North Holland, land extracted from the water
North-Holland is historically probably the most closely connected province with the State of the Netherlands. In fact, at the end of the 9th century, the Netherlands more or less originated here. Noord-Holland is therefore the province where the capital of the Netherlands is located, namely Amsterdam. As mentioned, North Holland originated from land reclaimed from the North Sea and the Wadden Sea.
The North Hollanders have always fought against the water. There are no more stubborn dike builders than the North Hollanders are sometimes said. If you take a card from around 1500 you will immediately see that there are major differences.
Amsterdam capitol city
Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands and known worldwide and not always for the best reasons. Amsterdam is intersected by the river Amstel where Amsterdam owes its name. In the past, Amsterdam was called Amstelerdam, but the population called the city Mokum, a name that you still hear a lot today.
The money that was needed to make Noord-Holland dry came to a large extent from shipping and in particular from the Dutch East India Company or perhaps better known as the VOC.
The Zaan region
Zaandam was the result of all kinds of goods coming into the country from overseas through the VOC. Zaandam thus became the first large industrial area in the Netherlands. Nowadays, Zaandam, with its location on the river Zaan, is a major tourist attraction.
In particular the Zaanse schans where you can still see houses and mills that are maintained according to tradition and all have the same color. Once there must have been 600 working windmills here.
Connection to the Northsea
Between 1824 and 1875, two canals, the Northseacanal and the Amsterdam-Rijn canal, were dug out that would connect the Zuiderzee through Het IJ in Amsterdam to the North Sea. As the route to the hinterland became more navigable, an economy that had collapsed grew like no other.
The borders of Noord-Holland as we know them today were established in 1840. This was then without the Wieringermeer. The Wieringermeer would fall dry in 1930.
We are in laying front of Pampus
The Theorem of Amsterdam was a line of defense in the case of an advancing enemy. The Theorem of Amsterdam was a water line that, in case of an attacking enemy, could flood large parts of Noord-Holland around Amsterdam. Remains of this water line can still be found around the city of Amsterdam. For example, the island of Pampus and the fort built on it are part of the Stelling van Amsterdam. The fort was built between 1887 and 1895 and would accommodate 200 men.
However, the fort as such has never been used and over the years the fort and the island have been rapidly becoming impoverished. A team of volunteers took care of the island and the fort and restored and maintained the fort. During the holiday season, boats sail up and down and you can visit Pampus, which is definitely worth it. The expression “Laying for pampus”, which means “being exhausted”, is derived from the ships that used to have to wait for Pampus for high tide to be able to sail further to Amsterdam.
Hoorn and the VOC
Those who are interested in the glory days of the VOC should not forget Hoorn. Hoorn probably shows the most of its past in the VOC period of all cities. Hoorn originated from the settlement of Danish and German merchants sometime in the 14th century.
If you walk through the old part of Hoorn or through the old harbor quarter, you will come across beautiful buildings and facades everywhere that radiate the grandeur of that time.
How you look at it or turn around the province of Noord-Holland is of great importance in Dutch history. For that reason alone you should definitely visit the province and all its splendor.
- noord-holland-dijk: Afbeelding van Anita Menger via Pixabay
- hoorn-skyline: By Sjef Schoenmakers - File:Hoornse Hop.JPG, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3707548