5 fun facts about Broek in Waterland

Reading time: 3 min.

May 2022 – Broek in Waterland, Netherlands

You would think that with one Dutch village from the Waterland region, you’ve seen them all. Volendam, Edam, Marken, Monnickendam, they all have something of their own.

But let me show you why Broek in Waterland is different. Fun facts coming up!

FUNNY NAME

Searching the village name on Google Translate will literally return ‘Pants in Waterland’. This should be interesting to watch, right? However, ‘broek’ also means swamp, which makes a lot more sense. Phew. 🙂 Funny or not, I’d totally recommend a visit.

PASTEL COLOURED HOUSES

The first striking images in Broek in Waterland are with the wooden houses painted in pastel colours. They were usually built with one floor due to the weak soil, often holding several families under one roof. On top of that, they preserve their original details like coats of arms, colorful lintels (used to identify a house before the invention of the numbering system), ceremonial front doors, bricks naming the first owners and so on. It’s like a walking museum!

CLEANEST VILLAGE IN THE NETHERLANDS

In the 18th and 19th century Broek in Waterland was one of the richest villages of the Netherlands, attracting many travelers and celebrities. And that’s not all. It was particularly famous for the obsessive cleanliness! Travel books of foreign guests at the time mentioned the tidiness of the village. Even Napoleon visited Broek in Waterland in 1811, and it’s said that he took off his shoes before walking into a house.

HIDDEN FORTUNE OF NEELTJE PATER

One of the inhabitants of Broek in Waterland was the illustrious Neeltje Pater, one of the richest women at the time in the Netherlands. Her father, grandfather and great-grandfather had been mayor or alderman of Broek in Waterland. At the time of her death, the inventory of her wealth contained bank deposits, shares at United East Indies Company and several properties. Since she had no direct heirs, people soon emerged to claim a relationship with Neeltje in order to get a piece of her legacy. Centuries after, there are still rumors about money being hidden away somewhere.

THE MYSTERIOUS PAINTING IN PARIS

Just as we’re about to leave this cute village, a mysterious photo displayed near the lake catches our attention. What do you know, Broek in Waterland in its glory days was depicted on a painting in 1814! It was part of a collection from different regions of Napoleon’s empire, and now resides in Musee Marmottan in Paris.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Amsterdam to Broek in Waterland – fastest way from Amsterdam is driving for ~20 minutes; alternatively you can take bus no. 314/316 from Amsterdam Centraal and still reach your destination in about half an hour;

Broek in Waterland parking – there is a generous space on Moerland street (1151 AX) with free parking;

Broek in Waterland restaurant Het Broeker Huis is a nice place tucked away on a beautiful street, where you can grab a bite and beers.

We end the day with a last stroll along the water, breathing it all in. I’ve had Broek in Waterland on the travel wishlist for a long time. But the constant rush is gone. Somehow, seeing people became more important than seeing places. Especially after the last 2 years, which have been a total reset of values, needs or priorities for everybody.

Meeting family and close friends in the last months, after such a long wait, can only reconfirm what truly matters. Grateful for those connections that allow you to pick up from where you last left off, regardless the time, silence and space.

Embrace your story. Find peace. Live now.

Safe travels!

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