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The ha- one
for the Amsterdam market. bitations passed on the way are mostly cottages of one story, surmounted hy roofs nearly twice as high as the walls; these serve as store-rooms for the winter stock of hay.
BROEK [pronounced Brook], celebrated as the cleanest village in the world, is a place of considerable extent, built on the border of a large pond or lake. Many of its 800 inhabitants are merchants, landed proprietors, underwriters, stock-brokers, or tradesmen who have amassed fortunes and retired from business. Some of them are taken up with the manufacture of those little round cheeses, known all over the world as Dutch cheeses, an article of great traffic, and source of considerable wealth to the province of North Holland. "There is neither horse nor cart road through the place; so we were obliged to leave our carriage at a small inn on its outskirts, and to walk through it. A notice on a board warns strangers that they are not to smoke in the village without a stopper on their pipe, nor to ride through it, but must dismount and lead their horse at a foot pace! The narrow lanes or passages which intersect it are paved with bricks or little stones set in patterns. Broek has been the subject of many exaggerated descriptions; this, for instance, is dignified in the Guide-books by the name of mosaic. The paths are strewed with sand or shells, also arranged in patterns, so precise is the neatness which here prevails. The houses are mostly of wood, very scrupulously painted white and green; indeed, it has been said that some people here keep a painter in their house all the year round, that the building may always preserve the same freshness of aspect within and without; but this is another exaggeration. Almost all the houses glitter in the sun, with roofs of polished tiles of different colours; the habitations of the poorer classes are usually only of one story; those of the rich are for the most part of the style which has been appropriately called "the florid Cockney," something between Grecian, Chinese, and Saracenic;
has a pasteboard-looking front, intended to represent a temple; another is painted with such various colours as to call to mind the scenery of a theatre; all vie with one another in extravagance and absurdity. Many of them are planted at the edge of canals, and are approached by bridges formed of planks. Yet Broek has an inanimate and listless appearance, owing to the custom of keeping the front door and windows always closed, save for the entrance of the bridal pair after marriage, and for the exit of a corpse for burial. one should visit Broek without entering one of the houses, as the interior is far more curious than the outside. The greater part of them are private dwellings, and of course strangers are not admitted without an introduction to their owners. Not being provided with such recommendation, we were content to repair to one of the numerous dairy farms, where cheese is made, and where a small present procured us admission. It was amusing to observe the anxiety with which one of the children of the house laid down a wet cloth before us at the door, in order that we might clean our feet upon it, and thus introduce no pollution into their dwelling. Before almost every house in the place we had remarked a large collection of shoes and sabots, for the inmates usually put them off at the door, like the Turks, and walk through the house in slippers or stockings; and even the Emperor Alexander, it is said, on visiting Broek, was compelled to comply with this usage.'
On entering the house we found a stable for the cows in winter running round three sides of it, the centre and remaining side being set apart for human beings. The cows were all absent from home in their summer quarters, the fields. I am sure that
of the poor people of England, and a much larger proportion of the Irish, are not so well and cleanly lodged as the brutes in this country. The pavement was of Dutch tiles, the walls of deal boards, not painted or rough sawn, but as smooth and as clean as a dining
table in an English farm-house. From one end of the stable to the other runs a gutter, and above it, over each stall, a hook is fastened in the ceiling. When the cattle are within doors, their tails, from motives of cleanliness, that they may not dangle in the dirt and besmear their comely sides, are tied up to these hooks in the ceiling !"
Here may be seen the cheeses in various stages of preparation, some in the press, others soaking in water and imbibing salt, and every part of the process distinguished by the most refined purity. A vast quantity of these sweet milk cheeses (zoetemelk kaas) or Edam cheeses as they are here styled, are made in North Holland. They are sold at the markets of Alkmaar, Hoorn, &c., and are exported thence to the most distant countries of the globe.
The closed door in every house, mentioned above, leads to an apartment which is rarely entered or opened, save by the housewife herself, who once a-week unfastens the shutters, takes down all the china, dusts it, and scrubs the furniture; and after scouring the walls and floor, and polishing the stoves, closes up the door and shutters again, till the revolving week brings round another day of purification. We were admitted even into this sanctum, and duly appreciated the tidiness of the whole; the exact marshalling of the china cups and teapots, under whose weight every shelf and ledge seemed to groan; and the picturesqueness of the old-fashioned furniture.
