Alphen aan den Rijn
Alphen aan den Rijn (ˈɑlfən aːn dən ˈrɛin) is a town and municipality in the western Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, in the province of South Holland
South Holland
South Holland is a province situated on the North Sea in the western part of the Netherlands. The provincial capital is The Hague and its largest city is Rotterdam.South Holland is one of the most densely populated and industrialised areas in the world...

, between Leiden and Utrecht
Utrecht (city)
Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands with a population of 312,634 on 1 Jan 2011.Utrecht's ancient city centre features...

. The town is situated on the banks of the river Oude Rijn (Old Rhine), where the river Gouwe branches off. The municipality had a population of 72,674 in 2010, and covers an area of 57.68 km² (22.3 sq mi) of which 2.61 km² (1 sq mi) is water. It also contains the remnants of a Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

A castellum is a small Roman detached fort or fortlet used as a watch tower or signal station. The Latin word castellum is a diminutive of castra , which in turn is the plural of castrum ; it is the source of the English word "castle".The term castellum was also used to refer to a settling or...


The municipality of Alphen aan den Rijn also includes the communities of Aarlanderveen and Zwammerdam
Zwammerdam is a town in the Dutch province of South Holland. It is a part of the municipality of Alphen aan den Rijn, and lies about 6 km southeast of Alphen aan de Rijn.In 2001, the town of Zwammerdam had 1709 inhabitants...

. The town is located in what is called the 'Green Heart' of the Netherlands, which is a somewhat less densely populated centre area of the Randstad
Image:Randstad_with_scale.png|400px|thumb|right|Clickable schematic map of the Randstadcircle 528 380 26 Schipholrect 426 356 498 436 Haarlemmermeerrect 399 166 479 245 Velsencircle 250 716 32 Delftcircle 220 642 60 The Hague...


The name "Alphen" is probably derived from the name of the Roman castellum Albanianae, meaning "settlement at the white water".


The area around Alphen aan den Rijn has been inhabited for 2000 years. In the Roman era, the Oude Rijn was the main branch of the Rhine River and formed the north border of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. Since the rule of Emperor Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

 (41–54 CE), divisions of the Roman army were stationed here. Consequently, several Roman fortifications were located along the Oude Rijn, including castellum Albanianae in the centre of Alphen. The Romans had also built the first bridge over the Oude Rijn. Alphen was therefore an important commercial site in the area until Germanic raids ended that in 240 CE.

After recurring problems with flooding, especially in Utrecht and Leiden, the Oude Rijn was dammed at Wijk bij Duurstede
Wijk bij Duurstede
- The city of Wijk bij Duurstede :The city is located on the Rhine. At Wijk bij Duurstede, the Kromme Rijn branches off, and the main branch is called Lek River downstream from Wijk bij Duurstede....

 in 1122, thereby making the Lek River
Lek River
The Lek is a river in the western Netherlands of some 60 km in length. It is the continuation of the Nederrijn after the Kromme Rijn branches off at the town of Wijk bij Duurstede. The main westbound waterway is hereafter called the Lek River...

 the main branch of the Rhine. The Oude Rijn has not flooded since. During the Middle Ages, Alphen was a fiefdom
A fee was the central element of feudalism and consisted of heritable lands granted under one of several varieties of feudal tenure by an overlord to a vassal who held it in fealty in return for a form of feudal allegiance and service, usually given by the...

 called Alphen en Rietveld.

In the 17th century, Alphen became prominent again as a hub for commerce. The Oude Rijn was used for boat traffic; there are still portions along the river where the towpath
A towpath is a road or trail on the bank of a river, canal, or other inland waterway. The purpose of a towpath is to allow a land vehicle, beasts of burden, or a team of human pullers to tow a boat, often a barge...

 is present.

The current municipality was formed in 1918 through the amalgamation of the smaller municipalities of Alphen
Alphen (South Holland)
Alphen was a municipality in the Dutch province of South Holland. It consisted of the village of Alphen; now called Alphen aan den Rijn. That village was much smaller than the current town; the municipality only contained the part south of the Oude Rijn....

, Aarlanderveen, and Oudshoorn
Oudshoorn is a former village in the Dutch province of South Holland. It was located on the Oude Rijn, opposite the village of Alphen, with which it merged to form the city of Alphen aan den Rijn....

. In 1964, the municipality of Zwammerdam was added as well.

During the Second World War, the majority of Jews from Alphen were deported and subsequently murdered, only a few survived. After the war, the Jewish congregation was disbanded and merged with the one in Leiden.

