Battle against the water

The current village of Durgerdam was founded after the St. Elizabeth Flood of 1421. During the flood, the village ‘IJdoren’ on the current outer dyke inlet of IJdoorn was entirely washed away. Shortly thereafter the first houses of ‘Y Doornickerdam’ (‘Dam at IJdoorn’) were built on the new dyke. The name Doornickerdam became Durkerdam, and eventually became what it is now: Durgerdam.

 

2 smelt fishermen on the Zuiderzee.

A turbulent time

At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the people of Durgerdam traded overseas in grain and other products. Later, many of them worked in the Amsterdam merchant navy. One of the best known skippers from the village is Adriaan Jakobsz, who captained the East Indies Company vessel the ‘Batavia’. The ship, of which a replica can be seen in Lelystad, sunk off the coast of Australia in 1629.

 

Durgerdam the harbour, 1999 (Stadsarchief collection Stichting IJ-beeld).

‘Waiting at Pampus’

The Zuiderzee (sea) gradually silted up and became impassable. Ships sailed through the Noordhollands Kanaal (North Holland Canal, 1824) to access the North Sea. The Dutch expression ‘voor Pampus liggen’, literally ‘waiting at Pampus’ and meaning having nothing to do, originates from the time that ships in the Zuiderzee had to wait for high tide to lift them above the sandbank at Pampus.

 

The chapel with swimming children, 2008. Photo: E. van Eis, Stadsdeel Noord.

Burnt to the ground

No house in Durgerdam is older than 1687, when the entire village was destroyed by fire. The white ‘Kapel’, chapel, on Durgerdam’s prominent bend, was one of the first buildings to be rebuilt and was used as the community hall. The Reformed Church behind the dyke was built in 1840, while the Hemony clock in the tower – taken from a previous church – dates from 1672. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has the church’s lead glass windows.