Beemster is a fabulous area north of Amsterdam, 20 feet below sealevel, created more than 400 years ago by human hands. We are proud to have our cheese dairy situated right in the middle of this amazing polder. The juicy grass that our cows eat to produce the best milk in the country grows on this rich soil of blue marine clay.
The Beemsterpolder owes its fame to its unique layout with small lots divided by small canals to control the water, which follows a geometric pattern of squares. During the Renaissance, this kind of spatial patterning was considered landscaping at its absolute best. No coincidence that it looks almost the same as the design of Manhattan, New York, which was designed in the same area, with the help of Dutch engineers.
Farmhouses and magnificent country estates were also built at the time.
The drainage of Beemster turned out to be a golden opportunity, because the polder’s blue marine clay was extremely fertile and yielded farmers high returns. Our cows are still grazing on this rich land four meters (20 feet) below sea level. Thanks to that, CONO is still producing the tastiest milk in the country.
Beemster was an enclosed sea around the year 1200, connected to the Zuiderzee. That was the result of the reclamation of the peat bog centuries before and flooding of this lower-lying land when the Bamestra river (after which this area is named) burst its banks.
In 1607, rich tradesmen from Amsterdam decided to drain the area above Purmerend and turn it into agricultural land. This was an unprecedented and daring project at the time. Mill builder Jan Adriaenszoon Leeghwater was placed in charge of the activities. He had a ring canal dug out and a dike built. The area was drained using more than fifty mills, and this huge project was completed in 1612, marking the birth of the Beemsterpolder. Nearly 400 years later, the Beemsterpolder was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There a number of important places on earth that deserve attention and need to be preserved for future generations. Think of the Serengeti desert in Africa, for example, or the Acropolis in Greece. UNESCO maintains a list of World Heritage Sites to protect these unique places. The Beemsterpolder was added to this prestigious list in 1999.
There are presently 10 places in the Netherlands on the list of World Heritage Sites, including the Stelling van Amsterdam (a defense line, part of which is located in the Beemsterpolder), the Warden Sea, the Amsterdam canal belt, and Willemstad on Curaçao.
Dutch World Heritage Platform
Beemster has launched a platform to preserve and manage these Dutch World Heritage Sites. This platform promotes tourism in the area and also provides information and education about these important Dutch sites. For more information, please visit www.werelderfgoed.nl
UNESCO, a UN organization, has been firmly committed to the protection of the world’s cultural and natural heritage since 1972. In December 1999, the Beemsterpolder was officially added to the list of World Heritage Sites. UNESCO described the rational geometric pattern and the history of Beemster as something unique in the world.