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The dunes of Kennemerland as they have been since the Kennemers lived there.

Kennemerland is a coastal region in the northwestern Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. In includes the sand dunes north of the North Sea Canal, as well as the dunes of Zuid-Kennemerland National Park.


The term Kennemerland is mostly used to define the immediate surroundings of Haarlem.
Two panels by the Master of Alkmaar dated 1490-1510, with a Kennemer dunescape in the background.

Kennemerland gets its name from the Kennemer people, who were Frisians that fought with the Counts of Holland and lost in the Middle Ages. The name is said to derive from the Canninefates.[1] Because of the wars and all of the Dutch activity in rerouting waterways, the original borders of Kennemerland have been lost. During the 20th century, the term Kennemerland has been redefined to denote municipal regions of North Holland. Because the Kennemers according to folklore were always on the attack, many sports teams in Haarlem are called Kennemers.

Precisely who were these Kennemer people is unclear. The knights of Kennemerlant, as it was then called, were quarreling continuously over trading rights and land ownership. The rent masters of local farmers were often asked for goods from either Egmond Abbey or their local church, as well as from these knights. In North Holland during the years 900-1300, castles were continuously being built and later destroyed, and archaeologists today are still trying to piece together the various local legends as they gain hard evidence from the cold clay.

Municipalities located in Kennemerland today[edit]

On this map of the province of North Holland, the green areas show today the areas of North, Middle and South Kennemerland, while only the darker green region is roughly the original area of Kennemerland (excluding land that was formerly water and has since been pumped dry).

North Kennemerland[edit]

Middle Kennemerland (IJmond)[edit]

South Kennemerland[edit]

See also[edit]

Map from 1681 showing the area of Kennemerlant at the top.