Although there were plans for races at Zandvoort before World War II, the first street race was held on June 3, 1939. A real circuit was not built until after the war, built on communications roads built by the German army during its occupation in the Second World War. The circuit mainly designed by John Hugenholtz.
The circuit was inaugurated on August, 7, 1948. Next year, in 1949 the circuit hosted the Zandvoort Grand Prix. The following year, the race was called the Dutch Grand Prix, and it was included in the Formula One World Championship in Template:F1. It remained on the F1 calendar for 30 out of the next 34 years. In Template:F1, the Dutch Grand Prix was held for the last time. The company that commercially ran the circuit (CENAV) went out of business, marking the end of Circuit Zandvoort. The track, owned by the municipality of Zandvoort, was not used for some time and part of the grounds and approximately half of the track was sold in 1987 to Vendorado, a Bungalow park developer at that time. A plan to save the remaining track was made by a group of people and companies. Circuit Park Zandvoort was born, and the track was remodeled to an interim Club Circuit of Template:Km to mi in the summer of 1989.
In 1995, CPZ got the "A Status" of the Dutch government and began building an international Grand Prix Circuit. This project was finished in 2001 when, after the track was redesigned to a Template:Km to mi long circuit and a new pits building was realized (by HPG, the development company of John Hugenholtz jr, son of the former director), a new grandstand was situated along the long straight. One of the major events that is currently held at the circuit, along with DTM and A1GP, is the BP Ultimate Masters of Formula 3, where Formula 3 cars of several national racing series compete with each other (originally called Marlboro Masters, before tobacco advertising ban).
The circuit gained popularity because of its fast, sweeping corners such as Scheivlak as well as the "Tarzanbocht" (Tarzan corner) hairpin at the end of the start/finish straight. Tarzanbocht is the most famous corner in the circuit which provides excellent overtaking opportunities. This corner is reportedly named after a local character who had earned the nickname of Tarzan and only wanted to give up his vegetable garden in the dunes if the track's designers named a nearby corner after him. On the other hand, many different stories about Tarzan Corner are known.