The garden attached to the mansion of Mr. Van der Beck is the show place at Broek, only because it surpasses in its absurdities all the others. In the miscellaneous nature of its contents, it beats the famous garden described in the "Groves of Blarney" all to nothing. Such an accumulation of pavilions, arbours, summer-houses, pagodas, bridges, and temples, Gothic, Grecian, Chinese, and rustic, are nowhere else to be seen, except perhaps at the Pfauen Insel, Potsdam. To mention a few. In one spot a Swiss cottage is tenanted by two wooden puppets as
large as life, one of which smokes a pipe, the other, a female, spins, and even sings, while a wooden dog barks at the entrance of strangers, all by the aid of clockwork. In one corner of this toyshop garden is a wooden garde de chasse, with a sham musket, in the attitude of one about to shoot; in the pond a pasteboard swan, duck, and a mermaid.
With all its absurdity and extrava gance, Broek deserves to be seen as a curiosity; but it must not be regarded as a characteristic specimen of Holland; as the village is, in fact, unlike any other, and exhibits a caricature of Dutch manners and cleanliness as well as of Dutch taste,
An English traveller, fond of agricultural pursuits, would find much gratification in a visit to the neighbouring small town of Purmerende. Near it he will see the great drained lake called Beemster; here he will find the richest meadows, the finest cattle, the neatest farm-houses, and the most perfect dairies and cow-stables. Here he may taste in spring and summer the finest butter and richest cream in the world. He may also learn many useful particulars respecting the Dutch system of grazing and breeding cattle, If he has a taste for hydraulics, he might here draw a comparison between the wind draining mills by means of the screw of Archimedes, and the method of draining, mis-called Dutch, still pursued in the fens of Lincoln and Cambridgeshire. This district, which is more particularly described in Route 4., would afford a more correct idea of Holland, and the manners of the Dutch, than a mere visit to Broek.
To proceed from Broek to Saardam the road must be retraced nearly to Bruiksloot; thence to Saardam it runs along the back of a huge sea dyke, which follows the indentations of the shore, and keeps out the sea from a district so intersected in every direction by canals, that the extent of water nearly equals that of dry land.
SAARDAM. Steamers ply twice aday in winter, and six times a-day in summer, between Amsterdam (Stads
herberg) and Saardam across the Y in 1 hour; fare 13 stivers.
Saardam (properly Zaandam).-Inn, the Otter, famed for its fish dinners and high charges; it lies close to the water, with a fine view of the river and shipping;-Morianshoofd (Moor's head). This town stands at the junction of the Zaan with the Y: it has 9000 inhab. It consists of a line of windmills, amounting to 400 in number- some of gigantic size, with the houses attached to them, extending along the banks of the Zaan, to the neighbouring villages of Zaandyk, Koeg, Wormerveer, and Krommenie, and forming together a street nearly 5 miles long. The windmills are turned to a great variety of uses besides that of grinding corn. The water is pumped up, and land drained, timber is sawn, paper is made, tobacco chopped into snuff, rapeseed crushed for the oil, and colours ground for the painter, entirely by their agency. The oil mills are
well worth the attention of persons acquainted with the state of similar works in England. The oil trade is of great importance here. In some of these windmills a peculiar kind of sandstone, brought from the neighbourhood of Bremen, is reduced into dust solely to furnish the Dutch housewife with sand for her floor. Still more important are those mills in which the volcanic tuff, brought from the borders of the Rhine near Andernach, is ground to powder, to supply, when mixed with lime and sand, that valuable cement called terrass, used in constructing locks, sluices, and dykes, which has the property of hardening under water.
Saardam is, secondly, remarkable for the cottage or hut in which Peter the Great lived in 1696, while working as a common shipwright in the shipyards of Mynheer Calf, a rich merchant, in order to enable himself to instruct his subjects in the art of building ships. He went by the name of Peter Baas, or Master Peter, among his fellowlabourers; wore a common carpenter's dress, and was seen in that costume hard at work by the Great Duke of Marlborough.