Since 1950, the city began to grow rapidly. A large new neighbourhood was built on the north side. And since the 1990s, a similar new development was built at the city's south side. Now Alphen aan den Rijn is mostly a commuter
Commuting is regular travel between one's place of residence and place of work or full time study. It sometimes refers to any regular or often repeated traveling between locations when not work related.- History :...

During the past five years, a large part of the town centre has undergone a full urban renewal. Many older buildings built in the 1950s and earlier have been demolished to make place for modern architecture. This "masterplan"
Urban planning
Urban planning incorporates areas such as economics, design, ecology, sociology, geography, law, political science, and statistics to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities....

 includes the addition of a new public square next to the riverbank, the construction of a performing arts theatre/cinema, an upgrade of local shops and the creation of pedestrian streets. As of 2006, all of these projects have been finished.

On 9 April 2011, a gunman opened fire at a shopping centre
Alphen aan den Rijn shopping mall shooting
On 9 April 2011, six people were killed by a gunman who entered the Ridderhof mall in Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands, a town approximately south-west of Amsterdam. Using a rifle, 24-year-old Tristan van der Vlis shot several people and then killed himself, reportedly with a different firearm...

 in Alphen aan den Rijn, killing six people and subsequently taking his own life.


  • Dutch
    White people
    White people is a term which usually refers to human beings characterized, at least in part, by the light pigmentation of their skin...

    : 80.7%
  • Black people
    Black people
    The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

    : 2.7%
  • European: 8.9%
  • Arabs: 4.0%
  • Other (non-Western allochtones
    Allochtoon is a Dutch word , literally meaning "originating from another country"...

    ): 3.7%:


Alphen aan den Rijn has the following attractions:
  • Avifauna Bird Park – the world's first dedicated bird park, opened in 1950.
  • Archeon
    Archeon (Netherlands)
    Archeon is an archeological living museum in Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands, which opened in 1994. It brings the past to life in various historical settings from various historical periods of Dutch history with reenactors playing the parts of people from those times...

     – a theme park about Dutch History, with 43 replica
    A replica is a copy closely resembling the original concerning its shape and appearance. An inverted replica complements the original by filling its gaps. It can be a copy used for historical purposes, such as being placed in a museum. Sometimes the original never existed. For example, Difference...

     buildings from prehistoric, Roman, and Medieval eras. It opened in 1994.
  • Zegersloot Recreation Park – park with an artificial lake, popular for hiking, cycling, windsurfing, wakeboarding and water skiing.


  • 20 van Alphen – International 20 kilometres run. Held every year (since 1952) on the second Sunday of March. The 2006 event was marked by a world record when Haile Gebrselassie
    Haile Gebrselassie
    Haile Gebrselassie is an Ethiopian long-distance track and road running athlete. He won two Olympic gold medals over 10,000 metres and four World Championship titles in the event. He won the Berlin Marathon four times consecutively and also had three straight wins at the Dubai Marathon...

     posted a time of 1 hour 11 minutes 37 seconds for 25 km. This was his 22nd world record breaking performance.
  • Year market – third Wednesday in September. Regional products.
  • Lakeside Festival – end of August. Music festival near Zegersloot.
  • Old timer day – second Saturday of September. Old cars, tractors, steam engines.
  • LAURA – four-day bicycle event Leiden, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and Alphen aan den Rijn which is the start and finish place, is held the first week of July.
  • Tean International – Challenger level ATP Tour tennis tournament, played at the Alphense Tennis Club, from 30 August to 8 September 2008.
  • Midwinter Fair and Midzomer FairFantasy
    Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

     festivals at the Archeon.
  • Vakantiespel – One of the largest events for children between 6 and 12 year old in the Netherlands. Held every year in august.

Public transport

The town is served by Alphen aan den Rijn railway station
Alphen aan den Rijn railway station
Alphen a/d Rijn railway station is a railway station in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands.-History:The railway station was opened in 1878, as part of a railway connection between Leiden and Woerden...

. It is just south east of the town centre.


