The Krimpenerwaard


In these pages, I will be your guide on a tour through the Krimpenerwaard and some towns and villages in the nearby area.
The Krimpenerwaard is the name of a region in the Dutch province of Zuid Holland (South-Holland).
It has the shape of a triangle formed between Schoonhoven, Gouda and Krimpen aan den IJssel.

The Krimpenerwaard is bordered by three rivers: in the west and north by the Hollandse IJssel (Dutch IJssel), in the east by the Vlist and in the south by the Lek.

The area is a part of what the Dutch call 'The green heart of Holland'. The landscape consists of wide polderlands which are separated by numerous canals. The average height of the polders is two metres below the sea-level.

As you understand, it takes a lot of time to translate all my pages into English. I have started with the pages about the town and villages in the Krimpenerwaard. These pages are the most important ones of my site. The other pages will be translated later.

First you could have a look at a satellite photograph of the Krimpenerwaard at the end of the 1980's.


Coat-of-arms of Vlist

We start this 'tour' in my home village: Vlist. In 1985 the old and independent village of Vlist, (at the time with some 625 inhabitants) was joined together with the villages Stolwijk and Haastrecht. Together they form one municipality, Vlist, named after the river that runs through the area.

In the summertime it is possible to canoe in the river Vlist, between Haastrecht and Schoonhoven, which takes about three hours. Canoes can be rented in Haastrecht. On the bank of the river Vlist, you can admire a windmill, built in 1600. The Bonrepas-mill , is the oldest mill in the Krimpenerwaard. It's purpose was to drain the water from the polder into the river Vlist. The mill still works today.
The present day miller,
Jan van Rijswijk, has his own site on the Web.
The Bonrepas is the name of the hamlet, situated along that part of the river Vlist. It is a French name, meaning 'good meal'. The name is first mentioned in 1254. The story goes that somebody called Lewis ate a decent meal there and because of this event, this name was given to the hamlet.

Another mill is the Bachtenaar-mill,which was built in 1714. This is also a wip mill.
Although no more than some 500 meters from the river Vlist, it is actually situated on the soil of the municipality of Bergambacht.

If you visit the Krimpenerwaard region, you ought to pay a visit to the 'cheese-farm' of the Van Diemen-family (17 Oost Vlisterdijk, Vlist).
Here you can see how cheese is made and you can make a choice from numerous types of handmade cheese's.
(I'll send you the bill for this later, Greet).

If you would like to see more pictures from Vlist, have a look in the
Vlist photo-book.

I would like to bring to your attention two people, who to me are very important inhabitants of Vlist: Rik and Inge.


Coat-of-arms of Haastrecht

Since January 1st 1985 Haastrecht is no longer an independent village; it than was joined together with Stolwijk and Vlist. The historic name of Haastrecht is Havekesdreht, which means crossing-place of the river of Sir Habacus van Lede.

Haastrecht was formed around 1100, where the river Vlist flows into the Hollandse IJssel. Beside this settlement a castle was built in the 14th century. The foundations of the castle were unearthed in 1963.

Some time ago there was a lot of discussion about the status of Haastrecht. Some sources claim that Haastrecht was given municipal rights in 1396. Others mention that Haastrecht was given the privilege of levying of taxes in 1397, by the Duke Albrecht of Bavaria. In 1515 the High Court decided that Haastrecht was entitled to have its own administration of justice within its borders. The status of town for Haastrecht was herewith more or less confirmed. Formally town-rights were never issued. In 1996 there was no celebration of the 600-year existence of Haastrecht, alas.

One of the nicest buildings in Haastrecht is the town hall, which was built in 1618. In the town hall was a little jail for local offender's; bigger game was transported to nearby Gouda, where Lady Justice judged them.

Not far from the town hall, you can find the characteristic
drawbridge over the river Hollandse IJssel. Until 1965 a tax had to be paid to cross this bridge. Nowadays one pays to have the bridge opened in order to sail through.

An other important building in Haastrecht is the 13th century church. In 1964 it was severely damaged by a huge fire.

