The Land of Leeghwater
The Land of Leeghwater, located north-west of the Nationaal Landschap Laag Holland and east of the city of Alkmaar, is exceptionally beautiful. This typically Dutch countryside features various famous pieces of reclaimed land from the Golden Age.
In 1612, the BEEMSTER was the first of the great lakes to be reclaimed; SCHERMER was the last to follow in 1635.
This is also where you find historic villages such as DE RIJP. In the 17th century, herring fishing and whaling brought prosperity, which in turn resulted in the establishment of beautiful town halls, warehouses, houses and churches.
The island on which the villages are located is currently known as EILANDSPOLDER, a bird meadow area with plenty of water and lovely walking trails and bicycle paths on the old dykes. The Eilandspolder itself has waterways which are only accessible by whisper boat, canoe or excursion boat.
Farmers of the Land of Leeghwater
The Land of Leeghwater region as we have come to know and appreciate it, depends very much on its managers: farmers. Increasing globalisation has put pressure on the operational management of farmers in the Land of Leeghwater, and a healthy economic enterprise is to be ensured by an increase in scale and/or a supplement in income resulting from rural expansion. While herring and whale fishing used to provide a good living, this has shifted to income from recreation and selling products from home.
Like many other rural areas, the Land of Leeghwater can be explored in more ways than from the road. In recent years, a varied range of agriculture-related activities has emerged, and VVV De Rijp is happy to provide information about the options. The Agrarische Vereniging Water, Land en Dijken, for example, has various packages to choose from.
The name of Land of Leeghwater was derived from Jan Adriaanszoon Leeghwater (1575 -1650), a famous Dutch hydraulics engineer from the Golden Age. This brilliant mill builder and engineer certainly deserves to be recorded in Dutch history.
The Land of Leeghwater consists of peatland and reclaimed land. When Jan Leeghwater was born, these peatlands were vulnerable islands surrounded by large waters.
Leeghwater focused on protecting ‘his’ island (‘t Schermereylandt) and village against the water and ensure new prosperity by reclaiming the lakes. During the dyking in of the Beemster (1612), he was the supervisor for the building and adjusting of 26 mills used to reclaim the lake, as he was for the Purmer (1622), the Heerhugowaard (1625), the Wormer (1626), the Schermer (1635) and the Starnmeer (1643).
He turned high water into low water, and soon his name Leeghwater (which means Empty water in Dutch) became a synonym for “Laag water’ (low water).
Jan Adriaanszoon Leeghwater was also responsible for the specifications and drawings of the town hall and weigh house of De Rijp, where nowadays VVV De Rijp is located.
Originele pentekening van molen door Leeghwater (1632).
The tourist office is situated in the weighing house:
Kleine Dam 1
1483 BJ De Rijp
Telephone: +31 (02)99-671979
During the winter you can only reach us by e-mail.
In June every friday, saturday and sunday between 12.00 and 15.00 hours.
From july 1st. till end of September all days open between 12.00 and 15.00 hours.
Travel to De Rijp from Amsterdam
De Rijp is an easy 45-minute trip from Amsterdam. Busline 305 travels to De Rijp twice an hour. Look out for the bus on the river side of Amsterdam Central Station.
Take advantage of the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket which offers unlimited travel on buses, trams, trains and metros in the Amsterdam Area for 24 hours for: 1 day - € 19.50, 2 days - € 28.00, 3 days - € 36.50.