Amsterdam - Hoorn
Distance: 50.6 kilometres
Starting in Amsterdam, it will take you less than ten minutes by bike to travel from a busy early 20th century residential area - across the Schellingwouderbrug (Schellingwoude bridge) and underneath the ring road - to the tranquillity of the countryside. In the town of Durgerdam you get a good look at the water that this route is all about. The area that you’re crossing is called Waterland. That name probably won't surprise you, seeing all of the ditches, lakes and streams that you pass along the way. In the 11th century, farmers from West Friesland tried to turn the untouched bogland into arable land by draining the water. This made the peat settle, though, dropping the ground level and making the land too wet again after only a few generations.
Touristic trio In the 16th and 17th centuries, both Monnickendam and Edam were busy trading towns thanks to their open connection to the sea. Volendam originated around 1600 as a suburb of the affluent town of Edam. The wealth of yesteryear is reflected in the architecture of the old town centres: posh streets with stately merchant mansions and warehouses.
Warder and Cees Mantel pumping stations Just past the town of Warder you pass by the Warder pumping station, a modern pump house that opened in 1998. Most of the province of North Holland is below sea level and from here that's easy to see. The water level of the Markermeer (Lake Marken) behind you is considerably higher. The pumping stations pump the water to the Markermeer and thus keep the polder on the other side of the dyke dry. Further down the road, after passing Schardam, you’ll encounter another one of these pumping stations. The Cees Mantel pumping station is really brand new, it opened in 2017. Per minute it can easily pump out 2000 cubic metres of water, enough to fill up an Olympic-size swimming pool. The pumping station is located along the Westfriese Omringdijk (West-Frisian Circular Dyke), a 126-kilometre long sea wall that was created in the 13th century when the West Frisians interconnected their smaller dykes. The dyke encloses West Friesland, the area between Alkmaar, Enkhuizen and Schagen that traditionally sets itself apart from the rest of North Holland.
Horeca & logies
- Warder and Cees Mantel pumping stations
- Ditches, lakes and streams in abundance
- Photo location: Harbour of Volendam
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The compact cycle guide takes you by the hand, so to speak, and describes the route and the landscape.