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Finger in the Dyke Tour I bike routes Amsterdam

A peaceful green tour, largely along cycle paths heading towards the historical seaside town of Spaarndam, made famous by the story of Hans Brinker. 35 km: Count on three hours of cycling and one hour of sightseeing.

Directions (the map below does not show the route but the location of the sights)

From Central Station, follow the (cycle route) signs in the direction of Haarlem-Halfweg-Spaarnwoude. Cycle along the Haarlemmerdijk and Haarlemmerstraat shopping streets, through the Westerpark and Brettenzone (partly similar to the Flevoroute LF 20) towards Spaarndam. You can follow parts of the same route back to Amsterdam or opt for the slightly longer route via Zaandam: take the Buitenhuizen ferry across the North Sea Canal. Cycle along the dyke through Nauerna to Zaandam. Alternatively you can take the low, more peaceful Veldweg and Ringweg roads. Carry on to Amsterdam as described in the route for the Zaanse Schans.

You can also follow the connecting route from Nauerna to Zaandijk and the Zaanse Schans. Head through Westzaan, a beautiful linear polder settlement boasting lots of old wooden houses, or cycle along the cycle path next to the scenic Nauernasevaart to the water tower.

 

Sights

A. Start

B. The Westerpark is made in the tradition of a formal English-style park combined with a new cultural park including the industrial buildings of the former Westergasfabriek gasworks.

C. Sloterdijk mainly includes large office blocks. Only the church and a few houses remain of the original village.

D. Brettenzone, a rather narrow stretch of rough woods and nature stretching close to Haarlem. Every now and then through the greenery, the tracks of the rail link to Haarlem appear on the right and the industrial harbour area on the left.

E. The hamlet of Spaarnwoude has been around for more than 1.000 years. The Spaarnwoude recreational area was named after this mediaeval village : originally open farmland and converted into a large inter-urban park. Houtrak with its traditional family picnic areas is now especially popular among Turkish families at the weekend.

F. Spaarndam. Shortly before nearing Spaarndam, you will find the Rijnlandshuis (built in 1641) on the left. This building was used by the officials in charge of the dyke maintenance and drainage. Strategically located, the former fishing village Spaarndam was nestled behind the dyke of the south IJ bank at the Spaarne crossing. Spaarndam has a rich history of battling it out against the threat of flooding from the sea. Stormy waters repeatedly damaged the dam, even causing parts of it to collapse twice in 1361 and 1514 respectively.

G. A sea lock was built for shipping traffic to Haarlem. The old lock leads across to the Spaarne river. On the lock, you’ll find a small statue of the legendary Hans Brinker. The story has it that Hansje Brinker prevented a terrible flood one long night by first sticking his finger and then his entire arm into a hole in the dyke to stop the water flowing through. In fact, the legend is a late 19th century romantic fantasy created by American novelist Mary Mapes Dogde in the book entitled ‘Hans Brinker, or the silver skates'(1865)

H. statue of Hanse Brinker was erected in 1950 with the following inscription: ‘Dedicated to our youth to honor the boy who symbolizes the perpetual struggle of Holland against the water’ after the statue, on the left, you look down into the late-mediaeval harbour basin surrounded by picturesque, stately houses and cafés. One café dates from 1571.

I, J, do not indicate sights but the route.

Continue at Finger in the Dyke tour II

Total distance: km