Zandvoort (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈzɑntfoːrt] ( listen)) is a municipality and a town in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland.
Zandvoort is one of the major beach resorts of the Netherlands; it has a long sandy beach, bordered by coastal dunes. It is also the site of the country's most important automobile racing circuit, Circuit Park Zandvoort.
There is a nudist beach located about 2 km to the south, with 6 cafés or restaurants; it extends several kilometers further south.
The municipality of Zandvoort consists of the communities of Bentveld and Zandvoort.
Zandvoort is known to exist in 1100, called Sandevoerde (a combination of "sand" and "voorde", meaning ford). Until 1722 the area was under the control of the Lords of Brederode.
The village was dependent on fishing for many centuries until the 19th century when it started to transform itself into a seaside resort, following the pattern set by similar towns in the United Kingdom. In 1828 the first resort was inaugurated. Thereafter many notable persons would visit Zandvoort, including Elisabeth of Bavaria in 1884 and 1885. In the middle of the same century, potato cultivation started in the dunes.
In 1881 the railway station near the coast opened, followed by tram connection to Haarlem in 1899, which greatly increased the beach tourism. In 1905 one of the earliest Dutch fictional films was shot in the town, De mésaventure van een Fransch heertje zonder pantalon aan het strand te Zandvoort
During World War II, Zandvoort was heavily damaged. On May 23, 1942, beach access was no longer permitted and several months later the town was almost completely vacated. Resorts and avenues were demolished to make way for the coastal fortifications of the Atlantic Wall.
After the war, the town's growth accelerated, matching the growth in tourism. In 1948, Circuit Park Zandvoort was built, hosting the Dutch Grand Prix for several decades. Zandvoort continues to be a major Dutch resort location, where nearly half of all employment is related to tourism.
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