IJ (Amsterdam)

Last updated
A ferry across the IJ in Amsterdam GVB ferry Ijveer 52 a.jpg
A ferry across the IJ in Amsterdam
View over the IJ towards the West: Centraal Station to the left, former Shell headquarters right of centre Amsterdam regenboog2.JPG
View over the IJ towards the West: Centraal Station to the left, former Shell headquarters right of centre

The IJ (pronounced [ɛi̯] ; sometimes shown on old maps as Y or Ye) is a body of water, formerly a bay, in the Dutch province of North Holland. It is known for being Amsterdam's waterfront. Its name is from an obsolete Dutch word meaning "water" (cognate with the dialectal English "ea"). The name consists of the digraph ij , which behaves like a single letter. Therefore both letters are capitalized; cf. IJmuiden.

Map A symbolic depiction of relationships between elements of some space

A map is a symbolic depiction emphasizing relationships between elements of some space, such as objects, regions, or themes.

Body of water Any significant accumulation of water, generally on a planets surface

A body of water or waterbody is any significant accumulation of water, generally on a planet's surface. The term most often refers to oceans, seas, and lakes, but it includes smaller pools of water such as ponds, wetlands, or more rarely, puddles. A body of water does not have to be still or contained; rivers, streams, canals, and other geographical features where water moves from one place to another are also considered bodies of water.

Bay A recessed, coastal body of water connected to an ocean or lake

A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, such as an ocean, a lake, or another bay. A large bay is usually called a gulf, sea, sound, or bight. A cove is a type of smaller bay with a circular inlet and narrow entrance. A fjord is a particularly steep bay shaped by glacial activity.



Today, the IJ is divided into two parts:

North Sea Canal Dutch ship canal

The North Sea Canal is a Dutch ship canal from Amsterdam to the North Sea at IJmuiden, constructed between 1865 and 1876 to enable seafaring vessels to reach the port of Amsterdam. This man-made channel terminates at Amsterdam in the closed-off IJ Bay, which in turn connects to the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal.

IJmeer bordering lake in the Netherlands

The IJmeer is a 'bordering lake' (Randmeer) in the Netherlands. It lies between the De Nes polder, Pampushaven, Hollandse Brug and the mouth of the IJ in IJburg, straddling the provinces of North Holland and Flevoland. It is an important habitat for birds such as the tufted duck and scaup. To the north-east is the Markermeer, south-east is the Gooimeer.

Markermeer Lake in the central Netherlands

The Markermeer is a 700 km2 (270 sq mi) lake in the central Netherlands in between North Holland, Flevoland and its larger sibling, the IJsselmeer. A shallow lake at some 3 to 5 m in depth, it is named after the small former island, now peninsula, of Marken that lies within it. The southwest side of the lake that begins where the IJ once emptied into the Zuiderzee is known as the IJmeer.

The IJ is connected to the North Sea to the west and the IJmeer to the east by a set of locks.


Map of 1681 showing on the right the extent of the IJ Bay prior to reclamation. Note the map is oriented so that west is at the top. RHENOLANDIA AMSTELANDIA 1681.jpg
Map of 1681 showing on the right the extent of the IJ Bay prior to reclamation. Note the map is oriented so that west is at the top.

There are several theories about the origins of the IJ. Perhaps it began as a stream, following a breakthrough in the dunes of Castricum. More likely, the IJ is a remnant of a northern arm of the Rhine delta. Finally, the IJ could also come from the lake Almere or Flevo. During the Roman period the IJ connected on one side with lake Flevo and the Vecht (Utrecht) and the other with the North Sea. Connection with the North Sea has subsequently disappeared, while the IJ in the Middle Ages has expanded. This is due to the emergence of the Zuiderzee, itself a bay of the North Sea resulting from a number of storms.

Castricum Municipality in North Holland, Netherlands

Castricum is a municipality and a town in the province of North Holland in the Netherlands.

Almere (lake) lake

Lake Almere was an inland lake in the place of today's IJsselmeer in the center of the Netherlands.

Lake Flevo

Lake Flevo was a lake in what is now the Netherlands, which existed in Roman times and the early Middle Ages. Some geographers believe that this lake was not really a single lake, rather a set of several lakes connected to each other.

At the end of the Middle Ages, the IJ was a long and narrow brackish bay that connected to the Zuiderzee and stretched from Amsterdam in the east to Velsen in the west. At its west end, only the natural dune ridge across the Dutch North Sea coast prevented the IJ, which grew ever larger through the centuries, from directly connecting to the North Sea and so making the North Holland peninsula nearly an island. By the seventeenth century, however, access to the IJ became difficult due to sand bars across its mouth, and ships becoming bigger, and it was nearly impossible for seafaring vessels to reach the city of Amsterdam. At the same time, the bay gnawed away at the surrounding farmlands, almost connecting with the Haarlemmermeer (Lake Haarlem) and seriously threatening the cities of Haarlem and Amsterdam.

