Zuiderwoude is the oldest village of Waterland. Situated right in the middle of this remarkable area, a visit to Zuiderwoude is like stepping back in time.
This small village has only a few hundred inhabitants and is one of the most picturesque places in Waterland. The best way to explore Zuiderwoude is on foot. Just stroll over the dike, which forms the main street of Zuiderwoude. Zuiderwoude has lots of historical farmhouses. These large, piramid shaped buildings make a awesome sight. The heart of the village is the ancient church.
Zuiderwoude has been around for about a thousand years. This makes Zuiderwoude older than many other villages in Holland, and even older than Amsterdam. In Holland we love to tell the outside world how we Dutch fought a heroic battle against the sea, and how we shaped the land with our own hands.
The story of Zuiderwoude is a textbook example of this Dutch struggle against the water. If Dutch people are stubborn, the people from Zuiderwoude might be the most headstrong of all. Zuiderwoude was situated in low lying, soggy peatlands that constantly kept sinking into the surrounding lakes. Not the ideal place to live. To survive they had to continuously build dikes and raise the ground level, century after century.
This struggle shaped their spirit. In the Dutch Golden Age the people of Zuiderwoude were among the most adventurous seamen of Holland. The shipmen of Zuiderwoude sailed all across the globe. They traded with the Baltic Sea and made long voyages to South America. They even ventured into the eastern Mediterranean, earning them the nickname of the ‘Turks of Waterland’. Zuiderwoude became a rich village, twice the size it is now.