Aleide van Avesnes

Mr Bokel built a dam in the Schie at the Oude Sluis (Old Lock), probably around 1230. From there a ‘settlement’ grew around the Dam on the Schie. Aleide van Avesnes (Aleida) granted Schiedam city rights in 1275. To this day, the monuments and museums of Schiedam tell the story of the city.

Gildehuis (Guildhall)

There is a bell in the Zakkendragershuisje tower, on the Oude Sluis, which was used to alert the porters of an incoming ship. One that was transporting grain, for example. The Gilde bought a house in 1699 for 275 guilders. It had been a distillery and was changed to the Gildehuis (Guildhall). At that time, it was by the Colck van de Sluis, as the Nieuwe Sluis was not built until 1780, when the Oude was closed.

Lady politician

Aleida was one of the few women of her time who was active on the Dutch and European political scene. She was born around 1234 and married to Jan van Avesnes. After her husband passed away she was given some land with the settlement Nuwer Scie. This small settlement near the dam on the Schie originated around 1250.

Huis te Riviere (House by the River)

Around 1260, Lady Aleida van Henegouwen had her castle, Huis te Riviere, built. It was situated on a bend in the river Meuse, which is now Stadserf. The castle was an expression of her great political ambitions. It was the largest castle in Holland and Zeeland after the residence of the counts of Holland (now known as the Binnenhof) in The Hague.

All that remains is the ruin of the brick tower. The castle was destroyed in 1575. In no small part by the locals of Schiedam who feared that the Spaniards would seize it to use as a central point for a siege. There is also a statue of Aleida van Henegouwen here, which was made by Theresia van der Pant.

Rapid economic growth

The small settlement on the Schie experienced rapid economic growth: it was on Holland’s main shipping route. Through the economic growth the villagers became more self-assured. Aleida granted the villagers’ request to organise a weekly market. This led to a second economic pillar.

Around 1275, Aleida awarded the inhabitants of Schiedam municipal self-government. Religion was important for Aleida. She founded the first church in Schiedam (1262) and the hospital. Aleida was a strong woman, who knew how to recognise trends and assess their value. She also knew how to bend them to her advantage.

Source: inter alia Municipal archives Schiedam

Aleide van Avesnes