In Total there are 11 parties in the city council that consist out of 35 councilmen. The VVD
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
The People's Party for Freedom and Democracy is a conservative-liberal political party located in the Netherlands. The VVD supports private enterprise in the Netherlands and is often perceived as an economic liberal party in contrast to the social-liberal Democrats 66 alongside which it sits in...

 is currently the largest party in Alphen aan den Rijn with 15,9% of all votes. The second and third parties are PvdA
Labour Party (Netherlands)
The Labour Party , is a social-democratic political party in the Netherlands. Since the 2003 Dutch General Election, the PvdA has been the second largest political party in the Netherlands. The PvdA was a coalition member in the fourth Balkenende cabinet following 22 February 2007...

 and CDA
Christian Democratic Appeal
The Christian Democratic Appeal is a centre-right Dutch Christian democratic political party. It suffered severe losses in the 2010 elections and fell from the first to the fourth place...

, respectively. Bas Eenhoorn
Bas Eenhoorn
Herman Bastiaan Eenhoorn is a Dutch politician and former civil servant. He is a member of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy . He currently serves as acting mayor of Alphen aan den Rijn...

 of the VVD is the current acting Mayor. The council of mayor and alderman (college van burgermeester en Wethouders) run the city on a day to day basis and report to the city council.

Current aldermen in Alphen aan den Rijn are:
  • S.J.P. Lyczak (VVD)
  • M.H. du Chatinier (ChristenUnie
    The ChristianUnion , abbreviated to CU, is a Dutch Christian democratic political party. A centrist party, the CU's policies combine social conservatism and soft euroscepticism with more centre-left positions on economic, immigration, and environmental issues.Founded in 2000 as a merger of the...

  • C.J. van Velzen (CDA)
  • H.I.P Oppatja (PVDA)
  • T. Hoekstra (VVD)

Notable natives

  • J.C. Bloem
    J.C. Bloem
    Jakobus Cornelis Bloem was a Dutch poet and essayist. Between 1921 and 1958 he published fourteen volumes of poetry. In 1949 he won the Constantijn Huygensprijs, one of the country's highest literary awards, and in 1952 the P. C. Hooft Award award for his literary oeuvre...

     (1887–1966), poet
  • Petrus Wernink
    Petrus Wernink
    Petrus Adrianus Wernink was a Dutch sailor who competed in the 1920 Summer Olympics....

     (1895–1971), sailor
  • Matthijs van Heijningen
    Matthijs van Heijningen
    Matthijs van Heijningen is a Dutch film producer. He is one of the country's most successful producers, and became known for a series of commercial successes and for screen adaptations of literary works. His collection is now housed in the Filmmuseum.-External links:...

     (born 1944), film producer
  • Wouter van Pelt
    Wouter van Pelt
    Wouter van Pelt is a former Dutch field hockey player, who played 236 international matches for the Netherlands, in which he scored 21 goals. The defender made his debut for the Dutch on March 27, 1989 in a match against England. He played in the Dutch League for HDM and Breda...

     (born 1968), hockey player
  • Arjan van Heusden
    Arjan van Heusden
    Arjan van Heusden is a Dutch former professional football goalkeeper who played much of his career in the English Football League.-Playing career:...

     (born 1972), footballer
  • Evert-Jan 't Hoen
    Evert-Jan 't Hoen
    Evert-Jan Axel Charles 't Hoen is a Dutch baseball player.'t Hoen represented the Netherlands at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, in which the Dutch finished sixth...

     (born 1975), baseball player
  • Wilbert Pennings
    Wilbert Pennings
    Wilbert Bernard Roger Pennings is a Dutch high jumper. He is a thirteen-time Dutch champion and holds the national indoor and outdoor records....

     (born 1975), high jumper
  • Jeannette Pennings
    Jeannette Pennings
    Jeannette Pennings is a Dutch bobsledder and athlete. The high jumper Wilbert Pennings is her brother. She started with international bobsleigh competitions in 1999. She is the runner in a 2-bob mostly alongside Ilse Broeders. Broeders and Pennings appeared on their first Olympics at the 2002...

     (born 1977), athlete
  • Martin Verkerk
    Martin Verkerk
    Martin Willem Verkerk is a retired Dutch tennis player. As a relatively unknown player, he had a brilliant run at the French Open in 2003, reaching the final before losing to Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero...

     (born 1978), tennis player
  • Salah Edin
    Salah Edin
    Abid Tounssi, also known as Salah Edin , is a Dutch rapper. He was raised in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands. He lived in Morocco for about 2 years...

     (born 1981), rapper
  • John Heitinga
    John Heitinga
    John Gijsbert Alan "Johnny" Heitinga is a Dutch footballer who plays as a defender for English Premier League club Everton and the Dutch national team. A product of Jong Ajax, he previously played for AFC Ajax and Atlético Madrid, before signing for Everton in 2009. Heitinga previously represented...

    (born 1983), footballer

External links

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