Sailing boats in the canal

The peak of Buiksloot’s good times was between 1825 and 1876 when large sailing vessels could no longer reach the North Sea through the silted up Zuiderzee (sea), but had to sail past this dyke village to the North Holland Canal. For retired captains it was the ideal place to live: rural, but still close to Amsterdam and it could be accessed by ferry.


Dyke houses, 1962

Prominent façades

The wealthy captains gave standing to the village. They lived in houses with wooden façades that reminded one of the prominent canal side houses in Amsterdam. Some had a chic stone frontage, such as the early nineteenth century house at number 284. Even number 280, with its seventeenth century, richly carved façade dating from 1635 and its door frame from the eighteenth century, could be good examples of a captain’s home even though no-one knows for certain which houses the captains lived in.


Winter on the Buiksloterdijk

The end of a good year

A phenomenon typical of Waterland houses is the ‘goedjaarseinde’ (end of a good year). Whoever had farmed successfully, invested his money in an extension to the side or back of his house. There are many examples to be found on the Buiksloot and the Nieuwendam dykes, also referred to as ‘Captain’s heaven’. Many of these large houses were later inhabited by several families simultaneously: one in the front, one above, and one at the back. It was generally recognised that, as these were pressed against the bottom of the dyke, the dwellings at the back were the least comfortable and were always dark.


Kapiteinshemel (captain's heaven), 2008. Photo: E. van Eis, Stadsdeel Noord