Start and finish of the Beemster Bustour is restaurant Eterij ‘t Middenpunt on the Market Square in the village of Middenbeemster. The Beemster Bustour is a hop on hop off tour: you can get on and get off anywhere during the trip. This round trip takes about an hour and during the season (from early May to mid-September) it is available every Wednesday between eleven am and four o’clock pm. You can book through firstname.lastname@example.org. On other days, a group arrangement is possible. For more information: +31 6 55 183 856.
Characteristic place for dining and wining at the Market Square of the central village. The restaurant is not only attractively decorated, but has also an extensive menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. From the traditional Dutch bouncer to a delicious steak meal served with crisp lettuce and Beemster fries … it’s always mouth-watering delight at the “Eterij ‘t Middelpunt”! The establishment outstands further by frequently opting for local products. The friendly and knowledgeable service does the rest. Or not quite: this point of the Beemster Bustour is both in both good and bad weather the proverbial center, as you can also sit outside on the large terrace.
The museum “Betje Wolff” is since 1950 located in the former parsonage of the Dutch Reformed Church in Middenbeemster. The museum offers a great variety of rooms typical for the various eras and brings to live three centuries of domestic culture in the Beemster polder and its surroundings. The name of the museum is derived from the well-known 18th century novelist Elizabeth Wolff, born Bekker, who during her marriage to the reverend Adrianus Wolff (1759-1777) has lived in the parsonage. In 1777, after the death of her husband, Betje Wolff moved out and started to live with Aagje Deken and together the two women began to publish. Their greatest successes were the epistolary novels “The history of Miss Sara Burgerhart” (1782) and “The History of Mr. Willem Leevend” (1784-1785). In 1789 “Walks through Burgundy” came out. Between 1793 and 1796 they were writing on “ The History of Miss Cornelia Wildschut” and “The effects of the education”, a novel of six volumes.
The Beemster is inextricably linked to cheese and vice versa. In this respect, agricultural innovator Wouter Sluis (as with the source gas) played an important role, because he developed a way to control the temperature of the milk better. The cheese farm of Peter and Linda Groot is an example of how new perspectives and traditions can reinforce each other. Modern milking robots, but a traditional maturation process … you have to actually see it with your own eyes.
The so-called POMological association houses the oldest fruit trees varieties of North Holland. Making a neglected aspect of the Beemster to emerge: many people know the polder because of its unique geographical straight lines, its cows and its cheese, but in and around Zuidoostbeemster the World Heritage site distinguishes itself by the cultivation of fruit, and especially those of apples and pears. At the POMological association grow the even oldest fruit trees varieties of North Holland.
The Beemster Arboretum has four objectives:
- To show to the public how known and unknown species and varieties of trees and shrubs grow and what they look like after having grown older;
- The preservation for posterity of trees and shrubs which are threatened with extinction in the area from which they originate;
- The growing of trees and shrubs that have not yet been introduced in the Netherlands, but may be of interest for use in Dutch green (as our arboretum contains copies of some walnut and pine trees that still do not exist in any other Dutch collection);
- The collection and distribution of seeds, cuttings and grafting material for tree cultivation.
The beauty of this landscape is like a painting and can best be illustrated by referring to a famous poem by the Dutch poet Hendrik Marsman, “Herinnering aan Holland” ( Memory of Holland). Although the Beemster does not feature wide rivers, there is the iconic canal of North Holland and other water ways that make it a typical Dutch landscape.
Memory of Holland
Thinking of Holland
I see wide-flowing rivers
like lofty plumes
on the skyline in lanes;
and submerged in the vastness
of unbounded spaces
strewn over the land,
tree clumps, villages,
churches and elm trees –
all wondrously planned.
The sky hangs low
and slowly the sun by
mists of all colours
is stifled and greyed
and in all the regions
the voice of the water
with its endless disasters
is feared and obeyed.
Translation: © Paul Vincent, 2006
The Defense Line of Amsterdam, the construction of which was decided in the vestingwet (Defense Line Law) of 1874, is a so-called waterline. This means that in case of a war certain areas around Amsterdam would be put under water, so the enemy could not advance. Therefore, sites near embankments, roads or railways were chosen for the locations of the forts. Because, if there would not be barriers, or if the water would be too deep, the enemy would be able to use boats and still might reach the capital. Furthermore, it would be possible to put the enemy under fire for instance from dikes. In the military jargon dikes and roads for this purpose were known as access points.
Besides, it was not the intention to inundate the Beemster. On the contrary, the forts were meant to protect it. The fertile soil and the cattle should provide Amsterdam with the required food. The area around the girdle of forts was a salvation route. In case of an advancing enemy the ground forces could retreat inside it and resist with the aid of the existing civil population until help from abroad would liberate the Netherlands. In case of a hostile siege there should be sufficient food, water, fuel and military equipment inside the Defense Line to last for six months.
About the growth of CONO cheesemakers: In 1947 three North Holland cheese factories decided to work together. Those were “Concordia” from Oudendijk, “Ons Belang” from Middelie and “De Tijd” from Beemster. Afterwards several more factories and corporations joined. Of all these factories and partnerships CONO cheesemakers is the only remaining player of size, at least in North Holland. The links forged between these corporations have resulted in a five hundred farmers now providing milk to the factory in Westbeemster every day. Meanwhile, the company is now spreading its wings internationally. Not only does it pan out several major awards with its cheeses, it also penetrates in ever more new markets such as the Chinese one. To meet the rising demand it opened a new plant in 2014 next to the existing factory “de Tijd”. Both the new whey tower and the new cheese factory, both designed by Bastiaan Jongerius Architects, have won architectural awards.
For himself he built an octagonal oil mill in Graft and is seen as inventor of the so-called “bovenkruier”: a windmill of which the construction to put the blades on the wind is situated in the top of the windmill cap.
His bust now stands for many years in front of the monumental building of the Heerenhuis in Middenbeemster.
Opposite the geometrical lotted out new land you see on the other side of the canal the ancient moorland of the Eilandspolder (Schermer Eylant).
In 1970 using the mill for grain grinding stopped and in 1973 it was restored, but then the mill seemed to fall into oblivion. Therefore, decline occurred. Attempts to rescue this iconic Beemster monument seemed doomed to fail because of disputes about who now owned it and had to become owner and whether the mill could remain to be located on private land. Eventually, like in the struggle against water, people joined forces. The mill was moved in 2011 and restored and reopened in 2013. In 2014, next to the mill, a historic mill barn was opened. The Foundation for the Preservation of De Nachtegaal, which is the owner of the mill since 2011, wants to rent out this mill barn in the future in order to raise funds for maintenance and future restoration.