In the northwest of the Groene Hart we find, on the border of the provinces Utrecht and Noord Holland, the Vechtplassen district. Formed by the harvest of moor, the Vechtplassen today are a region that is excellent for recreational purposes, especially with the many lakes in the area being a great attraction to water sports.
The Vechtplassen region consists of the municipalities Wijdemeren, De Ronde Venen, Loenen and Maarssen. With the Vechtplassen itself we mean among others the Loosdrechtse Plassen, Vinkeveense Plassen and Maarsseveense Plassen. These lakes arose through the winning of peat in the peat bog area southern of Amsterdam.
The peat culture stood in place from the Dutch Golden Age until the late nineteenth century. Not only the amount of water in the area remembers of this time, but we also recognize it in the agricultural polders and the typical kind of† lay-out of the settlements, with most buildings along roads and canals.
Right through the Vechtplassengebied flows the river Utrechtse Vecht, a distributary river branche of the river Rhine that flows in the Zuiderzee near Muiden. Along the river several castles were built for strategic reasons, like Kasteel Nijenrode and the Muiderslot. The Utrechtse Vecht fulfilled an important role in transportation, but with the creation of the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal itís importance decreased.
Particular about the Vecht is that the water does not flow in the same direction over the full length of the river. The water level in the IJsselmeer is higher than that of the Vecht at the locks in Muiden. Solely with heavy rain fall the river flows in itís original direction completely.
Like we said, in the region there are a lot of towns with for a peat bog area characteristic cultivation, often along waterways that were crucial for the transportation of peat. In the Veenmuseum In de Veenen you can see how the life in these peat bog settlements was in those early days.
A great contrast with these settlements are the country houses (or buitenplaatsen) that were established by rich merchants from Amsterdam. Besides the castles there are also numerous estates, country houses and villas next to the water.
The Vechtplassen district is the perfect holiday destination for lovers of aquatic sports. Having a boat trip, sailing, canoeing, surfing and water skiing, everything is possible. The location near the major cities of The Netherlands make the Vechtplassen also extremely suitable for a day out.
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