

I hope you will appreciate this beautiful area as much as I do. If you go, drop the Club a note and let us know about your experience. Enjoy!

Marc Maisonneuve