Background and History

De Drie Morgen is located in Spijkerboor, a village in the Wormer-Jisperveld region that lies roughly between the villages of Rijp, Purmerend, and Wormerveer. De Drie Morgen borders onthe North Holland Canal.

Origin of Wormer-Jisperveld

From salt to fresh, from low to high

Five thousand years ago, North Holland was a coastallandscape, that gradually became dryer from the formation of dunes along the coast. Rivers that used to flow into the sea brought fresh water to the salt water that was trapped behind the dunes. With this area of brackish water,marshes started to appear, and low peat was formed. Through the years, high peat developed from the continual layering and growth of peat moss, which is able to retain large quantities of rainwater. At the same time the bottom levelbecame land. Eventually layers of high peat stretched out across the greater part of the Waterland and the Zaanstreek, areas north of Amsterdam.

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The Wormer-Jisperveld is a unique area of protected hoogveen that remains to this day. Hoogveen is Dutch for high peat.

Hoogveen consists of several types of peat moss that continue to build on dead layers of older peat. It absorbs rainwater like a sponge. Since rainwater is poor in oxygen, it prevents dead material from decomposing. In this way, the hoogveen increased in height, with layers in North Holland probably reaching 3 meters or more. Through repeated flooding, large parcels of peat moss gradually disappeared. However, areas were spared and have survived to the present day. Wormer-Jisperveld is one of them, making this a valuable area for nature.

The Arrival of Man

Overpopulation causes cultivation; peat becomes farmland.

People did not dare to settle in the peat marshes until overpopulation in the dune region forced them to move. From the 10th century onward, people started cultivating the peat marshes in the Wormer-Jisperveld region and drainingthe land by digging ditches. To divert the excess water, these ditches were dug at a right angle onto the rivers. The upper layers of the peat dried up and formed fertile ground, ideal for growing wheat, rye, and oats. Hops and barley were also cultivated for the brewing of beer.

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Flooded high peat

History is still visible in the landscape.

Almost immediately, settlers had to fight the water. When peat dries out it hardens and shrinks. Then the field starts to sink below the water line, and the land cannot be used for cultivation. It can be used only for meadow or pasture. Therefore, farmers started to cultivate new areas of land. By the 1300s the Wormer-Jisperveld had been transformed into an agricultural region. Despite the dunes, the sea repeatedly invaded the hinterlands, washing away the peat and leaving brackish fens or flooded peat land. Farmers tried to ward off the seaby constructing dikes to protect the land. They moved from the low-lyingland and settled on the dikes. Characteristicvillages builtin a linealong the dikes,like Wormer and Jisp, developed. Distinctive patterns of cultivated land parcels are still visiblein thenarrow rectangular fields surrounded by ditches.

The Rise and Fall

In the Golden Age Wormer-Jisperveld was Holland’s first industrial region.

Farmers began in the 15th century to improve drainage methods by building windmills and theeconomy flourished. Then in the 17th century, the Golden Age of exploration and discovery, came a high demand for sea biscuits, hard tack. In Wormer and Jisp, bakeries emerged in response to the demand for these “twice-baked biscuits” from major trading ports and various shipping interests, including the whaling industry, Hanseatic trade, the United East India Company, and the West India Company. In Wormer there were 8 grain mills and more than 150 biscuit bakeries. This growth attracted other commercial activities. Money was invested in mills to saw stone and brick, in factories for the rendering of whale oil, and in windmills with specific functions for the production of oil, grain, and paper. Wormer-Jisperveld, the oldestDutch industrial area, was a goldmine far into the 17th century. By the 18th century, industry was in decline due to competition from the Zaanstreek region and repeated flooding. Eventually the windmills disappeared, and the land reverted to pasture.

Pure Natural Hay and Spacious Stalls

Birds, plants, and cattle prosper on De Drie Morgen.

De Drie Morgen combines modern techniques with traditional methods ofland and livestock management. The farm is required to comply with governmental regulations. For example, planting and harvesting are permitted only at specific times of the year so as not to disturb the meadow birds. In order to control the acidity in the soil, the amount of manure spread on the fields is limited. In this way, the diversity and abundance of plants in the meadowlands ismaintained. Cattle benefit by grazing on pure natural grassesrich in flowering plants.

At De Drie Morgen, we pamper our cattle. When they are unable to graze outdoors, they have a modern, well-lit, ventilated barn with plenty of space for movement. The calves are nursed by their own mothers and stay with them for a minimum of six months.

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