In 1999, the Bergen Municipality commissioned Buro Poppinga and Veenenbos en Bosch landschapsarchitecten to revamp the somewhat untidy and decrepit coastal strip of Egmond aan Zee, a popular seaside resort. The redevelopment has been carried out in stages in the past years. The final stretch is now in the process of being completed: the square that links the heart of the village with the parking and events grounds as well as the central beach entrance.
The starting point for the coastal strip’s new design was an extended, varied stroll along special places by the sea. A path through the dunes and along the boulevard, with here and there ‘rooms’ where people could enjoy the view, walk to the sea or just have a moment of rest.
The last ‘room’ is now nearing completion: the square between the beach and the village. It is the central point that connects all the different elements of the stroll, and from which visitors embark. The area’s new street furniture turns the square into a ‘shared space’. An attractive, clearly designated space, enjoyed and shared by its different users.
The expansive beach entrance area is a lively location, used by a variety of groups. Visitors walk there in bare feet, fishermen cross the area with their tractors and trailers, the rescue squad departs from this point, and in the spring the area is buzzing with builders setting up beach bars and huts. Cement elements with a relief of wooden planks have been designed for the beach entrance. In the case of storm, the entrance can be partially removed thanks to its modular and linkable system. It is functional for different user groups, made of sustainable material and, at the same time, the wooden relief give it a friendly appearance suitable for this beach environment.
The central beach entrance is the lowest point in Egmond aan Zee. In heavy rainfall the beach entrance used to swell up and the water rushed towards the sea like a mountain stream. Visitors were unable to walk across the area and the water damaged the pavement. Installation of a sewage system was not an option because it would get clogged up by sand. The water is now carefully drained off through the pavement and part of the water flow is diverted to another beach entrance. In addition, the central beach entrance has been widened and flattened, so that only a thin layer of water flows over it. This makes it safe for visitors and other users.