Themuseum Bisdom van Vliet is housed in a former dwelling, which was built in 1876 by Marcellus Bisdom. In that year he was the mayor of Haastrecht for 50 years! This museum gives an impression of the daily life of an important family in the 19th century. The interior has not been changed since the death of the last heir of the Bisdom van Vliet family. In her will she decided the house should remain unchanged and should serve as a museum.
The museum is opened from April 15 to October 15 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.; on Saturdays from 11.00 a.m to 4.00 pm, on Sundays from 2.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. and is closed on Mondays and Fridays. Phone 0182 - 501354.

On the left bank of the river Hollandse IJssel, between Gouda and Haastrecht, you can find the Haastrecht-mill. This is the only example in Holland of a brick built water mill, fitted out with a scaffolding.

Just outside the Haastrecht village one can visit the Stork Outdoor Centre Het Doove Gat. Every year one or two dozen storks breed here.
If you want to visit, you can contact Leo Lettink
(Phone 0182 - 501437)

 in order to make an appointment for (a possible individual) excursion. An other possibility is to visit on the yearly open day, which is held in June.
You can reach the Centre by

Every year, on the last Saturday in May, Haastrecht holds a year-market. The second Saturday of September is the Haastrecht Agricultural Day (Hagrada). That day the finest cheese and cow are chosen.

Your night in a
Haastrecht hotel can be booked on-line.


The coat-of-arms of Stolwijk

Like Vlist and Haastrecht , the independence of Stolwijk ended on January 1st 1985. The name Stolwijk appears for the first time in 1320. Nowadays Stolwijk is mainly known for the cheese that is made in the area.

In the centre of the village the Dutch Reformed Church is the most prominent building. The tower, 45 meters high, built in late Gothic style and a lot out of the perpendicular, was built in 1501. The tower was 9 meters higher than it is now. In the year 1717 a part of the tower was blown away by a storm. The church was burnt down in 1867; the most likely cause was arson. The heat of the fire was such that the big bronze tower bells melted. The church was rebuilt, and in 1948 the last restoration took place. Under today's tower, the foundations of older tower can be found. Between 1375 and 1400 the first Stolwijk church arose but was laid in ruins by soldier's from the nearby town of Woerden. The tower leans a lot. One set of measurements say it is 85 cm out of plumb, another says it's 140 cm out of plumb! The tower is now owned by the Civic Community of Vlist. In the days of Napoleon, the tower passed into the ownership of the French occupier. Like so many church towers in Holland, this tower also served as a watchtower for the French army.

Between Stolwijk and the town of Gouda you can see some foundry iron bridges, which were built in the 19th century. There is a twin-bridge at Stolwijk village and another one at the Tiendweg. There used to be two others but they did not survive time.
For the people who are interested in Stolwijk's history,
I would like to refer them to the
home page of Abe Maaijen.


The coat-of-arms of Schoonhoven.

Schoonhoven is the only town in the Krimpenerwaard. Count William 3rd of Holland gave town rights to Schoonhoven in 1322. Also the nearby village of Ammerstol was given town rights in 1322, but the citizens didn't want to use them. With another Krimpenerwaard village, Haastrecht, townrights are disputed.

Already in the middle ages Schoonhoven was known as the Silver Town. A school for silver- and goldsmiths is still here.
Today one can find many shops and little factory's where silver jewelry can be bought.

Schoonhoven has a nice Internet site (also in English):
The Digital Town of Schoonhoven.

Schoonhoven offers the tourist a lot of different possibilities: beside the silver industry there are some fine museums. In the Dutch Gold- Silver- and Clock museum you can admire a range of over a thousand antique's and curio's. Amongst a lot of other things you can see this sundial, which was built in 1864. It was used to set the clock's in the towers. The museum can be reached by phone 0182 - 385612. The address: 4 Kazerneplein.

Another interesting museum is the snip-art Museum.
It is situated at 7 Stadhuisstraat.
Phone 0182 - 387000.

In the dwelling that once housed the Schoonhoven Synagogue, you can now visit the Schoonhoven's Edelambachtshuis, where you can find all sorts of silver utensils and jewelry. In the rear of the building the former Jewish ritual bath (Mikwah) can be seen.

