Hem was originally an ‘interior polder’, a natural drainage area encircled with a dike to counter incoming floods. It later evolved into a residential area. It never grew into a large settlement, but because of its strategic geographical location on the IJsselmeer it developed a flourishing fishing industry relatively early on. Small as it may be, Hem still boasts city rights. The annual Oldtimer Festival, which usually takes place around Easter, attracts many visitors from the Netherlands and from abroad.