The Land of Leeghwater consists of peat meadows and reclaimed land. When Jan Adriaenszoon (also known as Jan Leeghwater) was born in the village of De Rijp in 1575, these peat meadows were fragile islands in the middle of large bodies of water. Leeghwater took up the challenge of protecting De Rijp against the water, and in doing so brought new wealth to the area by turning the lakes into dry land. He designed windmills, which could turn large lakes like the Beemster and Schermer into dry land, and he oversaw the entire process. ‘He turned high water into low water’ and very soon this ‘low water’ (in Dutch: laag water) became the name ‘Leeghwater’.
The Land of Leeghwater was born from the struggle against water. It owes its name and its appearance to this. Here you will find dikes, polders, windmills, boat locks, dome-shaped farms, cows, cheese, tulips, potatoes and many water birds. Behind this beautiful landscape, typical of Holland, lies an exciting story about a distant past, but also about today’s issues. Man’s challenge to find a balance between preserving a beloved landscape and supporting a healthy economy for the people who live here today.
A bust depicting Jan Leeghwater is located in front of ‘t Heerenhuis in the village of Middenbeemster.