Around 1320, the dikes around Westfriesland were closed down to one circular dyke of 126 km long, the Westfrisian Omringdijk. The inhabitants within the dyke mainly lived from agriculture and fishing, but the drainage meant that the fertile peat disappeared, and people switched from agriculture to livestock farming. This required fewer workers, so many people moved to the city to learn crafts such as lace making, bookbinding and making cheese and clogs.
Many beautiful cycling routes in the area take you over the Westfrisian Omringdijk.
The 17th century, the Golden Age, was an important period for Westfriesland. It was a period of great wealth for the Dutch Republic. With the East India Company (VOC), trade blossomed. The cities Hoorn, Enkhuizen and Medemblik were situated on the Zuiderzee and benefited from the prosperity at the time.
Strolling through the streets of Hoorn and Enkhuizen you will discover that the rich history is reflected in the imposing buildings, churches, museums and monuments.
After this period of prosperity, the West Frisians lived mainly from cattle breeding and were usually self-sufficient. They lived in typical Westfrisian farms, stolpboerderijen, in which they had their family, cattle and all materials under one roof. In the landscape you can still find many of these farmhouses that are used to live. Some are open to visit.
Between 1927 and 1932 the dike, Afsluitdijk, was built which separated the Waddenzee from the Zuiderzee. As a result, the Zuiderzee disappeared and became a lake called the IJsselmeer. Nowadays you will find many beaches along the IJsselmeer where you can relax and swim. You will even find beach pavilions where you can enjoy an ice cream, a drink or delicious food.