Once a fishermen’s beacon for ships at sea, now a stunning view point!
Even before 1605, there was already a beacon in Katwijk. A fire would be lit here at night as a warning (beacon) for Katwijk fishermen. The earliest mention of this lighthouse is in ‘De Spiegel der Zeevaart’, an old seaman’s book from 1592.
A new lighthouse
Partly due to coastal erosion, the old lighthouse slid down the dune and was destroyed. In 1605, a new one was built, this time further inland. Its foundations contain ‘kloostermoppen’, old bricks similar in style to Roman bricks, which possibly originate from the first lighthouse. This makes this Katwijk building one of the oldest lighthouses in the Netherlands.
Lighthouse no longer in use
The light in Katwijk’s lighthouse was a so-called fishermen’s beacon. It would only be lit when the village’s own boats were out at sea. With the disappearance of the traditional Katwijk fishing boats, known locally as ‘bomschuiten’, which used to land on the beach until about 1912, the lighthouse lost its purpose. Consequently, it was never equipped with a powerful electric flashing light. The lighthouse is owned by the municipality of Katwijk and is a national heritage monument.
Open to the public
In the summer months, you can climb the lighthouse. From Monday to Saturday inclusive (between 10 and 12 a.m. and between 2 and 5 p.m.), you can look out across the sea from a height of about 30 metres, with The Hague and Scheveningen (20 km) in the south and in clear weather, the Europoort in the background. Leiden (10 km) is in the east and in the north, you can spot Noordwijk, Zandvoort, and weather permitting, even IJmuiden and the blast-furnaces of Tata Steel (35 km).