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Ĳmuiden is a city in the Dutch province of North Holland, the main town of the municipality of Velsen. It lies about 17 km (10.3 mi) north of Haarlem. In the Roman era, this Velsen district was already inhabited, and archeological finds indicate there was a North Sea port of some regional importance built here. The town suffered heavy damage and demolition during World War II, because of its maritime importance.
Ĳmuiden is a fairly new city in its present form, and only came into existence in the 1870s when the North Sea Canal was dug, connecting the Amsterdam harbors to the open sea. Before the present Ĳmuiden was built, the area was known as Breesaap; it was a desolate plain where only a handful of farmers strived to make a living. In 1851 the whole area was sold to the entrepreneurs Bik and Arnold, who finally set into motion plans that had been drawn up already since 1626. The first spade hit the ground on April 8, 1865.
The Ĳmuiden name literally means “mouth of the Ĳ”, which is a hint to the importance the town has for the Amsterdam harbor. The name “Ĳmuiden” first appeared as Ĳ-muiden in lines written in 1848 by the professor and journalist (and, later, a liberal finance minister in the Van Lynden van Sandenburg Cabinet) Simon Vissering. The present Ĳmuiden form was eventually adopted in 1876, as the North Sea Canal was being completed in this section.
In 1890 it had about 1,500 inhabitants, but boomed when the Koninklijke Nederlandse Hoogovens steelworks settled in Ĳmuiden. The statistical area Ĳmuiden, which includes the surrounding countryside, has a population of 30,466. The headquarters of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Redding Maatschappij is located in Ĳmuiden.