The history of Kamperzeedijk

An ancient IJsseldelta The IJssel delta region, Kamperzeedijk is located in, was a major land connection to the North of the Netherlands. By the Ijssel estuary and the Black Water it was also an important transit port as part of the hanseatic route. The dominion over the cities in this area was very intense.
Local history tells many rough and tough battles. In Roman times the high-altitude settlements were surrounded by the area, now named Polder Mastenbroek.

The white sheep 
The area, the current polder Mastenbroek was divided in 1364, however, after much struggle. The mighty castle “Voorst” was destroyed after a conflict (which took months). Mastenbroek is one of the oldest polders in the Netherlands. Kamperzeedijk (the seawall protecting Mastenbroek) was in the past an important connection. The dike has many inns known (no longer existing). The memorials stone “the White Sheep” is a memorial of one of the inns. The legend says that Napoleon Bonaparte was in Kamperzeedijk. The “White Sheep” takes its name from a number of French soldiers who were lost at night in the fog in the marshy Mastenbroek polder. A blaring white sheep led them to Kamperzeedijk in thick fog. The stone commemorates this legend can be found in a corner house at Sheep Lane (on the opposite side the pub “de pompe” to Kamperzeedijk).

A dike and its swirl 
Kamperzeedijk is embellished with numerous wells that have emerged from previous dikes. There were between 1428 and 1761 about 34 floods. 1775 spanned the crown with many breakthroughs in the dikes around Mastenbroek. More breakthroughs were reported in 1784, 1799, 1808, 1809 and 1825. You see often a drain on one side of the dike and on the very same place also on the other side of the dike. This characterises the heavy breakthrough. The dike was subsequently rebuilt at the beaten vortex (which later created two wells).
These reservoirs are often quite deep beaten, but as the years slip, it gets slowly closed. These are ideal fishing and bathing locations. On a hot day you see a lot swimmers in the larger swirls.

The disaster in 1825 
Kamperzeedijk in the past plagued by several floods, the flood of April and February 5, 1825 was one of the toughest. Between ten and eleven o’clock in the morning of February 4 Kamperzeedijk broke between Veneriete and Lutter Zijl at two parts. Almost during the same time the dike between Grafhorst and Kampen broke and later on the day more dike breakthroughs followed. The report says that the houses at Kamperzeedijk were first attacked by the water and were mostly completely destroyed. Many people lost their lives. The enormous power of the floating water was reinforced by the large amount of poles taken from the seawall of the nearby Schokland. The float shattered all buildings on its way.

Many fishing boats were drifting in the flood of Schokland, so also the “Rijksjacht” that drove through Mastenbroek and it’s funny enough that the boat arrived nearly undamaged in Zwolle.
Today the water seems to be far away by the presence of the protective barrier and reinforced embankments. But when the river Ijssel and the Ijsselmeer are filled above average the water level in the Ijssel delta region reaches a dangerous level. Therefore the prestigious and in the world unique protective barrier project is initiated at the Ramspol (river mouth from the river IJssel/Ketelmeer into the Zwartewater).

During the Second World War the area was again floated. This time the area was not floated by water. The Germans were fighting against the Allied landings.

‘d Olde Mechiene
Even tourists from abroad come and visit Kamperzeedijk because of the ‘d Olde Mechiene. The local inhabitants gave her the name. The pumping station to the east of Kamperzeedijk was built in 1885 and is the oldest running horizontal running steam engine in Europe. The machine was running a long period in former times at the “Mastenbroeker polder” to keep the area clean of water. Later in 1961 next the old steam engine a new pumping station “The Venerite” was build to keep the region dry.

The ‘d Olde Mechiene is sometimes still running, recognisable by the smoke plume and the Dutch flag. Volunteers keep the pumping station asset. If the machine is in service many spectators come along to gaze at this old steam engine.