Den Helder


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For visitors to the area, Den Helder is best known as the gateway to the island of Texel, the most visited Dutch island in the Wadden Sea. But the long-time military base and former naval shipyard has a number of other attractions. These include the Dutch Navy Museum, the Napoleonic Fort Kijkduin, the Nollen Landscape sculpture park, and the revitalized former shipyard district Willemsoord. We initially planned to spend two nights in Den Helder, but enjoyed the city and our berth at the Royal Netherlands Navy Yacht Club so much that we ended up staying up staying for five.

Below are trip highlights from October 23rd through 27th, 2019 in Den Helder, Netherlands. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

10/23/2019
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Vlieland to Den Helder
Den Helder is the main naval base for the Royal Netherlands Navy and the harbour is packed with large and imposing naval ships. After a 48nm run west from Vlieland, we arrived at an excellent berth at the Royal Netherlands Navy Yacht Club within the naval port. From there we had a great view to the many ships moored at the naval base.

Read more …

10/24/2019
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Texel
The island of Texel, with its extensive sandy beaches and abundant wildlife, is the most visited Dutch island in the Wadden Sea. Ferries make the 15-minute crossing north to Texel from Den Helder every half-hour during busy periods. Texel was popular historically as well. Texel Roads, off the southeast coast of the island, was one of the main Dutch anchorages for ships heading to Africa, Asia and North America between 1500 and 1900. Over the centuries many thousands of ships anchored there to provision and wait for good weather, and at any given time dozens of ships could be lying off.

With clear weather in the forecast, we took our bikes on the ferry to Texel and spent the day cycling around the island. Read more …

10/25/2019
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Dawn
Spectacular dawn sky looking across the navy port from our berth at the Royal Netherlands Navy Yacht Club.
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Zuiderzee
On our way out on a bicycle ride, we stopped to checkout a couple of Royal Netherlands Navy tugs moored nearby. This is the 94-ft (29m) HNLMS Zuiderzee a Damen ASD 2810 Hybrid that combines diesel-direct, diesel-electric propulsion and battery power to achieve average fuel savings of up to 30% with up to 40% reduction of emissions over their non-hybrid ASD 2810 tug.
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Power Cable
The power cable for the hybrid tug Zuiderzee. It’s much larger than typical for a boat of that size to support charging the large battery bank required on a hybrid tug.
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Navy Ships
Looking across the harbour to several Royal Netherlands Navy ships, including the 355 ft (108 m) frigate HNLMS Friesland (P842) and the 578 ft (176 m)Landing Platform Dock (LPD) amphibious warfare ship HNLMS Johan de Witt (L801).
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Zeepromenade
Riding the Zeepromenade outside the dike at Den Helder.
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Lange Jaap
The 182-ft (55m) lighthouse Lange Jaap, completed in 1877, is one of the tallest traditional lighthouses in the world. We could see it 20 miles away from Vlieland.
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Fort Kijkduin
Fort Kijkduin, now a military museum, was built on the order of Napoleon in 1811.
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Windsurfer
Windsurfer taking advantage of today’s strong winds in the North Sea.
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Highland Cow
A long-haired Highland cow grazing in a Den Helder field. The hardy animals have an unusual double coat of hair and were bred to withstand the harsh conditions of the Scottish highlands.
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De Nollen Landscape
In the 1980s, Dutch artist R.W. van de Wint began an experimental project that became his life’s work. Over the course of 25 years, he created paintings, steel sculptures and large structures among old bunkers in the dune area De Nollen in Den Helder.

Read more …

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De Bolder
The sculpture De Bolder with Den Helder’s old brick water tower behind on the right. The 20-ft-high (6m) double bronze bollard, unveiled in 2018, symbolizes the connection between Den Helder and its maritime history.
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Costa
A great meal and a fabulous table at Costa in Den Helder’s Willemsoord district. Willemsoord is the old navy shipyard and the multi-leveled restaurant is built in a renovated 19th-century industrial building with balconies surrounding a nightclub on the bottom floor.
10/26/2019
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Passports
Dutch Customs came by again today to inspect the boat and check our Schengen immigration status. We’re used to an inspection when entering a new country, but the Netherlands is a bit unusual in that the last time we entered we were visited four times and this is our second visit so far and we’ve only been in the country four days.
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Prospector I
The Vanuatu-registered Prospector 1, built by Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Group in Dalian China in 2013, is a 324ft by 355ft (98m by 108m) jack-up oil rig. It’s equipped with 6 primary diesel generators producing 1.5 MW each and a single emergency generator delivering 900KW and carries 4 anchors of 16,500 lbs each. In the normal case, we seldom get really close to a rig and the truly massive scale isn’t obvious until you are standing beside it. Absolutely out-worldly.
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Lock Gates
Substantial lock gates protecting Den Helder’s inner harbour that lies behind the dikes.
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Damen
The Dutch shipbuilding company Damen has shipyards throughout the Netherlands, and the world. The Den Helder shipyard focuses on repair and maintenance for the offshore, dredging, fishing and towage market and they have a second yard on the island of Texel.
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Anchors
Huge anchors used by the oil and gas industry at the Damen Den Helder shipyard. Each of these weigh 15,400 lbs (7,000kg)
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Texel
The lightship Texel was built in 1951 at Den Helder’s now-closed Willemsoord naval shipyard, where we had dinner at Costa last night. The Texel was in service in the Wadden Sea until 1992 and is now a museum ship.
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Willemsoord
Looking across a Den Helder canal to the Willemsoord district, a revitalized former naval shipyard.
10/27/2019
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Security Gate
The Royal Netherlands Navy Yacht Club in Den Helder is inside the navy base’s secure area. We exit the property through a security gate and need to have a guard let us back in.
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Leuk!
A delicious brunch at Leuk! Eten and Drinken in the Den Helder’s revitalized Willemsoord district.
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Boiler
Old steam boiler in the Willemsoord district. The former shipyard and naval base was built on the orders of Napoleon in 1811 when France ruled the Netherlands.
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Dutch Navy Museum
Late 20th-century Dutch guided-missile frigates carried a large radar dome housing a revolutionary 3D radar that could measure an object’s distance, direction and height at the same time. The radar had a range of 242 miles (390km) and could track over a hundred targets simultaneously, making it the most powerful radar of its time (1975-2000).

The bridge and 3D radar from the guided-missile frigate HNLMS De Ruyter, in service from 1976 to 2001, is now one of the features at the Dutch Navy Museum in Den Helder, along with the 257ft (78m) submarine HNLMS Tonijn that was retired in 1991. Read more …

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Willemsoord
Several of the bars and cafes in Den Helder’s Willemsoord were really busy late that afternoon. This was a little surprising as it was a Sunday and they weren’t close to that busy when we’d passed at about the same time the previous Friday and Saturday nights.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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