W.E. van Keeken, the former head of the Economic Department of the local hospital Duin en Bosch, laid the foundation for TC Bakkum in 1926 at a concrete surface closeby the hospital. The foundation he set up, TC Bakkum, was initially meant for employees of the hospital, who played tennis for fun. However, van Keeken developed his ambition for tennis, especially concerning juniors. Until the year 1953, in which he died, he was as district chief and head juniors of the KNLTB the great stimulator of tennis within the district Kennemerland. He is considered to be ‘the soul of tennis’ in this part of the Netherlands. 

The van Keeken tournament

In 1956, in the view of the then mayor of Castricum, C.F. Smeets, the unofficial club championships were given the name W.E. van Keeken tournament. At the autumn meeting in 1964, the tournament was changed to a complete juniors tournament. In the beginning, Henk and Frans Wegdam led the tournament with great enthusiasm. In 1975, Brenda van Keeken, granddaughter of our founder, took over from the brothers Wegdam as head of the tournament. As a competition player and chairman of Popeye Goldstar in Amsterdam, Brenda van Keeken was very well-connected and soon the tournament became nationally and later internationally known. Moreover, the tournament always was organized perfectly and therefore, in 1981 the tournament got the official title of the KNLTB:

‘The International Juniors Championships of the Netherlands’

The guest houses

Over the years, the tournament developed into a definition in Castricum, as well as in the district, also because of the phenomenon ‘guest house’. All participating juniors were accommodated at guest houses. This felt like one week of home for the young top players. De largest cost on the estimate of the W.E. van Keeken Tournament then thus was the compensation for the costs of the guest houses.

Change in ITF-rules
As a tradition, the juniors were accommodated at guest houses in the area. However, in 2010 the ITF-rules were changed with regard to the housing of the players. Basically, this meant that the players were not allowed to stay in the guest houses anymore, but now had to be accommodated in hotels or hostels. The reason of the ITF for this change was the well-being, especially the safety, of the players. Although we thought this aspect was taken even better care of at our tournament, the ITF could not make an exception. The tournament staff was very disappointed, as the guest houses were one of the main strengths of the tournament that made the tournament for both players and guest families a memorable experience. But since 2017 the ITF changed this rule again, this time in our favor. We are now able to accommodate players at guest houses in the area. With this change, there will be more people involved with the tournament and hopefully there will be more and more people watching.

The Staff
Since 2015 the name of the tournament has changed, there was no main sponsor, thus the ‘Biesterbos Dutch Junior Open’ changed into the ‘TC Bakkum Dutch Junior Open’. The TC Bakkum Dutch Junior Open staff, which since 1964 is responsible for the organization of the tournament, is one of the many staffs at TC Bakkum. The staff has about 16 enthusiastic TC Bakkum members, who all play tennis at the club. They organize the most important and largest international juniors tennis tournament of the Netherlands. In 1987, the staff decided to form a separate press- and sponsoringcommittee.

Since 1998 the tournament has been granted the gradation ITF category II. With this gradation, the TC Bakkum Dutch Junior Open is the highest rated and only category II tournament under 18 held in the Netherlands. Category II means that the tournament belongs to the top 25 youth tournaments around the world. The Biesterbos Open, together with the youth tournament of Wimbledon and tournaments in Germany and Switzerland, forms a strong European youth circuit and thus attracts every year participants from the top 100 of the ITF youth rankings. Every year, around 200 participants from 35 different countries around the world register for our tournament. Of course many Dutch players, of which some of the selection of the KNLTB, register as well.

Top players
In the past several current top players have made ​​their appearance at the courts of TC Bakkum. Once, Grand Slam winners as Richard Krajicek and Gustavo Kuerten belonged in the players field of Biesterbos Open, as well as players like Michiel Schapers, Paul Dogger, Menno Oosting, Brenda Schultz, Kim van der Horst, Joakim Nystrom, Marcella Mesker, Jan Siemerink, Martin Verkerk, Sebastian Grosjean, Raemon Sluiter, Sjeng Schalken, Thomas Enqvist, David Prinosil, Dominik Hrbaty, Gael Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Andrey Kuznetsov, Jarkko Nieminen, Dudi Sela, Igor Sijsling, Jesse Hutagalung, Kaia Kanepi, Tatiana Golovin, Andrea Petkovic and Dinara Safina .

Tournament information 2022 The tournament is held every year at the tennisclub TC Bakkum. The audience is spoiled with tennis on a prestigious high level throughout the week. Winner of the last edition was for the boys Filip Misolic from Austria and for the girls Mara Guth from Germany. This year the tournament will be held from June 26th until July 3, 2022. The tournament entry is free throughout the week and there is room for 300 spectators at the tribune.