"Lovely fishermen's village" Zoutkamp by nighthawk

Zoutkamp Travel Guide: 2 reviews and 13 photos

Zoutkamp. Fishermen. Shrimps. Factory. Heiploeg. That s Zoutkamp in a nutshell as I know it.
But after visiting for so many times and wondering why Zoutkamp does look like an old army town, I finally decided to find out why.
This is what I found.
It seems that in the old days up tp the beginning of the last century Zoutkamp was a military fortress. This was because it is strategicly situated at the Lauwerszee (sea). The Lauwerszee evolved to an innersea due to large seafloods in the 10th and 11th century. Two rivers, the Reitdiep and the Lauwers ended here.
Fishing was big even before the fortifications were of no longer use. At the end of the 16th century fishing was done in small open boats in which fishermen set out to sea.
Fishing was a lucrative way of earning ones bread. In 1641 the capital Groningen defended the rights of her own 'city fishermen' against the people from Zoutkamp.

Little is known of the development of Zoutkamp as a fishing village. Not many notes were taken during the period of the Middle Ages up to the 19th century.
Military history is more known. Battles against the Spanish and later the English took place.
In 1797 it was decided to restore the stronghold and the hut camp on the entranchment.
In 1879 they took the powder magazine down and the military grounds were sold off as building sites. Zoutkamp no longer was a military fortress.

In the 19th century fishermen mainly fished for haddock.
From 1817 up to 1834 the village also had a drying house for herring.
The fleet of Zoutkamp had about 20 boats in 1839. Big changes came when steam trawlers came into fashion in 1880. Many Zoutkamp fishermen signed on large trawlers and luggers in growing fishing villages like IJmuiden and Vlaardingen.
The rise of 'modern' fishery meant the down fall of the way the Zoutkamp fisher men fished, the so called 'beug visserij', fishing with long lines with hooks and bait set out in open sea.
Many fishermen drowned during the great storms of 1883 and 1893.

Shrimp fishing evolved after 1920 when the last steam trawlers set out from Zoutkamp. The caught shrimps were used for human consumption but were also made into cattle fodder, locally known as 'puf'.
During WW II most ships were taken by the occupied forces.
After 1945 Zoutkamp really developped to the main area of shrimp fishing in the Netherlands.

At the Reitdiepskade is a museum were the development of Zoutkamp is displayed.

  • Last visit to Zoutkamp: Sep 2002
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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