In the beginning of the 17th century, Amsterdam was a fast growing town. Even if we know the Dutch capital as a city full of water today, it was surrounded by even more water back then. Amsterdam is built on moorland; the country around it naturally is full of peat bogs, lakes and little streams. But as the town was expanding, more land was necessary to provide food for all its inhabitants. And so a couple of Amsterdam merchants decided on draining a lake called De Beemster and creating more fertile soil. This comprehensive project - building a 38 kilometer long dike around the lake, digging a canal on the outside of that dike and erecting windmills that would pump the water from the lake – created lots of work places and thus was extremely lucrative for the city.
It took no more than five years until the lake was drained: a polder was created. Ditches were dug, roads were built – with the drainage of De Beemster, the creation of the typical Dutch polder scenery had begun.