Nieuwendam (new dam)

Nieuwendam was founded after one of the dykes broke in 1514. A new dyke and a ‘new dam’ were built, probably at the sluice at Kleine Die. Fishermen, ferrymen, traders and shipbuilders built their houses, warehouses and wharfs at this site. During the Waterlandse Gouden Eeuw (the golden age of Waterland) between around 1450 and 1570, ships sailed out of Nieuwendam to trade in grain and peat.

 

Nieuwendammerdijk with church and shop, 1930

Ships’ wharfs

After the Eighty Years’ War (1568-1648), increasingly more people from Waterland found work in the growing port city of Amsterdam. Ships waited for good winds or loads in the harbour of the dyke village to avoid the high port charges of Amsterdam. The people of Nieuwendam were also specialised in shipbuilding and repairs.

 

Stately mansions, 1988

Building history

You can read the history of Nieuwendammerdijk from its houses. The Nieuwendammer Sluishuisje (lockkeeper’s house) was one of the first buildings dating from 1565. A few clock faces and crested façades, such as numbers 301 to 309, were originally captains’ houses from the eighteenth century. While they resemble stone canalside houses, they are actually made of wood so that the dyke can bear their weight. The neo-classic villa ‘De Halve Maen’ (the half moon) from 1909 at numbers 202-204 was built for the wealthy shipbuilding family, De Vries-Lentsch.

 

Grand mansions, 2010

Swedish princess

Of particular interest are the neo-classic houses at numbers 300-308. The world famous physiotherapist, Johan Georg Metzger (1838-1909), received the ground on which they were built by a Swedish princess for his rheumatism, sciatica and gout patients. Among those suffering these diseases were famous people such as Empress Elisabeth (Sissi), Baron de Rothschild, Empress Eugénie (wife of Napoleon) and professor of literature J.A. Alberdink Thijm.