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caption = IJmuiden in the municipality of Velsen

IJmuiden is a town in the Dutch province of North Holland, the main town of the municipality of Velsen. It lies about 17 km (10.3 mi) north of Haarlem. In the Roman era, this Velsen district was already inhabited, and archeological finds indicate there was a North Sea port of some regional importance built here. The town suffered heavy damage and demolition during World War II, because of its maritime importance.

IJmuiden is a fairly new town in its present form, that only came into existence in the 1870s, when the North Sea Canal was dug, connecting the Amsterdam harbors to the open sea. Before the present IJmuiden has been built, the area was known as "Breesaap", a desolate plain where only a handful of farmers strived to make a living. In 1851 the whole area was sold to the entrepreneurs Bik and Arnold, which finally set into motion the plans that had been drawn up already in 1626. The first spade hit the ground on April 8 1865.The IJmuiden name literally means “mouth of the IJ”, which is a hint to the importance the town has for the Amsterdam harbor. The name “IJmuiden” first appeared as "IJ-muiden" in lines written in 1848 by the professor and journalist (and, later, a liberal finance minister in the Van Lynden van Sandenburg Cabinet) Simon Vissering. The present "IJmuiden" form was eventually adopted in 1876, as the North Sea Canal was being completed in this section.

In 1890 it had about 1,500 inhabitants, but boomed when the Koninklijke Nederlandse Hoogovens steelworks settled in IJmuiden. The statistical area IJmuiden which includes the surrounding countryside, has a population of 30,466. The headquarters of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Redding Maatschappij is located in IJmuiden.

North Holland's gate to the North Sea

The North Sea Canal connects the North Sea with the IJ Bay in Amsterdam.

Besides the Velsen Municipality Hall "(Raadhuis van de gemeente Velsen)", designed by the famous architect Willem Dudok, important sights in IJmuiden are the North Sea locks. The latter are among the largest in the world and one set is able to close off a shipping lane of 50 meters (164 ft) wide and 12 meters (39 ft) deep. There are plans to enlarge or build a new set to facilitate even larger vessels.

DFDS Seaways serve a route between Amsterdam and Newcastle via IJmuiden. A new roll-on/roll-off ferry route between IJmuiden and Great Yarmouth in the United Kingdom will begin in 2009 [ [http://www.businessweekly.co.uk/2001121225021/travel-and-transport-archive/dutch-daily-ferry-link-a-step-closer.html Dutch daily ferry link a step closer "(Business Weekly, December 12, 2001)"] ] .


External links

* [http://www.velsen.nl/streaming_groot.htm Velsen Municipality Hall webcam over IJmuiden]
* [http://www.amsterdamports.nl/beeldbank/webcam/IJmuiden.jpgWebcam over the North Sea locks]

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