The building is of rough planks, and leans much on one side, from the foundation having given way. It was bought by the late Queen of Holland, sister of the Emperor Alexander, who, in order to protect so venerable a relic from the destroying effects of the weather, caused a case to be built over it, which can be closed with shutters. It consists of two small rooms: in one of them is Peter's bed, which is nothing better than a cupboard, closed in front with doors: above is a loft, which can only be entered by a ladder. The walls of the two rooms are so covered with names from all countries of the world, in pen, pencil, ink, or cut with a knife, that it is hardly possible to lay your finger upon a vacant inch. Among the rest is that of the Emperor Alexander, who caused a marble tablet to be placed over the chimney-piece with an inscription to this effect;
"Nothing is too small for a great man."
The period of Peter's stay at Saardam was much more limited than is generally supposed. He suffered so much inconvenience from the concourse of idle gazers, who assembled to look at him, that he preferred retiring to Amsterdam, where he could work in comparative privacy, within the walls of the dockyard of the East India Company. Large ships are no longer built at Saardam.
Two hours are amply sufficient to see all that is remarkable in Saardam, and at the expiration of that time the steamer will have returned, which will take the traveller back to Amsterdam, enabling him to make the excursion in 4 or 5 hours.
HAARLEM TO THE HELDER, BY ALKMAAR AND HET NIEUWE DIEP, AND BACK TO AMSTERDAM.
9 Posts 46 Eng. m.
Steamers twice a-day from Amsterdam to Alkmaar, by Wormerveer, in 3 hours. The Trekschuit, a commo
dious barge, with 3 cabins, starts every morning, except Sunday, from Willemsluis near Buiksloot, along the Great North Holland Canal, and reaches the Helder in 12 hours (fare, 4 grs. 4 st.). In proceeding from Haarlem, the traveller may embark on the canal at Alkmaar. This is an easy and expeditious route, and affords an opportunity to see the canal and its sluices." (See Route 3.) There is a daily coach from Haarlem to Alkmaar. But the best way probably of going to Alkmaar is to take the steamer from Amsterdam to Saardam, from which latter place a corresponding steamer runs to Alkmaar. The steamer arrives at Alkmaar about an hour before the barge starts from Alkmaar to the Helder.
North Holland, lying as it does out of the great route between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, has hitherto been rarely visited by travellers. The inhabitants, living removed from intercourse with strangers, retain more of the old customs, habits, and dress of their forefathers than is found in South Holland. This province is besides physically interesting, from its position and the nature of the soil. It is a peninsula, projecting into the sea; the borders of it contiguous to the ocean consist of sand; the rest is clay and bog: its length is about 20 leagues, and its greatest breadth 5 or 6. The land lies, almost everywhere, below the level of the ocean, and is protected from its inroads, from Kykduin along the coast of the Zuider Zee to Zaandam and Beverwyk, by large dykes, which, in the neighbourhood of the Helder, surpass in size and strength all others that are to be met with in Holland, except those of West Kappel, in Zealand; so stupendous are they, that, on their account alone, this corner of Europe deserves to be explored. It is intersected in its entire length by the Great North Holland Canal (see p. 64.), through which almost the whole commerce of Amsterdam now passes. short distance off its shore were fought
very memorable engagements between the Dutch and English, especially that of Camperdown, gained by
Lord Duncan. The fortress of the Helder, rising out of sand and waves, and the roads of the Texel, lie at the termination of it. The cattle fed upon this tongue of land are famed for their beauty, and the abundance and rich. ness of the milk and cheese which they yield; the sheep for the fineness of their fleeces and the excellence of their mutton. Those who take an interest in hydraulics will find many objects worthy of their attention; and the works along the Nieuwe Diep will not be passed unnoticed by those who can appreciate the objects in view, and the means by which they have been attained. Last of all, we must especially observe, that the females of North Holland are particularly distinguished by their beauty, by the remarkable clearness of their complexions, and by the neatness and gracefulness of their costume, which is almost peculiar to the district. The back of the head is encircled by a broad fillet of pure gold, shaped like a horse-shoe, which confines the hair, and terminates on each side of the temple in 2 large rosettes, also of pure gold, suspended somewhat like blinkers before the eyes of a horse; over this is worn a cap or veil of the finest and richest lace, with lappets hanging down the neck; and a pair of enormous gold ear-rings. These ornaments are often of real gold, even among the lower classes, and the cost of them is considerable. Great sacrifices are made to purchase them, and they are considered heir-looms in a family.
