Droogmakerij de Beemster (Beemster Polder) (1999)
The Netherlands

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The Beemster Polder, dating from the early 17th century, is the oldest area of reclaimed land in the Netherlands. 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. 

The Beemster Polder is a masterpiece of creative planning, in which the ideals of antiquity and the Renaissance were applied to the design of a reclaimed landscape. The creation of the Beemster Polder marks a major step forward in the interrelationship between humankind and water at a crucial period of social and economic expansion. 

The Netherlands 2002. World Cultural Heritage. Souvenir sheet issued for the International Stamp Exhibition Amphilex.

The background of the sheet is a map of the Beemster polder after the lake was drained and the land surveyed. It is based on the map "Agri Biemstrani Descriptio" by Petrus Kaerius, published in 1617. A "polder" is a piece of land reclaimed from the sea by high embankments, and surrounded by dikes to keep the surrounding sea out. 

In the design of this miniature sheet it is attempted to point back to pre-philatelic period of the Netherlands. Shown is a so called "Drie Stuiver" (Three Shillings) postmark. This postmark was used from 1667 at the post office of Amsterdam and shows a postal horn and the coat of arms of the city.  The letter showed through which way an object reached the post office [H = Haagse post = mail from or through The Hague]. Further two types of transport are shown, the postal coach and the tow-boat. 

The added theme is the draining of the Beemster Lake, financed through the profits of trade in the East (= Indonesia). In the period 1608-1612 the Banestra Lake was drained under the direction of Jan Adriaenz, a carpenter, haudraulic engineer and dike builder, who later named himself Leeghwater [= Emptywater]. His portrait appears in the upper left corner of the souvenir sheet. Click here to see a close-up of the portrait. The link will open in a new window.   

The Netherlands 1963. World Cultural Heritage. Octagonal Polder windmill from southern Holland. The Netherlands 1962. World Cultural Heritae. Typical Polder landscape with windmills.

Source: special folder for AMPHILEX 2002, and translation from Dutch to English by Mr. Jan Prygoda, The Netherlands. 

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Other World Heritage Sites in The Netherlands (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section The Netherlands, for more information on such sites. 

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Revised 21 jul 2006  
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