Bussum in a nutshell
The History of Bussum
Bussum was first mentioned in records back in 1306. Old maps show an immense heathland, with a scattering of smallholdings, sheep pens and woodland scenery. Bussum, situated at a very short distance from the fortified town of Naarden, was placed under the latter's rule by its citizenry in 1369. After centuries of oppression, four hundred Bussum citizens managed to break free from the town, and Bussum achieved its independence in 1817.
Those days the citizens of Bussum lived in penury, and the community "enjoyed" an annual growth of a mere ten to fourteen. The advent of a railway-connection in 1874 instantly made cities like Amsterdam much more accessible and at last a promising future seemed to be in store for Bussum. Well-to-do Amsterdam families with considerable incomes discovered the tranquillity and space within the municipal borders and had themselves homes built on the purple plains. Bussum expanded into a typical commuter village.
Many things changed during the years of independence, and in the twentieth century the one-time heathland village boasted a population of over 31,000. This inevitably led to the need of adjusting the service levels. The want of extra public housing; accommodation for companies and shops; traffic and transport; sports and recreation all had to be catered for within a somewhat limited area.
Development and Future
After the Second World War, Bussum was a relatively important place with an impressive village centre, a considerable number of industries, and both villa- and garden suburbs. Our community boasted some 42,000 inhabitants by the late 1960's. The 1980's saw a considerable number of surplus departures, but the process of gradual decline was stopped in the 1990's. The prognosis for the years ahead is that the number of inhabitants will fluctuate around 31,000.
As over 31,000 people live in a very small area, Bussum has come to display every aspect of urbanization: a diversity of people, buildings, services and economic activity. An important aspect when choosing Bussum as a place of residence is the availability of railway- and busstations, making it readily accessible,which is very much a trump card to play, considering the congested road system in this particular area.
Bussum has a substantial density of population: with 3,881 people / sq. km, it is the highest among the Gooi communities, against an average 1,275 / sq. km. for the Gooi and Vechtstreek areas. The percentage of ageing fellow-citizens is relatively high at around 21%. Bussum and Laren are the two towns in this region with the highest numbers.
Bussum has, however, shown an increase in rejuvenation. Only a few years ago did Bussum rank among the three towns with the highest figures in this specific sector. As a result of the rejuvenation process which has got under way since then, Bussum is confronted with pressures on schooling, childcare and other services. The amount of divorces in the Gooi and Vechtstreek area can be classed as average, which also applies to the average number of people per household.
The average home occupation in Bussum is the lowest in the area at 2,2. The development of new homes is slightly behind in comparison with other towns in the Gooi area. The social and business life quality is largely dependent on the services provided by volunteers. These services have come under pressure as a result of the changing and more individual life-style, even in Bussum.
As far as size goes, Bussum is relatively small. Nevertheless, it has many characteristics of a larger town, such as variety in social structure, and therefore a lively atmosphere. Our community spirit is thriving, although there may be some concern about an adequate number of volunteers for the near future.
Bussum has a very rich cultural heritage: it is a writers' village (Nescio came walking in from Amsterdam), a musical village (clubs which have been in existence for over a hundred years), an architectural village (houses by De Bazel, Berlage and a church by Cuypers), a theatrical village, a television village ( the home-town of Dutch television).
It also has a rich cultural present: a monumental village (the villa estate is an urban conservation area with fine examples of the Amsterdam School), a drama village (many drama clubs and a theatre with regional relevance), a musical village, a statue village (many pieces of art in a public area), an artists' village, a film village, etc.
One of the best known locations in Bussum is Spant!, ranged among the Dutch top 10 locations for hall hire and conference centres. In addition to this, Spant! also functions as a theatre, which means many different types of performances can take place here. Bussum is also home to many music clubs, each aimed at specific types of music, from drum and show band to oratoria clubs; a number of drama clubs for both young and old; a cinema, a theatre and two libraries.
The old village is quite recognisable: street patterns and buildings date back to the late nineteenth century. The streets are relatively narrow and the historic buildings are both varied and small. The garden town concept from the early 20th century is visible throughout the centre. However, every part from that period has its own scale - usually dependent on the social class it was meant for at the time (from rather modest to grand) - and of ever-changing character.
Buildings from the 1900's within a free land division area have quite different features than those from the1930's set in a tight urban development area.
South Bussum was built in the post-war era. Two separate quarters, each following the garden-village theme, but in their own language - the language of redevelopment. These districts have a fair amount of high-rise building, ranging from tenement to deck access flat. An important aspect of how the two districts in turn meet the Bussum heathland is accentuated by a few modest blocks of flats in the forefront: this is where greenery and built-up area seem to merge.
Bussum has not expanded any further since 1965, but many buildings were either given a new lease of life, or replaced with new ones.