Spaarndam

Spaarndam is a small village in the province of North Holland, the Netherlands, on the Spaarne river and the IJ lake. The oldest part of the village, on the western side of the Spaarne, belongs to the municipality of Haarlem; the newer part on the eastern side is a part of the municipality of Haarlemmermeer. The village is built around a dam in the river, which is also the division line of the two municipalities.

Spaarndam was created around a dam where the river Spaarne flows into the IJ. This dam was built here by count Floris V of Holland in 1285. The village collected toll at this dam, and people made their living from fishing. From 1812 to 1927, the western part of Spaarndam was an independent municipality.

The village has some tourism, and many people commute to Amsterdam and Haarlem.

Spaarndam has always been strongly connected to water. Now, besides the river and the fishing, it is now also famous because of a story within the 1865 American novel, Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates. The story within the book is about a Dutch boy, "The Hero of Haarlem," who stuck his finger in a dike to prevent the town from flooding. The story became a popular legend in America, and in 1950 the local tourist bureau put a statue of this character in Spaarndam.

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