Former municipality
Middenbeemster town centre
Middenbeemster town centre
Flag of Beemster
Coat of arms of Beemster
Highlighted position of Beemster in a municipal map of North Holland
Location of the former municipality of Beemster in North Holland
Coordinates: 52°33′N 4°55′E / 52.550°N 4.917°E / 52.550; 4.917
ProvinceNorth Holland
 • Total72.07 km2 (27.83 sq mi)
 • Land70.58 km2 (27.25 sq mi)
 • Water1.49 km2 (0.58 sq mi)
Elevation−4 m (−13 ft)
 (January 2021)[3]
 • Total10,110
 • Density143/km2 (370/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Area code0299
Official nameDroogmakerij de Beemster (Beemster Polder)
CriteriaCultural: i, ii, iv
Inscription1999 (23rd Session)

Beemster (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈbeːmstər] ) is a former municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. The Beemster is the first so-called polder in the Netherlands that was reclaimed from a lake, the water being extracted from the lake by windmills. The Beemster polder was drained between 1609 and 1612. It has preserved intact its well-ordered landscape of fields, roads, canals, dykes and settlements, laid out in accordance with classical and Renaissance planning principles. A grid of canals parallels the grid of roads in the Beemster. The grids are offset: the larger feeder canals are offset by approximately one kilometer from the larger roads.

Beemster merged into the existing municipality of Purmerend on 1 January 2022.

Population centres

The former municipality of Beemster consisted of the following cities, towns, villages and/or districts:


Map of the former municipality of Beemster, 2015.


Around 800 AD the area of the modern municipality of Beemster was covered in peat. The name "Beemster" has been derived from "Bamestra" (see Groenedijk, 2000), the name of a small river in the area. In the period 1150-1250 peat-digging by people, and storm floods, enlarged that small river into an inland sea, a lake in open connection with the Zuiderzee. Around 1605 private investors started to drain the Beemster lake. In 1610, this was almost complete, but the lake re-filled because of a break in the Zuiderzee dikes. It was decided to make the ring-dike a meter high above the surrounding country. In 1612 the polder was dry and the land was divided among the investors. In the earlier days of the polder, farmers occupied its lands for growing the crops necessary for long sea journeys by the VOC to the East Indies. It turned out that the farmland was so good that the project was considered then to be an economic success, in contrast to, e.g., the Heerhugowaard. Since 1999 the entire Beemster polder has been on the UNESCO world heritage list.

The Beemster polder is home to CONO Kaasmakers, maker of the Beemster brand of cheeses. This co-op was formed in 1901 to create cheese made from milk that comes from the Beemster polder. Today Beemster Cheese[4] is sold in Europe, as well as the U.S., Canada, Japan, and China.

World Heritage Site

Because of its historical relevance, and because the original structure of the area is still largely intact, the Beemster was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1999.[5] Justification for Inscription is as follows:

In addition in the Beemster Polder there are five fortresses as part of the Stelling van Amsterdam, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Beemster Polder combines two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Local government

The municipal council of Beemster consisted of 13 seats, which were divided as follows since 2014:

Last mayor was Joyce van Beek (CDA).

Notable people

Carel Fabritius, ca.1645

See also




  1. ^ "Kerncijfers wijken en buurten 2020" [Key figures for neighbourhoods 2020]. StatLine (in Dutch). CBS. 24 July 2020. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  2. ^ "Postcodetool for 1462NV". Actueel Hoogtebestand Nederland (in Dutch). Het Waterschapshuis. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand" [Population growth; regions per month]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 1 January 2021. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  4. ^
  5. ^ DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: The Netherlands: The Netherlands. DK Publishing. 1 August 2011. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-7566-8476-1.