As you wander through De Rijp with its beautifully restored 17th century houses, you will appreciate why the famous water engineer Jan Adriaanszoon Leeghwater referred to it as "the finest village in Holland".
Centuries of history are still evident. The unique town hall with its weighing scales and Jan van der Heyden fire pump. The great Gothic church with its 23 stained glass windows. Picturesque farms and half-wooden townhouses all bear witness to the style and glory of the past steeped in a long tradition of whaling fleets and herring fishing. Local guides are pleased to provide more detailed information.
Make sure and visit the museums In 't Houten Huis and the Jan Boon Museum or the period town halls of Graft (1613) and De Rijp (1630). Certainly worth seeing is the famous tombstone floor of the Dutch Reformed Church in Graft and the Mennonite church in Noordeinde.
The villages are rich in shops, galleries, artists and excellent restaurants. Bi-annually, De Rijp has become a legend in the region with its Dickens-style Midwinter Festival.
On April 26 2014 the Dutch Royal Family celebrated the King's birthday ("Koningsdag") in De Rijp.
A short course on the history of De Rijp
In the early 17th century, de Rijp experienced enormous growth and development as a result of the successful herring fishing and in 1607 the village became independent from Graft. From then on each village had their own council and town hall, the latter completed in 1613 in Graft and in 1630 in de Rijp. In 1650 a third harbour was dug out for around 75 herring fishing boats, called "haringbuizen". Still the seamen of de Rijp and Graft sought further expansion and turned to whale fishing. Around 1680 there was a fleet of 19 Greenland whaling vessels, which were too large to sail to de Rijp and therefore moored up in Zaandam. There the whale-oil (train-oil) and other whale products were transferred to smaller boats for the last part of the trip to de Rijp. The draining of the Beemster in 1612 and the Schermer in 1633 meant that de Rijp no longer had a direct route for vessels to reach the Zuiderzee.
In the 17th century there were three major fires in de Rijp. The most devastating of these was the fire of 6th January 1654, which destroyed two thirds of the village. The reconstruction of the village was initially possible because of its accumulated affluence, but this diminished in the 18th century, largely due to the scarcity of whales caused by the whalers themselves. In addition, the wars fought at sea between Holland and England were a great handicap for the whalers. These problems combined to halt economic development in de Rijp, with the result that from then on the village changed very little in appearance.
Jan Adriaenszoon Leeghwater (1575-1650)
Leeghwater, the most famous person born in de Rijp, was a driving force behind the draining of the Beemster in 1612 and also the creation of other polders. A carpenter like his father, he was also the architect, designer, engineer, and builder of windmills. In 1630 he designed the Town Hall and Weighing House: his initials J.A.L.W. and the year 1632 can be clearly seen on the wooden arm of the scales. Unfortunately the house of Leeghwater's birth no longer exists. There is however a bust of him in Midden-Beemster.
Jan Boon (1758-1847)
Jan Boon was the last sea-going merchant in de Rijp. He was also the last man in Holland to have permission to be buried in a church (Grote Kerk)
Extremely rich but childless, he left his wealth to the village. To this day the Jan Boon foundation manages his money to support local activities. More information about him can be found in the Jan boon museum, in 't Walhuis, where in the summer months you can also see various temporary exhibitions.
Jan Janszn. Weltevree (1595 - 1657)
This Rijper seaman was the first European ever to work at he court of the king of Korea, following the shipwreck in 1626 which caused him to be washed up on the shores of that kingdom. In Korea Weltevree was known as "Pak Yong". There is a sculpture in memory of him next to the Great Church in de Rijp and a copy is also to be seen in Seoul.
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.
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.