Bought land near Berkelse Meer

November 15, 1677

Leeuwenhoek purchased about 4.5 acres (13 hond) of land near Berkelse Meer, where he had sampled some pond water in the summer of 1674. In that water, he first saw microbes.

Berkelse Meer refers to two lakes, the West Meer and the larger and deeper Oost Meer (east lake). It was drained in the 1770's. In this detail from the 1712 map by Cruquius, the Zyp is the little neck of water through which the south-lying polders drained into the Oost Meer.

Leeuwenhoek and Johannes Blaeucamer purchased the land for 430 guilders from Neeltge Jansdochter, the widow of Adriaen Coornwinder. Weijntge Davits Coornwinder, aged daughter (bejaarde dochter), is named as the plaintiff (impetranten).

The document notes that Blaeucamer was a deurwaarder, though it doesn't say for what institution. The 1679 document appointing Leeuwenhoek as curator calls Blaucamer a court messenger (gerechtsbode). He was actually the kamerbewaarder. [source?]

The 4.5 acres stretched from Alewijn Abrahams van Dijck's property to the Zijp. To the south lay the 3.4 acres (10 hond) bought the same day from the same person by Dirck Uijtterwaert, who was the sherrif (schout) of Berkel (decreet 3428/1677/086). To the north, the land was owned by Arij Leenderts Bleijswijck.

What is a zijp? According to the Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal, a zijp is a low area between two pieces of ground that slope towards each other or a part of a field that sometimes comes under water or is low-lying in general.

The only reference I could find to de Zyp in Berkel is this note about the residents' (inwoners) fishing (visschen) from 1591: alle inwoners van Berkel in de Zijp en de Neul [Heul] mochten visschen. On the map, the Heul is the neck of water in the top left. The document says that the residents along these two necks extending from the lake have the same fishing rights as those living along the lake itself.

As seen on the right sidebar, a hond is an obsolete Dutch term referring to a unit of area measuring 100 roeden, approximately 0.14 hectares or 0.34 acres. Thus, 13 honden of land would be about 1.8 hectares or 4.5 acres.

Blaukamer and Leeuwenhoek participated together in another real estate transaction almost two decades later. Between those two transactions, Blaucamer acted a guarantor by posting the security (borg) when Leeuwenhoek was appointed curator.


Hof van Holland: Decreten
Verwijzing akte 3428/1677/087
Datum decreet 1677/11/15
Decreet Onwillig

Bronverwijzing Nummer toegang:, inventarisnummer: 3428

from Neeltge Jansdochter, weduwe van Adriaan Coornwinder


Hendrick Pandlaer, clerk ter griffier van de Hof van Holland verwerft een stuk weiland, groot 4 morgen, in Berkel en Rodenrijs

Hendrick Pandlaer, clerk for the court of the Hof van Holland, acquires a piece of pasture, 4 morgen large, in Berkel en Rodenrijs


Dirck Uijtterwaert, schout te Berkel, verwerft onder Berkel 10 hond land, gelegen tussen Dirck Uijtterwaert tot de kooi van de kinderen van Leendertt Michielsz van der Meijden, ten zuiden Evert van Elsenhoff, ten noorden nog 13 hond land van geexecuteerde.

Dirck Uijtterwaert, sheriff of Berkel, obtains in Berkel 10 hond of land, lying between Dirck Uijtterwaert to the enclosure* of the children of Leendertt Michielsz van der Meijden, to the south Evert van Elsenhoff, to the north another 13 hond of the land of Neeltge Jansdochter (the geexecuteerde).

* The Dutch says kooi, meaning cage or berth, without specifying the kind of animal. It could have been a sheepfold, but it is more likely that it was an eendenkooi, for ducks.


Johanes Blaeucamer, deurwaarder en Anthonij Leeuwenhoeck verwerven 13 hond land, strekkend van Alewijn Abrahams van Dijck tot de Zijp, ten zuiden van de 10 hond land hierboven genoemd, ten noorden Arij Leenderts Bleijswijck

Johanes Blaeucamer, bailiff and Anthonij Leeuwenhoeck acquire 13 hond of land, stretching from Alewijn Abrahams van Dijck to the Zijp, to the south the 10 hond of land named above, to the north Arij Leenderts Bleijswijck.