Since the 17th century artists have visited Katwijk to study and paint the local light, the beach and the sea. For years the existence of an artists' colony in Katwijk has been forgotten. Activities of the ‘Stichting Kunstvereeniging Katwijk’ (Art Foundation Katwijk) show a new generation of artists returning to Katwijk who prefer to paint outdours. By means of exhibitions and publications The Katwijks Museum wants to make people aware of this phenomenon: a present-day artists' village is arising.
In the second half of the 19th century, an artists' colony arose in Katwijk. Artists from home and abroad painted ‘en plein air’ or outdoors. Usually they were admirers and followers of the ‘Haagse School’ (Hague School). Favourite subjects to put on canvas were the traditional costumes of Katwijk, the ‘bomschuiten’ (traditional fishing vessels that could be drawn on the beach) and the fish auction on the beach. Famous artist were Jan Toorop, Willy Sluiter en B.J. Blommers.