Besides its beaches, Noordwijk is also known for its bulb flower fields. It is located in an area called the "Dune and Bulb Region" (Duin- en Bollenstreek).
Noordwijk is also the location of the headquarters for the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), part of the European Space Agency (ESA). ESA's visitors' centre Space Expo is a permanent space exhibition.
A place of pilgrimage: Noordwijk’s history dates back to 2000 BC. This is when the first traces of inhabitants were recorded, with the torture of Jeroen the priest in 857. Jeroen, a Scottish Benedictine monk who came to Noordwijk in 847 to carry out his mission work and build a chapel, could have been the first priest of Noordwijk. His life came to an abrupt end in 857 when he was beheaded by ransacking Normans. His name lived on however, as more than a hundred years later in 980 a Roman chapel was built in his honour. This chapel became a popular destination for pilgrims. In 1303 a large stone church was built on the site of the chapel, known as the Middle Aged gothic Great Church, or Sint Jeroen's. Sint Jeroen's skull served as an important relic. Noordwijk soon became known as a place of pilgrimage, which was officially confirmed by the Bishop of Utrecht in 1429. Sint Jeroen's church developed over time into a pilgrims’ church, which provided Noordwijk with a considerable income. However, the Eighty Years' War put an end to this. Only by paying a substantial sum to William of Orange's army could the church be saved during the Iconoclastic Fury of 1566. To be on the safe side however, all Catholic objects were removed from the church; including the most important relic, Sint Jeroen’s skull. Tradition has it that his head lies buried somewhere in the church, but nobody knows exactly where. Towards the end of 1800 a new Roman Catholic church was erected in honour of Sint Jeroen. To this day the church's altar houses the skeletal remains of Sint Jeroen.
Fishermen: The first inhabitants of Noordwijk were most likely fishermen. The first "vierboet" was built in 1444, on the site of the current Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin. A "vierboet" is a fire site on a hill for helping the fishermen find their way back to the beach at night. Back in 1474 Noordwijk had an extensive fleet of 38 large & small ships, which left from the beach as there was no harbour. They caught herring, cod, haddock, whiting and plaice.