Broek in Waterland is a treat for the eye and still breathes the atmosphere of the 17th and 18th century. In that period, Broek in Waterland was the most prosperous village of Waterland (nowadays the rural centres: Monnickendam, Marken, Broek in Waterland, Ilpendam, Katwoude, Overleek, Watergang, Uitdam and Zuiderwoude). Thankfully, due to its monument status, much of its rich history has been preserved.
Broek in Waterland consists of various small streets which carry detached wooden houses, with the Havenrak (a natural widening of the Ee rivulet) as centre. The traditional Broeker house usually consisted of only one floor due to the weak ground and was constructed with a timber frame and wooden walls. One house was usually occupied by several families.
Inn on the Lake is situated next to the old church of Broek in Waterland. The house itself is the old vicarage, and is one of the rare houses in Broek with a second floor. The church was built before 1400. In 1573 it was razed tot the groudn by the Spaniards during the 80-year War. In 1628 the inhabitatns of Broek started to rebuild the church on the foundations of the old building.
During the VOC times, the village was popular with ship-owners, captains and rich merchants, because it had (and has) a quiet and beautiful location, however still close to Amsterdam. One of her inhabitants was the illustrious Neeltje Pater, according to the tradition one of the richest women who has ever lived in The Netherlands. These very prosperous people built their fancy wooden houses here with beautiful interiors and had them painted in nice paste colors.
It will strike you that not all houses have been painted in paste colors, there are also many houses which have grey colors as outdoor complexion. This color was especially used during poor periods.
After shipping Broek in Waterland was good in dairy and stock breeding, especially in Amsterdam there was a large market. When shipping disappeared as main means for existence and people started to apply themselves to stock breeding and agriculture, sheds and stables were built next to the houses. This unique method of working can still be seen with some houses nowadays!