Middle Ages Period of European history from the 5th to the 15th century

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

Zuiderzee Former inland sea in the Netherlands, now the IJsselmeer

The Zuiderzee or Zuider Zee was a shallow bay of the North Sea in the northwest of the Netherlands, extending about 100 km inland and at most 50 km wide, with an overall depth of about 4 to 5 metres (13–16 feet) and a coastline of about 300 km. It covered 5,000 km2 (1,900 sq mi). Its name is Dutch for "southern sea", indicating that the name originates in Friesland, to the north of the Zuiderzee. In the 20th century the majority of the Zuiderzee was closed off from the North Sea by the construction of the Afsluitdijk, leaving the mouth of the inlet to become part of the Wadden Sea. The salt water inlet changed into a fresh water lake now called the IJsselmeer after the river that drains into it, and by means of drainage and polders, an area of some 1,500 km2 (580 sq mi) was reclaimed as land. This land eventually became the province of Flevoland, with a population of nearly 400,000 (2011).

Velsen Municipality in North Holland, Netherlands

Velsen is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It is located on both sides of the North Sea Canal.

Plans were put forth to reclaim both the Haarlemmermeer and the IJ and turn them into polders. The Haarlemmermeer was first, falling dry in 1852, and the largest part of the IJ followed suit between 1865 and 1876, with only a small lake remaining at Amsterdam that was closed off from the Zuiderzee by the Oranje locks. At the same time, the North Sea Canal was constructed in the former IJ basin to provide Amsterdam with access to the sea again and revive its ailing port. It cut through the isthmus to connect to the North Sea near the town of Velsen; a new port, IJmuiden ("IJ's mouth") was built at its west end. The east end of the IJ polders near Amsterdam was given over to industry, and a large new seaport area was constructed.

Land reclamation process of creating new land from ocean, riverbeds, or lake

Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, and also known as land fill, is the process of creating new land from oceans, seas, riverbeds or lake beds. The land reclaimed is known as reclamation ground or land fill.

Polder low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments (barriers) known as dikes

A polder is a low-lying tract of land that forms an artificial hydrological entity, enclosed by embankments known as dikes. The three types of polder are:

  1. Land reclaimed from a body of water, such as a lake or the sea bed
  2. Flood plains separated from the sea or river by a dike
  3. Marshes separated from the surrounding water by a dike and subsequently drained; these are also known as koogs, especially in Germany

The port of Amsterdam is a seaport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It is the 4th busiest port in Europe by metric tonnes of cargo. The port is located on the bank of a former bay named the IJ and the North Sea Canal, with which it is connected to the North Sea. The port was first used in the 13th century and was one of the main ports of the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century. Today, the port of Amsterdam is the second largest port in the Netherlands, the largest being the Port of Rotterdam. In 2014, the port of Amsterdam had a cargo throughput of 97.4 million tons, most of which was bulk cargo.

The Buiten-IJ hosted the mixed dinghy sailing events for the 1928 Summer Olympics in neighboring Amsterdam. It also hosted two events for the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp.

Coordinates: 52°22′51″N4°56′38″E / 52.38083°N 4.94389°E / 52.38083; 4.94389

Related Research Articles

Flevoland Province of the Netherlands

Flevoland is the 12th and last province of the Netherlands, established on 1 January 1986, when the southern and eastern Flevopolders were merged into one provincial entity. It is located in the centre of the country, where the former Zuiderzee was. Almost all of the land belonging to Flevoland was reclaimed only in the 1950s and 1960s. The province has about 407,905 inhabitants (2016) and consists of six municipalities. Its capital is Lelystad and most populous city is Almere.

IJsselmeer Lake in the Netherlands

The IJsselmeer, also known as Lake Ijssel in English, is a closed off inland bay in the central Netherlands bordering the provinces of Flevoland, North Holland and Friesland. It covers an area of 1,100 km2 (420 sq mi) with an average depth of 5.5 m (18 ft). The river IJssel flows into the IJsselmeer.

North Holland Province of the Netherlands

North Holland is a province of the Netherlands located in the northwestern part of the country. It is situated on the North Sea, north of South Holland and Utrecht, and west of Friesland and Flevoland. In 2015, it had a population of 2,762,163 and a total area of 2,670 km2 (1,030 sq mi).

IJssel branch of the Rhine

The river IJssel, sometimes called Gelderse IJssel to avoid confusion with the Hollandse IJssel, is the branch of the Rhine in the Dutch provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel. The Romans knew the river as Isala. The IJssel flows from Westervoort, east of the city of Arnhem, until it discharges into the IJsselmeer. The River IJssel is one of the three major distributary branches into which the Rhine divides shortly after crossing the German-Dutch border.

