Willem Jan van Dedem

Willem Jan, Baron van Dedem tot de Rollecate (18 March 1776 – 21 November 1851) was a Dutch lawyer, landowner and taxation officer who was responsible for the peat excavation in south-east Drenthe and north-east Overijssel. The canal [nl] and town of Dedemsvaart are named after van Dedem.

Willem Jan van Dedem
WJ baron van Dedem.jpg
Willem Jan van Dedem tot den Bergh[1]

(1776-03-18)18 March 1776
Died21 November 1851(1851-11-21) (aged 75)
Nieuwleusen, Netherlands
Occupation(s)lawyer, landowner, taxation officer
Known forDedemsvaart (town) and Dedemsvaart [nl] (canal)


Van Dedem was born on 18 March 1776 in Zwolle as a member of the van Dedem [nl] family.[1] He studied law, and began his career as a lawyer in Zwolle.[2]

Gerrit Willem van Marle, his father-in-law, had developed a plan in 1791 to excavate the peat in south-east Drenthe and north-east Overijssel by digging a canal from Hasselt to Gramsbergen.[3][4] In 1809, van Dedem received permission from King Louis Bonaparte to dig the canal which became known as Dedemsvaart [nl] (Dedem's canal).[2] The construction of the canal started in July 1809, and by 1811, it had reached Balkbrug where the raised bog was located.[4] The same year, the town of Dedemsvaart was established.[5]

In 1813, van Dedem was appointed Director Direct Taxation of Overijssel.[2] On 28 Augustus 1814, he was elevated to Baron van Dedem tot de Rollecate.[1] In 1821, he moved his manor Rollecate in Vollenhove brick by brick to Den Hulst, Nieuwleusen in order to see his canal and land from his house.[6] He ran into financial difficulties, and in 1825 sold large parts of land to the Dutch government.[7] In 1845, the canal, bridges and sluices were sold to the province of Overijssel.[2]

On 21 November 1851, van Dedem died in Rollecate, Nieuwleusen, at the age of 75.[2][8]

On 21 July 1859, a monument was revealed in his honour in Dedemsvaart.[2] The manor Rollecate was demolished in 1930 to built a main road (nowadays known as N377).[6]



  1. ^ a b c "Mr. W.J. van Dedem tot de Rollecate". Dutch Parliament (in Dutch). Retrieved 14 March 2022. Van Dedem did not die in Dedemsvaart, but in Nieuwleusen (see other links). He was buried in Dedemsvaart
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Willem Jan baron van Dedem (1776–1851)". Wie is wie in Overijssel (in Dutch). Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  3. ^ P.J. Blok and P.C. Molhuysen (1911). Nieuw Nederlandsch biografisch woordenboek. Part 1 (in Dutch). Leiden: A.W. Sijthoff. p. 694. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  4. ^ a b "De Dedemsvaart". Canon van Nederland (in Dutch). Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  5. ^ Ronald Stenvert & Jan ten Hove (1998). Dedemsvaart (in Dutch). Zwolle: Waanders. p. 82. ISBN 90-400-9200-1. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  6. ^ a b "Rollecate". Kastelen in Overijssel (in Dutch). Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  7. ^ J. de Wit. "De Dedemsvaart". Historical Society Avereest (in Dutch). Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  8. ^ "Verkorte berichten". Provinciale Drentsche en Asser courant (in Dutch). 28 November 1851. Retrieved 14 March 2022.