The town hall is the most prominent building at the Haven (harbor). The first stone of this monument was laid in 1452. In the tower is a carillon with no less than fifty bells. Each Wednesday between 11.00 and 12.00 hours and each Saturday between 15.30 and 16.30 hours, this VanderGheyn-carillon is manually played by town-carillonneur Boudewijn Zwart.
Underneath the town hall, the local tourist board is housed.

In 1597 a women, named Marrigje AriŽns, was strangled and burned, on the steenen (stone) bridge in front of the Town Hall. She was accused of being a witch. She was also the last 'witch' who was killed in Schoonhoven. This should not put you off from visiting Schoonhoven.

Another interesting edifice in Schoonhoven is the water tower, which dates back to 1901. This fairy-like tower now houses the centre 'Silver in Motion'. The tower's height is 50 meter.

The Bartholomew-church dates back to the 13th century. Olivier van Noort the first Dutchman who sailed around the world (from 1598 to 1601) is buried in the church. The tower of this church is quite a bit out of the plumb.

Near the river Lek you can see the Veerpoort (Ferry-gate), which was built in 1601. Originally there where five gates in the town walls of Schoonhoven; this is the only one left.

The Waag (weigh-house), built in 1617, now houses a pancake-restaurant.
In former days hemp and flax was weighed here.

In 1652 an atlas was published by Blaeu. I invite you to have a look at this interesting map of Schoonhoven from 1652 (123 Kb).


Coat-of-arms of Bergambacht

This municipality, in addition to Bergambacht, includes Ammerstol and Berkenwoude. The name Bergambacht comes from the Lord Van den Berg (a 'berg' is a mountain), who owned this Ambacht (an area of lower-grade justice). The 'mountain' is a little hill on which the Dutch Reformed Church was built. This hill is some 2.5 meters above sea-level, while the surrounding polderlands are about 2 meters below sea-level.

Bergambacht was formed in the 13th century. Old documents show that as early as 1280 a little chapel was built on approximately the same spot where the Dutch Reformed Church St. Laurentius was later constructed.

Along the road from Bergambacht to Gouda you can see 'The Eagle'. This is a windmill, constructed in 1869. It served as a flour-mill.
The hotel-restaurant De Arendshoeve is located aside this mill.

The farmhouse at 11 Tussenlanen was built in 1661. It is not open for visitors.

On September 29, 1938 Bergambacht was the place of birth of the present day's Dutch prime minister, Wim Kok.


Coat-of-arms of Ammerstol

The history of Ammerstol starts in 1233. This village was given municipal rights in 1322 by Count William the 3rd of Holland. Executing these rights appeared to be too expensive, so Ammerstol stayed a village forever.
In former days Ammerstol was known for the salmon fishing-industry. Shipyards arose and in 1880, at the top of the fish-trade, a big fish-market was constructed. This auction-building was demolished in the 20th century.

At the present day the salmon have disappeared from the river Lek. Only the salmon in the Ammerstol coat-of-arms reminds us at the fishing-trade of former days.


Coat-of-arms of Berkenwoude

The name Berkenwoude means Forest of Birches. Before the 11th century the area between the rivers Lek and IJssel consisted of a swamp-wood. It is this wood that gave name to Berkenwoude. The name of this village is first mentioned in 1326, than called Bercou. At the present day the locals call their village Perkouw.

Just outside of Berkenwoude you can see the "Loetbos'. This is a small woodland where many different birds can be watched.
It is possible to rent a canoe here and follow the "Loetroute", which is 22 kilometres long

The main event in Berkenwoude is the 'Perkouw-Festival'. which takes place every year on the first Saturday of September.

The Nature and Birding Working Group "the Krimpenerwaard" is located in Berkenwoude.

At the Dorpsstraat (village-street) at Berkenwoude you can see the Dutch Reformed Church. It was built in 1512. Inside the church there is a pulpit, constructed in 1686. The history of this church goes back to the 14th century. The most recent restorations of the church took place between 1972 and 1974. Every year, on the second Saturday in September, this church is open for visitors.


