Middenbeemster, Schermerhorn, Ursem, Oterleek, Alkmaar, Grootschermer, Graft, De Rijp
Water, Mills and Picturesque Villages
You cycle this route 4 meters below sea level, through the most unique reclaimed land from the Golden Age: the Schermer and the Beemster. Jan Adriaanzn Leeghwater, the hydraulic engineer who was one of the founders of both polders. A world-class achievement that says:'God created the earth, but man created the Schermer and the Beemster\\\'! A particularly beautiful part of the Netherlands where the 17th century windmills are still running. The route goes along long straight roads and ditches as well as winding dikes to picturesque villages such as De Rijp and Middenbeemster.
A piece of history
Droogmakerij de Beemster dates from 1612 and De Schermer from 1635. Their quintessentially Dutch landscape originated at the drawing board. Clients were wealthy merchants from Amsterdam. De Beemster was furnished in accordance with the beauty ideals of the Renaissance: dead straight square and rectangular plots divided by canals and ditches that are perpendicular to each other. The characteristic farmhouses are located along the waterways and the area is surrounded by high ring dikes. This strict geometric division is still maintained and that is why in 1999 the unique landscape of the Beemster was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
You will pass through Middenbeemster, the oldest village in this polder. There are many national monuments in this town, some of which are protected village views.
De Rijp is the main village of the former Schermereiland, which used to be located between the lakes Schermer and Beemster. This village used to be just by the sea and housed one of the largest herring fleets in North Holland. The whalers also departed from here for Greenland. The village still retains many memories of seafaring, which can be clearly seen in the beautiful historic shipowners' and merchants' houses. Leeghwater grew up in De Rijp and called it'Hollands best village\\\'.
This route also takes you past a number of special social enterprises. In Oterleek the bakery of Fermento is located next to the mill (near junction 52), where people with a distance to the labor market work. And in Middenbeemster, right next to the church, there is also a very special place; de Kosterij - a shop and lunchroom (near junction 6). At both places you can enjoy a delicious cup of coffee and something delicious, of course homemade. It is heartwarming to experience how welcome you are received.