Papendrecht is a typical dike town. The early inhabitants settled mainly along the river, this location was very suitable for trade and work, such as shipyards, cane cultivation and fishing for food and trade. The town expanded inland at the end of the nineteen fifties when it evolved into its present form. Because of this development Papendrecht hasn’t got a historical centre. Nevertheless you can make a nice tour along the dike and river Merwede, with a beautiful view over Dordrecht, the oldest town in Holland. Early inhabitants A roman coin was found in 1967, dating from the second century. The area was mostly a uninhabitable swamp until the fourth century when small groups of people populated the dry parts of the region. Permanent inhabitants came around the year 1000. The name Papendrecht appears in writings from 1105 for the first time. A town was established in 1277, when the first dikes and windmills to control the water were built. The first major and council date from 1816, until that time Papendrecht was owned by noble families. Early inhabitants lived mainly from fishery, agriculture, dike works and the cultivation of reed. All through history Papendrecht functioned as the link between the important city of Dordrecht and its surroundings. Papendrecht provided for the ferry to Dordrecht, the name Papendrecht refers to that function. In the old days monks (papen) rowed passengers across the river the Merwede, Drecht is a place where the river can be crossed. The little statue of Aaichie symbolises the history of Papendrecht, Aaichie is peeling peas, an activity of the poor peasants in the past. Peeling peas made them a little extra money. It gave the Papendrecht people their nickname: pea-peeler. Living and recreation With the industrial development the number of inhabitants increased, from approximately 1,000 in 1618, up to 2,400 in 1875 and 5,600 after WWII. New quarters were built in the sixties, seventies and eighties. Papendrecht counted 30,000 inhabitants in 2000. The newest quarter (Oostpolder) will be finished in 2010. At the moment houses are being built along the river Merwede with a view over the river and in the vicinity of the new public transport; the Waterbus. There is a historical museum in Papendrecht, run by a private foundation. They also take care of the historical bandstand, where summer evening concerts take place. The theatre offers musical entertainment, dance, drama and most of all cabaret. In public areas a lot of art is to be found both abstract and figurative. Diversion can also be found in one of the bars. You can visit the bistro in the hotel (the only 4 star hotel in the region) or one of the other restaurants for lunch or dinner.