Spaarndam

Spaarndam is a small village at the Spaarne and IJ river situated in the province of North Holland. The oldest part of the village, located on the Western side of the Spaarne, belongs to the municipality of Haarlem. The newer part on the eastern side is a part of the municipality of Haarlemmerliede and Spaarnwoude. The village is built around a sluice in the river, this watergate is also the division line of the two municipalities.

Spaarndam was created around a dam where the river Spaarne flows into the IJ. This dam was built by count Floris V of Holland in 1285. The village collected toll at this dam and people made their living with fishing.

From 1812 to 1927 Spaarndam was an independent municipality (comprising only the western part of the current town). The village has some tourism and an eel smokehouse. Many people commute to Amsterdam and Haarlem. Most of the inhabitants are living in the East of Spaarndam.

Spaarndam has always been strongly connected to water: besides the rivers and the fishing, it is now also famous because of the story of Hansje Brinker. This is a character in an American book, that stuck his finger in a dike to prevent the town from flooding; he was supposedly living in Spaarndam. The local tourist bureau has set up a statue of this fictional character in the town.

In the old part of Spaarndam lies a small picturesque harbour, which by now is out of order. At a square located near the IJdijk stands a church assembled the 17th century, where the Dutch Nicolaas Samuel Cruquius, land-surveyor, cartographer and land reclamation engineer is buried.

Beyond the village you can visit the Fort Benoorden Spaarndam and the Fort Bezuiden Spaarndam, which are part of the UNESCO Heritage Site “Stelling van Amsterdam” (Defence line of Amsterdam).