The Industrial Zaanstreek

The industrial landscape and trading
water network of Zaanstreek.

Ken Chen

The research area is Noord Holland province, specifically the Water Authority of Hollands Nooderkwartier. The old reclamation history creates the catchment area divided by the boezem systems. The west area is connected as a whole; the east part is independent of the Schermeer boezem due to the direct water discharge from polders into outer water. Zaanstreek is situated at the south end of the whole system and well connected to Amsterdam.

The transformation of landscape in Zaanstreek area; Water system in North Holland before 14 century.

The transformation of the North Holland area is drastic. Due to the peat bog reclamation and excavation, the land has been drained for centuries which caused significant subsidence. The ribbon village, the Peat River town, and the polder water system formulate the basic character of the area. Furthermore, because of the subsidence and the re-wetting of the land, it was unsuitable for growing crops. Thus, the locals started to find another job for a living: fishing. After generations, they became merchants and businessmen. During this time, many cities emerged alongside the dikes.

Zaanstad in current situation.
Bird-eye view and the landscape typology of Zaanstreek.

Circular Stories

The emergence of the industrial landscape in the Zaanstreek area is a multi-causes history. The relationship between Amsterdam and Zaandam is special, they were competitors but also collaborators. The cheap cost of materials, transport and human power was the attracting forces for the merchants. According to the research, during the boom time, nearly 120 ships are built every year, and the price of each ship is about 28,500 gulden. It can be known that the cash flow involved in the shipbuilding industry is about 3.4 million Dutch guilders, that is, equal to 7,000 people’s salaries (about 1 guld per person earned) And related industries must benefit from the shipbuilding industry. After the shipbuilder made money, they turned to invest in the configuration of equipment and sites. The shipyard on Voorzaan’s homeland was the result of a joint investment by shipbuilders. Finally, the shipbuilding industry mainly situated in the Voorzaan.

Circularity of wood/ship industry: the system of the wood related industry on the landscape.

The New Dutch Waterline

Fort Voordrop on the New Dutch Waterline.

Water as a defence line comprised of a system of waterworks for inundating and military elements for troops.

Huadong Zhu

The New Dutch Waterline was built to defend Holland, the west part of the Netherlands and it is 85 km long. Large areas of agricultural land (polders) were flooded with a layer of approximately 40-60 cm of water- The traditional drainage system of the polder landscape was transformed into a 4 km wide defence line.

The New Dutch Waterline at regional scale.

Pumps and sluices guide the water out of the deep lying polders, in war-time the water could be directed into the polder. In a normal situation the water table is higher during winter. During a dry summer, water needs to be taken in from the boezem system. The boezem system is the discharge water network which brings the polder water from into the outer water. The whole water system can be set in motion by switching the pumping stations on and off or changing the direction of the water flow.

Normally the land is drained for agricultural use. After peat digging, used as fuel the land turned into a lake a became useless. By draining the inner lakes, new, deeper lake-bed polders were created. During the war period, the polders were transformed into lakes again and could not be crossed by enemies on foot or by horse.

Delving peat.

During normal times, the water is pumped out into the river, part of the boezem system. During war times, the waterworks can switch the direction and pump the water into the polder. Today they pump water into the polders during dry summers.

The existing water management in a polder is based on an independent managed water level. The system consisted of mills, later replaced by pumping stations and the sluices. The polders have different water levels. During the war the area was flooded polder by polder.

Top to bottom. Flood phase 1; Flood phase 2; Flood phase 3.

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