If you do not already have your permanent home secured, you will want to select a long-term “vacantie” place to stay while you search for your permanent rental or until you purchase your home. There is a wide array of hotels and long-term vacation homes to stay when you first arrive. “Vacantie” homes are more reasonable than hotels for longer-term housing and come fully furnished with kfull kitchens. Here are some vacantie providers near the school.
When you first arrive, you can easily get around through public transport and car rental. You can plan your trips and see the schedule here. You can also download an app from 9292 which has up to date train schedule and travel planning from your smart phone.
Public Transport Payment- OV-Chipkaart
The OV-chipkaart is the payment method for public transport in the Netherlands. The OV-chipkaart allows you to travel by bus, tram, metro and train without having to buy tickets for each different mode of transportation. There are three types of cards available:
To use any of these cards you need to check in as you depart and check out again after arriving at your destination. If you fail to check in or buy a valid ticket, you face a fine plus the fare for your journey. You can load credit onto your OV card in Euro’s and/or add a travel product, for instance: a bicycle ticket for one day, a monthly commuting pass or a season ticket.
Additional information on transport by train: www.ns.nl (also has an English version of the site)
Information on public transport abroad: Tel. 0900 9296
+31 6 81939355
Generally speaking, most shops are opened form 9:30 until 17:00 except Monday mornings.
There is one day per week (koopavond) when the shops can be opened until 21:00 (Thursday for Alkmaar). On Saturday, the shopping must be stopped at 17:00 and resumed on Sunday if deemed necessary in many cities (e.g. Alkmaar, Bergen and Amsterdam).
During the summer, Alkmaar is well known for its Kaasmarkt (cheese market) every Friday. During this event, the city is filled with tourists and the main place on the city center is filled with cheese that will be transported in the most old fashioned way for the pleasure of the tourists.
Most Saturdays, there is a small market around the old church (Ruinekerk) in Bergen with a nice village atmosphere. At the same time, there is a bigger market in Alkmaar occupying most of the main city center streets.
Both areas also hold celebrations and special festivals throughout the year.
Do not expect huge supermarkets in the Netherlands. The most famous brands are‘‘Albert Heijn’’ and Jumbo. Lidl offers more international products if you are looking for something from home. These stores are present almost everywhere in different store sizes. Most of the time the bigger supermarkets are opened quite late (up to 20:00 or 21:00) for the bigger ones.
There are large shopping areas here:
Alkmaar (Wandelstraat 1)
Organic Food for You
Ekoplaza (Organic Shop)
Health & Beaty
Montagne (pizza, dine-in or delivery to Bergen and Schoorl)
For a wide variety of information on leisure activities please contact the local tourist information center called VVV (Vereniging Vreemdelingen Verkeer). Local papers usually offer summaries of exhibitions, plays, movies, music performances in the Bergen region or in Amsterdam. A museum pass (to be purchased at most of the museums) is valid for more than 400 museums all over the country.
Alkmaar Waagplein 2-3 1811 JP Alkmaar Bergen Hoflaan 26 1861 CR Bergen NH Schoorl Oorsprongweg 1 1871 EA Schoorl Petten Zijperweg 1a 1755 NZ Petten
VUE Alkmaar (cinema complex) Pettemerstraat 1, 1823 CW Alkmaar Mostly blockbuster related and 3D movie
CineBergen (zwaarte schuur) quaint theatre in the Bergen forest.
Filmhuis Alkmaar (next to the VUE cinema). Mix between VUE and CineBergen
Kinder en Poppentheater
Speelderij De Batavier
Theater De Vest
Color Me Mine (Ceramics) St Sebastiaanstraat 11, 1811 PA Alkmaar
De Vier Kroon (Marionettentheater)
Holle Bolle Boom
Hoornsvaart Swimming & Recreation
Fitland De Gees
Blanckendaell Park (Zoo)
Also check out www.kidsproof.nl here you can find nice outings for families with children
National & Local Events
4 May: National Memorial commemorating all Dutch victims (civilians and military) who died since the outbreak of the second world war. Two minutes of silence is observed from 20:00 to 20:02.
8 October: Alkmaar celebrates its independence.
11 November: In this region ‘’Sint Maarten’’ is celebrated. Children with homemade lanterns go from house to house singing songs in exchange for sweets.
5 December: This is St Nicolaas (Sinterklaas) evening. It celebrates the name day of Saint Nicolaas, patron saint of children. This is for many Dutch a larger celebration than Christmas, with presents especially for children.
27 April, King’s Day: The entire country takes a holiday to celebrate the King’s birthday, and on this day everyone is allowed to sell second hand items on the pavement without a permit. Many dress in orange and come out to the village centers to celebrate in the streets.
The Parents’ Association provides after school activities on school grounds at a low cost for members. Classes include chess, ballet, tennis, crafts, dance, and more. Learn more about these activities. The Bergen/Alkmaar offers many enrichment oppotunities for kids of all ages. Below is a list of known activities your children can participate in.
Centers Swimclub Alkmaar
Manege Van Poelenburgh (horse riding lesssons)
Artiance (art, music & dance)
Alcmaria Victrix Voetbal Association (soccer, softball and baseball)
Attitude Ballet School
Be Quick Bergen (gymnastics for kids in Bergen)