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Volendam, pearl of the Zuiderzee

Volendam, pearl of the Zuiderzee Rick Hofmijster 11 October 2016 20 October 2016

Yes, Volendam, even though highly touristic, is often referred to as “pearl of the Zuiderzee”. Not far from Amsterdam you find yourself in a traditional Dutch town where costumes, wooden shoes and clichés are evident. It is though telling the story of a small town with a long history.

No matter when you find yourself in Volendam, it’s always busy with tourists from all over the world. Only 20 km away north of Amsterdam, it’s also one of Noord Holland’s most visited attractions. Yes, it’s a good place the get an idea of the past. The small, rather isolated fishermen’s village has a lot of characteristics reminding of it. There are still a quite a few local inhabitants that dress up in traditional costumes. In fact, it’s one of the best known ancient clothing in the Netherlands.

Smell cheese, poffertjes, kibbelingen and other fish. Try out traditional clothing or have a moment to enjoy the sun at one of the many restaurants and bars.
Smell cheese, poffertjes, kibbelingen and other fish. Try out traditional clothing or have a moment to enjoy the sun at one of the many restaurants and bars.

Over 600 years of history

Before 1357, Volendam was actually the harbor of nearby Edam, in which the mouth of the IJ bay was located. The inhabitants of Edam then dug a shorter canal with a separate harbor to access the Zuiderzee and the original harbor was dammed and used for land reclamation. For this reason, the new community of local fisherman and farmers that formed at this new land called it ‘Vollendam’, which would translate to ‘filled dam’.

Nowadays lots of tourists find their way to Volendam to get a glance of the ships, costumes and local shop. Others take the boat to the peninsula of Marken, a really nice trip in good weather.

Smell & taste Volendam

Besides visiting the Cheese Factory for a more traditional Dutch taste, you should definitely try some typical Volendam fisherman bites. Put your teeth in, for example, raw herring accompanied by freshly chopped onions and pickles. Eat it traditional style by taking the fish by the tail and lower it down in the mouth.

Or what about ‘kibbeling’? This Dutch snack consists of battered chunks of diep fried fish, commonly served with a mayonnaise-based garlic or tartar sauce. Originally made of cod, and in the nineteenth century mainly the salted waste of the cod fishery, rising cod prices changed modern kibbeling to be made of other fish, such as pollack, hake, whiting or coal fish.

Last but not least, don’t miss out on some ‘Poffertjes’, mini pancakes server with powdered sugar and a good lump of butter. All of this can be bought at one of the many stands across the promenade.

Discover the traditions & history

Other than smells and tastes, the rich tradition and history assures there is a nice variety of museums, expositions and touristic attractions to visit. Besides taking the boat to Marken, where you will end up in another fisherman’s town, there are many options in Volendam itself.

Experience Volendam

Right in the middle of the harbor of Volendam you can visit ‘experience Volendam‘. A modern attraction to tell the history of the town. Using holographic technology with the Oculus Rift, you get to experience the wild waves of the Zuiderzee in the year 1916. In this 360 degree spectacle for the young and old, you will meet a young fisherman out sailing, surviving the flood and looking for his bride, all in traditional Volendam.

Volendams museum

The Volendams museum opened its doors in 1977 and had a rough start. Almost 40 years later it’s one of the best museums where you can get an idea of the history of Volendam. With a huge collection of art, ancient clothing, jewelry and much, much more, there is enough to see. You won’t find the museum on the promenade though. Trough a few local streets you find the museum on the Zeeweg, as can be found on the map above.

How to get there

Volendam is a small town 20 km north of Amsterdam. The quickest to get there would be by car. And with sufficient and free parking space available, it’s only in high season it might be hard to park. The nearest train station is in Purmerend from where you can take a bus or cab to Volendam. If you’re not up for using Dutch public transport, a bus tour from the center of Amsterdam will bring you directly to and from Volendam.

Where to stay

We have made a selection of 3 properties either in or close to Volendam where you can stay over for the night. Depending on your budget and wishes, you can get an idea of how a basic, proper and luxurious stay could look like in Volendam. Check out our selection on the right (desktop) or below (on mobile devices).

Considering to visit Volendam?

We at Live & Explore love to help you out creating your custom itinerary. Listing to your wishes and demands we will keep our eyes open and compliment your visit with tips, advises and excursions.

Contact us and let us know your wishes, or leave your details and we will get it touch with you to discuss your itinerary.

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Appartement Volendam

This property is a 15-minute walk from the beach. This luxurious apartment in Volendam includes scenic views in the centre of the historic old town. Appartement Volendam has modern facilities including free Wi-Fi, a fully-equipped kitchen and living room with flat-screen cable TV.

Hotel Marinapark Volendam

This property is a 6-minute walk from the beach. This hotel is in Volendam’s marina, on Lake IJssel. Hotel Marinapark Volendam offers free Wi-Fi and an indoor swimming pool. It is just over a quarter mile from the center of Volendam.

Hostel StayOkay Heemskerk

Located in the 13th-century Castle Assumburg, this hostel offers fairy-tale surroundings in beautiful North Holland and a characteristic tower bar. Make use of free parking. Free Wi-Fi is available. Note that this hostel is located in Heemskerk, about 26km away from Volendam. A car is highly recommended!
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My name is Rick Hofmijster. Born in the Netherlands, I have always been fascinated by the beauty our planet has to offer. Combining sports and lifestyle I make my dream come true. Join me on an adventure, explore the regions and experience the stunning beauty of Mother Earth. What are you waiting for?