Waterworks in Holland

With guide Jan we can visit polders such as the IJselmeer polders, the coastal protection at the Delta Works, or our windmills in Kinderdijk or Schermerhorn. Close to Amsterdam and Haarlem are also special waterworks, namely the reclaimed Haarlemmermeer. In it, in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer, we find Schiphol Airport more than 3 meters below sea level. We can visit the Cruquius one of the pumping stations used in the 19th century.

Former Lake

The Haarlemmermeer is a lake that was created by peat extraction. It was called the water wolf, because the lake swallowed more and more land. There were already plans for reclamation in the 17th century. The real dry milling only happened in the 19th century. With steam, this was possible in about 4 years. Three steam pumping stations, the Lynden, the Leeghwater and the Cruquius, pumped the Haarlemmermeer dry in just 4 years. This steam method was introduced under the influence of King William I. He had seen mines drained with this technique during his stay in England.

The Cruquius in the Haarlemmermeer

You can see it for yourself at the Cruquius, one of the three steam pumping stations from that time, which still exist. More than 800 kg of coal per hour was burned to drain the lake. After 1933 De Cruquius stood still for some time and was abandoned; there were even plans to demolish the pumping station. Fortunately, the proposed demolition did not go ahead, thanks to the efforts of the De Cruquius Foundation, which was founded in 1934. The Foundation took over the pumping station for a symbolic sum of 1 guilder from the State and turned it into a museum. Since 2009 it belongs to the Hendrik de Keyser Association. An association that has been committed preserving heritage since 1918. In 2002, after restoration by Prince Willem Alexander, the machine was put into operation again, now hydraulically.

The Dutch ingenuity for making waterworks and preserving or reclaiming land is easy to follow and even better in the company of Guide Jan who explains it all.

EXCURSION Cruquius Bridges Calatrava

We start at the Cruquius museum and view the steam engine and construction of the pumping station there. Guide Jan tells all about water management and the history of Cruquius. We hear and see the water story. Then we take a car ride along the bridges of Calatrava in the Haarlemmermeer along the main canal

  • Costs €50 pp
  • Group size 4-10
  • Duration of the excursion 4 hours
  • Included: certified guide, use of the whisper system, entrance Cruquius, car ride bridges Calatrava

Would you like to know more about this excursion? Contact Tourist Guide Holland.

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