The Beemster Polder, a World Unesco Heritage site

The Beemster polder is one of the 10 World Unesco Heritage sites in the Netherlands. Claimed from the sea between 1609-1612, the Beemster was a huge investment project of wealthy businessmen from Amsterdam that failed the first time because of a serious storm that flooded the area again. A year and a few bankruptcies later an extra 10 windmills were built to get the job done. Almost 30 mi² of land was reclaimed from the water, from the Southern Sea.

Driving through the Beemster you immediately realize that the entire environment has been designed. All roads are straight and perpendicular to each other, leading into a areaits well-ordered landscape of fields, canals, dykes and settlements, laid out in accordance with classical and Renaissance planning principles.

Besides the grid pattern of roads, watercourses and plots of land, the polder is made up of a ring dyke, a ring canal (the Beemsterringvaart), and relatively high roads with avenues of trees.

Leaving the polder via the ring dike near Oosthuizen is an almost unreal experience, the Beemster turns out to be meters below the water level in the canal.