Last November 12 the first performance of Carel Kraayenhof’s new composition ‘Bamestra’ took place. Carel wrote this piece in honour of the festivities of ‘Beemster 400’.
In the presence of a.o. mayor Brinkman the Kraayenhof Tango Ensemble played this beautiful composition in the ‘Grote Keyser’ in Middenbeemster.
About 400 years ago entire Holland was occupied by the soldiers of the Duke of Alva, the Spanish general. Entire Holland?
No, a small region kept offering resistance to the oppressors and made the lives of the Spaniards in the surrounding camps not exactly easy…. The borders of North-Holland were defended bravely and also the Beemster lake, named Bamestra, formed a strong protection against the progress of the enemy in the direction of West-Friesland; The lake was sailed by the Waterland fleet, that watched over the Zuiderzee.
And when the lake frose in winter, the ice was ruined by the people so that the Spaniards could not cross over.
The Beemster lake however was so turbulent with floods, that the wild waters threatened the surrounding villages and the decision was made to build dikes, for which a lot of money was needed.
There is a story about a skipper from Hoorn, named Pieter Pikmans, a friend of Dirck van Oss:
“This Pikmans got the idea in 1595 that the Spanish ships being wrecked on the rocky coasts of Ireland, probably had not sunk as deep as ships usually do on our sandy coasts. So he started searching there for goods with hooks and other tools.”
He succeeded in fishing up chests with gold and silver and other valuables. He returned with a big treasure, built an expensive mansion in Hoorn and lived there in abundance.
Furthermore it is told that Pikmans left two daughters, who married sons of distinguished citizens in Hoorn and that from their richess came the first considerable contribution to the fund, that was judged necessary to start the impoldering of the Beemster.
“How miraculous is in this matter the guidance of the Divine Providence! The money, once by King Filips II predestined to ruin the Nation, had to serve few years later to benefit one of the most important enterprises in the interest and for the fame of the inhabitants of Holland”.
As a result of the efforts of many wealthy merchants like Dirck van Oss and Pieter Pikmans and thanks to the ingenious windmills of Jan Adriaanszoon Leeghwater we succeeded in making land out of water and in keeping our feet dry for 400 years.
We wish you much listening pleasure with this new homage to the Beemster.