6 - Oud-Kraggenburg: pier at the Zwarte Water river

Oud-Kraggenburg is often seen as the most beautiful location of the Noordoostpolder. It already existed when the Noordoostpolder was still the Zuiderzee. It is a place that boasts a remarkable and unique history. In Kraggenburg and its surroundings, many inhabitants regard this spot as paradise in the polder.

Between Kraggenbrug and the Kadoeler sluice, a hill fortified with basalt stones is supporting the Lighthouse keeper’s residence of Old-Kraggenburg that was located at the mouth of the Zwarte Water river before the reclamation.Between Kraggenbrug and the Kadoeler sluice, a hill fortified with basalt stones is supporting the Lighthouse keeper’s residence of Old-Kraggenburg that was located at the mouth of the Zwarte Water river before the reclamation.

Oud-Kraggenburg is an island amidst land, rising high above the fields and the cycling path and far away from ongoing roads. The basalt dikes around the dwelling mound shape into a defensive stronghold around the picturesque home with its wide facade and green shutters. Whoever comes cycling from (north) west will see a cast-iron bell on the roof that was once working as a fog alarm. The lighthouse on top of the house can be seen from afar thanks to its red roof. Indoors, the water well in one of the rooms makes for a remarkable interior detail. Looking outside from the window here, you can see the other water well in the garden. The two wells are connected to each like communicating barrels. Standing on the mound, you will feel amazed as you gaze over the vastness of the view.

Each year, and each season, the surrounding fields are an ever-changing landscape like a colourful blanket at the feet of Old-Kraggenburg.Each year, and each season, the surrounding fields are an ever-changing landscape like a colourful blanket at the feet of Old-Kraggenburg.

Wind

When there is wind, Oud-Kraggenburg feels it. Storms never ignore this spot. Cloud formations and rain showers can be seen coming from afar. Sunrises and sunsets do not go by unnoticed. At night, it can be pitch dark, and the twinkling starry sky is clear to see. The sounds of wind, birds and silence are ever there, as there is no motorised traffic. The only thing that can briefly disrupt the silence are the farmers working their fields. On summer days, many people cycle past the route that takes them along Oud-Kraggenburg.  Residents who are then enjoying the sun on their terrace behind the basalt dike, can regularly hear passers-by exclaim: 'Look how pretty! People live here? No way!’

Oud-Kraggenburg

So what is Oud-Kraggenburg exactly? Oud-Kraggenburg is a former peninsula/island in the Zuiderzee with a lighthouse dwelling. A lighthouse dwelling is a house with a lighthouse, built on a 'terp', or, a dwelling mound. The foot of that mound has a small inland port, also called an emergency port, where sailing ships and steamships took shelter during fog and storms.

Urk and Schokland are also former islands in the Zuiderzee, but what is most remarkable and unique about Oud-Kraggenburg is the fact that it is an artificial island with its very own history. This history begins around 1840 in Zwolle, at the company the ‘Zwolse Diep Maatschappij’. Zwolle had the ambition to become the third largest port in the Netherlands. This required the river Zwarte Water and the Zwolse Diep, which together ensured Zwolle was connected to the Zuiderzee, remained properly navigable for larger ships.

By constructing long breakwaters along the channel, vessels with unbroken cargo could continue for the harbor in Zwolle without first partially unloading at Schokland. Revenues were gained from levying tolls and from the forecasted land reclamation between the Zuiderlei Dam and the mainland above Genemuiden.By constructing long breakwaters along the channel, vessels with unbroken cargo could continue for the harbor in Zwolle without first partially unloading at Schokland. Revenues were gained from levying tolls and from the forecasted land reclamation between the Zuiderlei Dam and the mainland above Genemuiden.