Zandvoort Beach for Amsterdam

Fishery in Zandvoort

Long before Zandvoort is first mentioned in 1304, people were living in this dune valley. The wasteland itself did not have much to offer these inhabitants. The drifting sand made it hard to work the soil, and few crops could be grown. The sea however was rich in fish, like cod, haddock, plaice, dab and especially herring. The short distance between the fishing grounds and the coast allowed the fishermen to use very primitive vessels. An open fishing boat was used, called a 'slabbert' or 'slapbuis'. This type of boat originally came from the province of Friesland and is even older than the Viking vessels. In around the 15th century a boat with a flat bottom, the 'Bomschuit', was developed, based on a boat used in the town of Egmond. This Bomschuit evolved into a ship around 15 meters long, 7 meters wide and weighing around 120,000 kilos. These boats had to be very strong, because they had to be able to stand being dragged onto the beach. After the IJmuiden harbor was built in 1870 and beach holidays became fashionable around the turn of the century, large scale fishing from Zandvoort disappeared. Nowadays, some Zandvoort locals just get out their nets for fun when there is an 'R' in the month and walk through the surf to catch shrimp. Bomschuiten are still being built, however. A Zandvoort construction society builds things that have disappeared from the village, like bomschuiten, bathing carriages and different buildings, to scale. Examples of these labors can be admired in the Zandvoort Tourist Information office and the Zandvoorts Museum.