Zuiderzee Works

The Zuiderzee Works is a man-made system of dams and dikes, land reclamation and water drainage work, in total the largest hydraulic engineering project undertaken by the Netherlands during the twentieth century. The project involved the damming of the Zuiderzee, a large, shallow inlet of the North Sea, and the reclamation of land in the newly enclosed water using polders. Its main purposes are to improve flood protection and create additional land for agriculture.

Haarlemmerliede en Spaarnwoude Former municipality in North Holland, Netherlands

Haarlemmerliede en Spaarnwoude[ˌɦaːrlɛmərˈlidə ʔɛn ˌspaːrnˈʋʌudə](listen) is a former municipality in the Netherlands, located in the province of North Holland. It had a population of 5,760 in August 2017. On 1 January 2019, it merged with the municipality of Haarlemmermeer.

<i>Afsluitdijk</i> Dutch levee

The Afsluitdijk is a major dam and causeway in the Netherlands. It was constructed between 1927 and 1932 and runs from Den Oever in North Holland province to the village of Zurich in Friesland province, over a length of 32 kilometres (20 mi) and a width of 90 metres (300 ft), at an initial height of 7.25 metres (23.8 ft) above sea level.

IJmuiden City in Noord-Holland, Netherlands

IJmuiden is a port city in the Dutch province of North Holland and is the main town in the municipality of Velsen. It is located at the mouth of the North Sea Canal to Amsterdam, and lies approximately 17 kilometres (11 mi) north of Haarlem.

Vecht (Utrecht) river in the Netherlands

The Vecht is a Rhine branch in the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is sometimes called Utrechtse Vecht to avoid confusion with its Overijssel counterpart. The area along the river is called the Vechtstreek.

Spaarne river in Haarlem

The Spaarne is a river in North Holland, Netherlands. This partially canalized river connects the Ringvaart to a side branch of the North Sea Canal. It runs through Haarlem, Heemstede, and Spaarndam.

Sailing at the 1928 Summer Olympics

Sailing/Yachting is an Olympic sport starting from the Games of the 1st Olympiad. With the exception of 1904 and the canceled 1916 Summer Olympics, sailing has always been included on the Olympic schedule. The Sailing program of 1928 consisted of a total of three sailing classes. For each class races were scheduled from 2–9 August 1928 on the Buiten Y near Amsterdam and on the Zuiderzee. The sailing was done on the triangular type Olympic courses.

Halfweg Village in North Holland, Netherlands

Halfweg is a town in the Dutch province of North Holland. Previously a part of the municipality of Haarlemmerliede en Spaarnwoude, it is currently a part of the municipality of Haarlemmermeer and lies about 8 km (5.0 mi) east of Haarlem. Its name, which translates as "halfway," comes from its location approximately halfway between Haarlem and Amsterdam.

Kennemerland Park and historical area in North Holland

Kennemerland is a coastal region in the northwestern Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. In includes the sand dunes north of the North Sea Canal, as well as the dunes of Zuid-Kennemerland National Park.

Schellingwoude Neighbourhood of Amsterdam in North Holland, Netherlands

Schellingwoude is a neighbourhood of Amsterdam, Netherlands. A former village located on the northern shore of the IJ, in the province of North Holland, it was a separate municipality between 1817 and 1857, when it was merged with Ransdorp; the latter merged with Amsterdam in 1921. Nowadays it is part of the Amsterdam-Noord borough and the Landelijk Noord district.

Haarlemmertrekvaart Canal of the Northern Netherlands

The Haarlemmertrekvaart [ˌhaːrlɛmərˈtrɛkfaːrt] is a canal between Amsterdam and Haarlem in the province of North Holland, the Netherlands. It was dug in 1631, making it the oldest tow-canal in Holland. Travel on such canals was historically done by barges which were towed by animals on a path along the canal's edge (towpath).

Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta river delta in the Netherlands and Belgium

The Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta or Helinium is a river delta in the Netherlands formed by the confluence of the Rhine, the Meuse and the Scheldt rivers. The result is a multitude of islands, branches and branch names that may at first sight look bewildering, especially as a waterway that appears to be one continuous stream may change names as many as seven times, e.g. Rhine → Bijlands Kanaal → Pannerdens Kanaal → Nederrijn → Lek → Nieuwe Maas → Het Scheur → Nieuwe Waterweg. Since the Rhine contributes most of the water, the shorter term Rhine Delta is commonly used. However, this name is also used for the river delta where the Rhine flows into Lake Constance, so it is clearer to call the larger one Rhine–Meuse delta, or even Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta, as the Scheldt ends in the same delta. By some calculations, the delta covers 25,347 km2 (9,787 sq mi), making it the largest in Europe.

The 12' Dinghy was a sailing event on the Sailing at the 1928 Summer Olympics program in Amsterdam. A combination of Preliminary series and final series were scheduled. 23 sailors from 20 nations competed on twelve 12' Dinghies that were supplied by the Royal Dutch Yachting Union (Koninklijke Verbonden Nederlandsche Watersport Vereenigingen).