Kaatje beside the lock in Blokzijl

A young merchant's widow from Amsterdam, Brecht Jansdochter, set up an inn next to the lock in Blokzijl, around 1660. After a few years Brecht married again, this time to a master of a whaling vessel. His name was Joriz Jorisz. When she gave birth to a healthy daughter in 1672 she called her Cato and she soon became known as Kaatje. At that time the father, Joris, went to sea for a year and never returned.. Nevertheless, mother and daughter prospered in their inn. Kaatje learned to cook with the spices and exotic fruits and herbs that the captains of the Dutch East Indies Company brought back for her. After Brecht died Kaatje turned out to be a good businesswoman. She established a larger place where visitors could eat, with an inn and stabling next to the lock. She became an excellent cook and wrote down all her recipes. But then something dreadful occurred; the wealthy inn owner was robbed and thereafter murdered. For by now Kaatje had amassed a large amount of money and possessions and a great number of recipes, too. It has never become clear whether she was murdered for her money and jewellery or perhaps also for her recipes. Those guilty of the deed have never been found but some of the recipes turned up regularly in places around the Zuiderzee and they turned out to be Kaatje's.

Nowadays, Kaatje watches over Blokzijl; there is a bronze statue beside the lock and it is said that if you stroke Kaatje's head it will bring luck. Stroking with your left hand brings luck, with your right hand wealth. You are discouraged from stroking with both hands; the Lady of Blokzijl does not approve and you will be immediately punished.



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