Coat-of-arms of Lekkerkerk

Lekkerkerk is first mentioned in 1280. At the present day, Lekkerkerk forms one municipality, together with Krimpen aan de Lek. This municipality is named Nederlek.

Every year in June the river Lek near Lekkerkerk is the place where a sail-competition takes place. In August Lekkerkerk is also the scene for the Midsummer Night Festival.

You can visit a small factory at 150 Schuwacht where wooden shoes are made by the Van Zwienen family.

An interesting bird sanctuary is the Bakkerswaal, where you can visit a duck decoy.

From the Lekkerkerk embankment you can see some of the famous mills of
Kinderdijk, at the other side of the Lek.

Your night in a Lekkerkerk Hotel can be booked
on line.

Krimpen aan de Lek

Coat-of-arms of Krimpen aan de Lek

Some sources claim that Krimpen aan de Lek is the oldest village of the Krimpenerwaard, others dispute this claim. The first time Krimpen aan de Lek was mentioned is believed to date back to 1064.

At the present day this village, together with Lekkerkerk, forms one municipality named Nederlek.

A ferryboat goes from Krimpen aan de Lek across the river Lek to Kinderdijk , probably the most famous village in Holland, as far as windmills are concerned.

Another smaller ferry named 'Vice Versa', accessible only for pedestrians and bikers, follows the route between Kinderdijk, Bolnes/Slikkerveer and Krimpen aan de Lek.

Krimpen aan de IJssel

Coat-of-arms of Krimpen aan den IJssel

The Regional Museum Crimpenerrhof is located in a late 17th century farmhouse at 312 IJsseldijk. The museum is open from March to December, Tuesday till Saturday from 14.00 till 17.00 hours. Telephone 0180 514866.

Further on at the IJsseldijk more monumental farmhouses are located: they can be found at numbers 144, 202, 211, 214, 220 and 264. At Krimpen aan den IJssel the oldest part of the famous Delta-Works can be seen in the river IJssel. (The Delta-plan is was initiated to protect Holland from the sea. After the disastrous flooding of 1953, which killed over 1800 people, the constructions of huge dikes and bridges was begun.)

In the year 1840 The Schelvenaer-mill was built.
It burnt down in 1930 but was rebuilt in 1993. It now houses a restaurant.

Every year, on Whit Monday, Krimpen aan den IJssel is the scene of a plants and flower market. This big event usually attracts a many visitors.

Ouderkerk aan den IJssel

Coat-of-arms of Ouderkerk aan den IJssel

Together with Gouderak, Ouderkerk aan den IJssel forms one municipality, named Ouderkerk. Ouderkerk aan den IJssel has always been a well known village of inland navigation.

Ouderkerk aan den IJssel was first mentioned in 1263.

An interesting old farmhouse (constructed in the 16th century) is located at 45 Lageweg in which a small cheese factory is housed. Hand made cheese can be bought here.

In the village centre, at 1 Kalverstraat, you can see the
Dutch Reformed church, built in 1795. Inside this church is the grave of Lodewijk of Nassau, a member of the Dutch royal family. The original burial vault was later extended with a tomb. The church is open for visitors on Saturdays from 09.30 to 11.30 a.m. Underneath this church the foundation of an older, smaller church was discovered. This older church was built in the second half of the 12th century.

From Ouderkerk aan den IJssel you can leave the Krimpenerwaard and cross the river Hollandse IJssel with a small ferry boat, which can only transport pedestrians and bikers. At the other side of the river is Hitland.


Coat-of-arms of Gouderak

Gouderak, like Ouderkerk aan den IJssel, is located on the banks of the river Hollandse IJssel. Gouderak is first mentioned in old documents in 1274. The name at that time was Golderak.

The old farmhouse located at 183 Kattendijk was built in 1648.

Dutch Reformed church located at 3 Kerkstraat was constructed in 1658. Underneath the church a burial vault can be seen, which was built in 1616.


From Gouderak a ferry boat crosses the river to Moordrecht. It is important to know that this ferry has the capacity to transport as many as two automobiles at the same time...

Your reactions are most welcome