Bilderdam, population about a few dozain
One of the smallest but most pictoresque places in this neighborhood is difficult to reach. Bilderdam is only a group of houses built around the dam and the bridge and can be reached over two very narrow roads leading away from the village in two directions. The village holds quite beautiful houses and farms, as well as a very nice view along the small river that is splitting the village in two halfs. Typical and monumental is the bridge operators house, straight across the bridge. From here the bridge guard used to sit and watch traffic on land and water. If necessary the bridge was opened and a ship could pass. Now-a-days this all goes automatically and not that many tall ships pass over this small river anymore.
"Veen" and "Polder", the cause and the effect
By digging away the thick peat-layer, huge lakes were created by man's need for fuel. With storm, these lakes floaded and endangered enormous area's. Then again the Dutch should find a way in getting the damage relaired and dikes seemed to be the best solution. Later however the shortage in land urged the Dutch to regain the territory that they so freely gave to the water. By creating an immens waterwaysystem throughout the whole of Holland, one by one the lakes were emptyed by - first windmills, later steamdriven pumping installations ("gemaal") and now-a-days diesel or electric variants. Still there are windmills also doing this task. How dangerous the situation is in my little country? Well, that depends whether the machines keep running. If they all would stop draining the water out of the polders ... one third of The Netherlands would be floaded within 48 hours! Throughout the landscape of Holland there are still many lakes originating in the winning of peat. These "Veen-plassen" (Peat-lakes) are now-a-days hot spots for all kinds of watersports.
Nieuwveen, a place that peat created
"Nieuwveen" is a wonderful village next to the Amstel. Here the "Kattebridge" offers a way to reach the other side. I here however want to tell you about a historical fact of Holland.
"Veen", one will see it in many names of Dutch places. It means "peat" the basic material in making "turf", which was in medieval times the black gold. This fuel came before oil, gas and other forms of modern fuels and was very important for Holland in economical sense. Before the Dutch went over seas, Holland - rich of peat - was thriving on this organic material that burned so well. Holland was however also digging it's own "grave" as the already low level of the ground was even lowered deeper and water started to appear everywhere. More on the next tip.
Amstel, maybe the most well-known river in Holland
"Amstel ?!? Wow, that's beer, isn't it" I hear an American tourist call out. After a deep sigh the explanation begin. Yes, it's beer that is widely exported to, among others, the States. But it is also a river, the river in which a dam was built that later became our capitol Amste(le)rdam. This small river is winding it's way South-West from the capitol and is the main stream of a polder landscape that is just beautiful. Acres (and now-a-days also greenhouses) that stretch out to the horizon, whil the river flows high over the land, which is protected against the water by dikes.
Vrouwenakker, a great place for men?
"Please, can I order about 65 kg of female, preferably blond and beautiful, with seizes 90 - 60 - 90 ...?"
No, this is not possible here (for this you should be in AMsterdam red light district about 20 kiloemtres further down-stream of the Amstel and also there they are not ment for export (-:
The small village of Vrouwenakker is situated on the banks of the river Amstel around the bridge that connects both sides. Here farmhouses maintain there cattle and land, but there are no farmers that grow women on their soil. The soil is rich (furtile clay), but not that rich.