Westfriese Omringdijk

Ever since the 13th century, this dyke has protected people and animals from the salt water. Now, this 126-kilometre monument winds through the West Frisian landscape past polders, windmills, East India Company towns and cheese-cover farmhouses.

The dyke runs right past De Wielen recreation park.


This dyke dates back to before the Westfriese Omringdijk was closed in 1320. The polder Valkkoog was drained by several polder mills. The Groenvelder is the only remaining mill of this type.

De Hondsbossche zeewering

The Hondsbossche seawall is a 5.5 km long dike near Petten. The dyke was built to protect Petten against tidal waves from the sea. The original dike can hardly be seen anymore. Due to the rising sea level the dike had to be raised by spraying on sand.

The West Frisian Circular Dyke
Valkkogel dyke
Hondsbossche seawall


Burghorner polder

The first real polder was conquered from the sea west of Schagen in 1456: the Burghorner polder. This polder lies just one kilometre from our park!

With the advent of the windmill, reclamation on a large scale would become possible.

Zijper polder

The first major speculative undertaking was the embankment of the 6,775 ha Zijper salt marshes, which, after some failures, succeeded in 1597. The result was promising and invited to transform the bottom of large lakes, which were suspected to consist of sea clay, into fertile arable land and pasture.


Just imagine living there. Some 3.5 metres below sea level. Complete madness! That is what many foreigners will think. We know better. In the 17th century, man conquered land from the water here and changed the inland lake De Beemster into a beautiful and open polder landscape. Tightly divided according to a geometric pattern of perfect quadrants. Later, characteristic cheese-cover farmhouses and historical villages were built on. De Beemster is a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

Burghorner polder: the oldest polder in the Netherlands
The map is perpendicular. The sea above and St Maarten below
The Beemster