The municipality of Beemster consists of the following cities, towns, villages and/or districts: Middenbeemster, Noordbeemster, Westbeemster, Zuidoostbeemster. Around 800 AD the area of the modern municipality of Beemster was covered in peat. The name "Beemster" has been derived from "Bamestra" (see Groenedijk, 2000), the name of a small river in the area. In the period 1150-1250 peat-digging by people, and storm floods, enlarged that small river into an inland sea, a lake in open connection with the Zuiderzee. Around 1605 private investors started to drain the Beemster lake.
In 1610, this was almost complete, but the lake re-filled because of a break in the Zuiderzee dikes. It was decided to make the ring-dike a meter high above the surrounding country. In 1612 the polder was dry and the country was divided among the investors. In the earlier days of the polder, farmers occupied its lands for growing the crops necessary for long sea journeys by the VOC to the East Indies. It turned out that the farmland was so good that the project was considered then to be an economic success, in contrast to e.g. the Heerhugowaard. Since 1999 the entire Beemster polder has been on the UNESCO world heritage list. The Beemster polder is home to CONO Kaasmakers, maker of the Beemster brand of cheeses. This co-op was formed in 1901 to create cheese made from milk that comes from the Beemster polder. Today Beemster cheese is sold in Europe, as well as USA, Canada, Japan and China.