Den Helder has been building a new city 75 years ago: light, air and space

Dean Helder – When reconstruction begins after World War II, people think differently about city development. The idea of ​​the neighborhood was introduced: Everything the people needed should be available in their area. And there is a need to accelerate, as the demand for housing is enormous. Throughout this week, NH Nieuws is looking at city building from 1945 to the present day.

Den Helder Historical Association

This week NH Nieuws takes a look at what happened to Den Helder after WWII, and how the city rose from the ashes. How Reconstruction Continued Urban Renewal. Why is a second “rebuilding” underway, as the building was once again built with styles and materials from before the war. Today Part Two: Light, Air and Space.


Architectural historian Anita van Bruegel says: “The first real construction campaigns were here in Oud Den Helder, but not what they wanted in the past with the old hats and the small size. That was no longer possible.” They saw: “We have to do something different in Den Helder. Lots of people have arrived and many homes are needed. “Make the rhythm.”

Urban planner Wieger Bruin also did much for Den Helder before the war. It was posted again. The city is still within the line, the defenses are around the city. “He has been active in the city since 1933. Even in those years he realized that expansion was necessary. However, off-line construction was not yet an option. After the war, when it was clear that the Navy was returning, the conclusion was that more must be built.” Home and off-line… in the spirit of ‘Nieuwe Bouwen’.

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Den Helder is building a new city 75 years ago: light, air and space – NH Nieuws

The neighborhood idea is applied in new neighborhoods. All amenities that residents would need in the neighborhood are included. Sports complexes, churches, and a shopping center were built and there was plenty of entertainment in the nearby sand dunes. Van Bruegel says: “The creed at the time was” light, air and space “.

In addition to the new setup, new building technologies are also being used to create neighborhoods from scratch. The prefabricated parts of the Airey system, developed in England, are assembled on site. Concrete is the available building material. A whole arsenal of concrete structures is being constructed.

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Den Helder is building a new city 75 years ago: light, air and space – NH Nieuws

Tensions with Russia during the Cold War meant that the role of the Navy remained important. There are important missions. In the 1960s, there were far fewer people working shortly after the war, but with 23,000 employees the Navy was and remains the largest employer in the city, and thus important to the residents.

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Den Helder is building a new city 75 years ago: light, air and space – NH Nieuws

Several navy personnel find a home in the new Den Helder districts. The tall buildings along the main roads provide shelter to backward areas. The so-called duplex houses, with an upper floor and a ground floor, are “shared” by families.

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Hard work is only done outside the line. An entirely new center must also be built. The center used to be in Oud Den Helder, and the new center was further south. The path running directly through the city will be shortened and you will immediately be in the shopping district of the new station. The construction of the adjacent Post Office is seen as the final part of the reconstruction.

But Den Helder isn’t done yet: Reconstruction becomes “urban development” and construction continues. The building at Sportlaan, once the seat of the reconstruction, remains the heart of the further development of the city.

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