Weesp is a municipality and a city of the province of North Holland with a surface of 21,88 km² whereof 1,30 km² are covered with water. Weesp consists of De Horn, Uitermeer and Weesp. It is a small historic town south-east of Amsterdam, next to the river Vecht and with the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal keeping it geographically separate. Weesp has about 17, 500 inhabitants and is famous for its Van Houten-chocolate, windmills, the historical centre with its ditches, its Weesper porcelain and the Weesper Mop cookie.
Weesp station is a rail junction with trains to/from four directions and an intensive service. The town centre is just a 5 minute walk away. You can also cycle from central Amsterdam to Weesp by cycling along the well signposted route. The bus 49 connects the Amsterdam metro stations Bijlmer and Gaasperplas with Weesp.
There is also a motorway in the planning stage, to connect the A6 and A9 motorways, threatening the open green landscape. It was first planned in the 1960’s and to meet environmental objections, some of it will now be build as a tunnel.
On the north side of Weesp, the rail line forms a barrier with small housing estate just north of the station. In the west a large housing development is planned in combination with Muiden.
Until the early Middle Ages this region was an uninhabited peat bog. Weesp was granted city rights in 1355 and celebrated its 650th anniversary as a city in 2005.
From the late Middle Ages, the Vecht was a defensive line for the County of Holland and it remained a military defensive line until the Second World War. Weesp was strongly fortified, more than its size would justify – for most of its history it had a few thousand inhabitants.
The defensive lines consisted of inundation zones, which would be flooded in wartime. Behind them were fortified towns, forts, barracks and other military structures. The most comprehensive was the Defence Line of Amsterdam (Stelling van Amsterdam), a circular inundation zone around Amsterdam, which belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After the Second World War, new housing was built in the west and an industrial zone with a harbour at the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal was iconstructed. In the 1970’s a suburb was built on the south. Since then the town has not expanded.
Sights in the Weesp area
- Old Town Hall (1776), Nieuwstraat 41, It houses a small museum for porcelain, (one of the old industries in Weesp) with limited opening hours.
- The circular fort at Ossenmarkt (1861), Behind the fort are two older bastions (circa 1674), Bakkerschans and Nieuw Achtkant.
- The two windmills, Eendragt (Unity) and Vriendschap (Friendship), close to each other and next to the Vecht, east of the centre.
- The 15th-century church, Laurenskerk, Nieuwstraat.
- The former Synagogue, Nieuwstraat 5, Used from 1840 until 29th April of 1942, when the Jews of Weesp were deported.
- The moat and eastern bastions, Roozenboom and Draaierschans, built in 1674 at the end of Nieuwstraat.
- The expendable wooden houses across the moat from the bastions, on Utrechtseweg and Molenpad, An area near the city walls and forts was kept clear of vegetation and buildings, to give a clear field to fire. Only small wooden houses were allowed, to burn them quickly in case the enemy approached.