The Inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in the Netherlands contains ICH of which the communities, groups or individuals involved have written a safeguarding plan. Those plans are reviewed by an independent review committee. Every two years an evaluation of the safeguarding takes place.


The highlight of the annual eight-day Village Festival Santpoort is the short track race. The short track race is the biggest and most important part of the more than 40 elements of the festival and is organised in the centre of the village (Hoofdstraat) and visited by an estimated 8,000 people. This event is also visited by former residents of Santpoort, far beyond the country's borders. The race is usually held from 1.30 pm to 6.30 pm. The visitors can bet on the various horses through various types of betting. Preparations for the event start in the autumn, aimed at the municipality, members, sponsors, the Short Track League, more than 400 volunteers and other people or parties involved.

In the month leading up to the start, preparations were made to dot all the i's and cross all the t's. During the Village Festival, the entire village is covered with horse-race flags. A day before the race, the Hoofdstraat over a length of 400 meters is made car-free and the street is swept. Early in the morning, the placing of the crowd control fences begins, which are set up consecutively along the entire track. All necessary measures are taken regarding safety, sound system, no-entry signs, and barriers. Traffic controllers will be present all day at the ends of the track and in all side streets.

The race committee will ensure that the horse trots according to the regulations. There are strict safety requirements for humans and animals, such as the presence of a veterinarian, a ban on the use of a whip, a doping control, and a heat protocol. With regard to the safety requirements for spectators, the security plan and the licence stipulate how many security guards must be present during the competition. After the final, near the start of the short track, the prize-giving ceremony takes place. The main prize is a half ‘anker’ of wine (23 bottles). Cash prizes are available for 1st to 6th place.


The organisation is carried out by the Harddraverij-Vereniging Santpoort en Omstreken (Harness Race Association for Santpoort and Surrounding Area) in close consultation with the municipality of Velsen. The Association was awarded the Royal Badge in 2011. The mayor of Velsen, who is also a resident of the village of Santpoort, is also personally closely involved in the organisation of the Village Festival of which the Short Track is one of the main pillars. The chairman of the Harddraverij- Vereniging regularly visits the mayor to discuss the course of the Village Festival. The NDR (Dutch Trotting and Race Sport) is one of the parties by launching the race and providing the race committee. The Short Track League is actively involved in the race calendar, contacts with owners, trainers and drivers, and cooperation with the associations.

For decades, the closing ceremony and prize-giving have taken place in the former depot in the Hoofdstraat where the Short Track is also held.

An estimated 8,000 people visit the Short Track, some 6,000 of whom come from the municipality of Velsen and the remainder from the wider area, consisting of former residents of Santpoort, some of whom live far beyond the national borders, and fans of short track racing who visit all the short tracks.


Even before 1752, there were competitions and bets between farmers and other horse owners. In those days, the horse was the only means of transport and there were always owners who thought their horse was the best and fastest. In that respect, little has changed. 'Bet my horse wins?'

Since 1752 there has been an official short track. Documents of this are available in the Noord-Hollands Archive. In the past 260 years, there have only been eight abstentions, mainly due to wars and, in 2020, the corona pandemic. It was Maria van Schuijlenburg, manager of the pub De Weijman, who took the initiative to organise the Short Track Santpoort. She provided the prizes for the Short Track, namely a silver whip and an ‘anker’ wine (46 bottles). Around 1850, the rider of a participating horse was called a 'rider'. From 1886 onwards, they spoke of 'pikeur' and in the following year of 'driver', as 'two-wheeled carts' were then used.

Initially, the Short Track was often organised by the proprietor of a pub. Over the years, the Short Track developed from a sport practised mainly by farmers and country people into a popular entertainment for the whole village and its surroundings. In 1936, the present-day Harddraverij-Vereniging Santpoort en Omstreken was founded, after which the Short Track developed into what is now an eight-day village festival, with currently more than 40 events, in which the horse is central. These events include ring-tilting, show jumping competition, carriage day, gymkhana and a pony and horse inspection.

In addition, many other events have been added to the Village Festival over the years, such as a cycle race, running races, coffee concert, agricultural day and, of course, the necessary fun and nostalgic events for all age groups. All events are free of charge. The Village Festival will be concluded with a grand fireworks display.


Safeguard actions


  • Through communication, many efforts are made to keep the village involved in the Short Track. The Harddraverij-Vereniging issues press releases on a regular basis throughout the year, with, of course, a build-up of tension towards the event itself.
  • The communication plan details the various actions and plans for the various target groups (residents (members), politicians/officials/councillors, drivers, owners, residents of the racecourse, the hospitality industry, entrepreneurs, and shopkeepers (sponsors)).
  • Because the harness race only takes place once a year, entrepreneurs and shopkeepers are involved in the organisation of the harness race halfway through the year.
  • All board members have their own list of sponsors (network) which they maintain periodically, thus involving the sponsors in the short track all year round.
  • The chairman of the Harddraverij-Vereniging Santpoort en omstreken is a member of the Association of Short Tracks (in which approximately 25 short track associations from all over the Netherlands are affiliated). The board meets an average of four times a year. The developments in the trotting and racing sport are central to the meeting.
  • During the so-called 'board trip' (on average once every two years), the board members visit a trotting stable, trainer, or driver to keep abreast of current developments in the trotting and racing sport.
  • Within the Harddraverij-Vereniging, the committee 'horse events' keeps an eye on the legislation and regulations; this knowledge is fed back to the board.
  • Within the association a group of volunteers is active to compile the archives of the Harddraverij-Vereniging. From various attics of (former) board members they collect and filter various materials.
  • The website and social media are regularly updated and supplemented.
  • Cooperation with other short track centres is being intensified.
  • The four short tracks in the IJmond region (IJmuiden, Beverwijk, Heemskerk and Santpoort) are cooperating in the form of a regional competition. The performance of the drivers and racehorses determine in this competition who wins the IJmond Driver’s Prize.
  • Continue to involve the sponsors in the preparations through sponsor evenings.
  • Involving local associations in the short track to ensure the flow of volunteers.
  • Arranging traffic controllers with other associations, for example.
  • Ensuring involvement and cooperation with the local community.
  • In the public sector, the Harddraverij-Vereniging cooperates with the mayor and aldermen (regular (informal) consultations), informs the councillors early on about the programme and new developments and makes agreements with the police, fire brigade and security guards about security.
  • Consciously take into account to reach all target groups when programming the Village Festival Santpoort. There are events for all age groups (youth and seniors).
  • To obtain sufficient rejuvenation in the organisation, the 'Fencing Team' functions as a springboard for young organisational talent. In addition, young members are encouraged to come up with ideas for new events.
  • It is being considered whether the sponsor team should be enlarged. The current team includes two busy men. Perhaps a third member should be added.
  • Actions are being developed to recruit new members.
  • Because a large part of the events is carried out with horses, animal welfare is a point of attention. Rules are that a veterinarian is always present according to protocol, the stable area is designed according to animal welfare insights, there is a doping control, use of the whip is prohibited and there is a heat protocol. In addition, during the event the public is regularly asked via the speaker out of respect for the participants (human and animal) not to perform any unexpected actions.



Harddraverijvereniging Santpoort en Omstreken.
Postbus 537
2070 AM