At the Inns in North Holland it is customary, and even necessary, to prevent extortion, to make a bargain with the innkeeper respecting the charge for dinner and other meals, which should be ordered at so much a-head. This district, indeed, is perhaps the most expensive on the continent for living.
Charges-beds, 1 guilder, 10 stitea, with eggs, 14 stivers; breakfast, with eggs, cheese, and sausages, 16 stivers.
The immediate neighbourhood of Haarlem is pleasing. Not far from the
road, and backed by trees, stood the Castle of Brederode, now a picturesque ruin (p. 48.); beyond this come the Dunes, from whose ridges a view extends on the right over the Wyker meer, covered with shipping, even to the windmills of Saardam, which may be discerned on a clear day. Near Velzen botanists may view a splendid collection of exotic plants at the villa of Mr. Van der Hoop. Admittance is gained by applying to the gardener. After passing Velzen we arrive at
Beverwyk. (Inn, Heerenlogement.) A considerable town, a pattern of Dutch purity and neatness, in its clean streets, villa-like houses, with fresh painted jalousies and window-sills, and its rows of trees clipped like hedges. At Prinzens Bosch, or Kruidberg, near Beverwyk, a country seat of William III., the expedition to England, which led to the dethronement of James II., and the Revolution of 1688, was planned and decided on. At Beverwyk the road leaves the shore of the Wyker meer. The country beyond is almost entirely devoted to pasture, and is covered over with beautiful herds of cattle, which here compose the wealth of the district. Except a few willows, trees have almost entirely disappeared; the country is one vast meadow.
In 1799 an English expedition, which landed at the Helder, penetrated as far as the village called Castricum, where they were repulsed by the French under General Brune. Farther on, to the left, stand the ruins of Egmont, from which the noble family, so distinguished in the annals of Holland, derived its origin and name. was destroyed by the Spaniards. very small portion of the castle and abbey remains. Many counts of Holland were buried in the latter. The philosopher Descartes resided here for some time.
33. ALKMAAR, Inns: Roode Leeuw (Red Lion). Charges moderate and accommodation good. Hotel de Toelast. The landlord is the proprietor of the diligence between Alkmaar and Haarlem. Heerenlogement. Alkmaar derives its name from the
number of morasses and ponds, now dried up, which surrounded it in ancient times; it has 9000 inhab., and is another example of Dutch neatness and good order, in its streets and houses, that to a traveller is very striking. The Hôtel de Ville is a highly ornamented edifice, with Gothic tracery; it is said to resemble on a small scale that of Brussels. The Church of St. Lawrence is a handsome building of the 15th century. Here may be seen the tomb containing the heart of Count Floris V. of Holland. It has been lately well and carefully restored.
The town stands upon the Great Canal of the Texel; it carries on the most considerable commerce in cheese of any place in the world. A weekly market is held here, for the sale of it, to which the farmers and country people for many miles round resort, and dispose of the produce of their dairies to merchants, who export it to the extremities of the earth. 9,000,000 lbs. of cheese are weighed annually in the town scales. Alkmaar has many nice walks around it, especially the Wood, similar to those of the Hague and Haarlem.'
Alkmaar endured, in 1573, a siege from the Spaniards, nearly equal in the severity with which it was urged on by the besiegers, and hardly inferior in the glorious example of bold resistance offered by the citizens, to those of Haarlem and Leiden. It was the first enterprize in which the Spaniards failed; it allowed the rest of Holland to draw breath, and gain confidence. The defence was the more noble, since the resolution of adhering to the side of the Prince of Orange was not adopted by the men of Alkmaar until the enemy was at their gates.
A very indifferent road leads from Alkmaar to Hoorn, a 3 hours' drive.
From Alkmaar to the Helder is a drive of 3 hours; "the charge for a carriage with 2 horses thither, including barriers, driver, &c., comes to 27 guilders, i. e. 10 less than posting.”
North of Alkmaar, upon the seashore, between Kamp and Petten, is a