Watergang is one of the smallest villages in Waterland, with only a few hundred inhabitants. It’s known for its many little waterways.
The waterways are all around the village. They were used for small ‘milk boats’, back when Waterland was the dairy farm for hungry Amsterdam. All the waterways lead into the old meadows and beautiful nature of Waterland. This makes Watergang an excellent start for a trip by canoe or boat.
Watergang started life as a reclamation settlement along a big canal. With water in all directions and very little dry land to live on, the houses and street in Watergang are very small and narrow. Watergang even has the narrowest village street in Holland!
Undeterred by their size, the people of this village were ambitious. In the Seventeenth Century (the period we Dutch refer to as our Golden Age) they build a large church. This church still forms the heart of Watergang.
From the roof of the church hangs what looks like a toy ship. It was made by Pieter Vroom, a sailor from the seventeenth century who was kidnapped by pirates and sold as a slave. His fellow villagers collected his ransom money and bought his freedom. As a token of gratitude he carved them this little ship. Ever since, it’s a tradition among the inhabitants of Watergang to carve a small ship as a present.