Volendam, the fishing village by the Zuiderzee. Who does not know the village? Every year many tourists visit this village to get acquainted with the reflection of the Old Dutch culture. In my previous blogs I have introduced you to Edam, a city where there is also a lot to experience, and today I introduce Marken. Marken is a picturesque village located on the Markermeer on a peninsula where you can go by bus, by bike, by car but also by boat from Volendam. With the so-called Marken Express you sail from Volendam in less than half an hour to the harbor of Marken. The sight of the harbor with old wooden green houses around it is already worth a trip to Marken. In this blog I will tell you what else there is to experience on Marken.
For me, the dike of Volendam is the place where I take a walk in the evening, where I go out for dinner with family, where I visit the shops, but also where I go out with friends to party. In short, the dike and the surrounding center is the place where it happens, the bustling heart of the village. If you have planned a day in Volendam, this is the place to be. It is nice to take a photo in traditional costume at one of the photo shops or to discover the history of Volendam at experience Volendam. Plan these activities as early as possible so that you still have quite some time left to go to Marken by boat.
Tickets for the boat trip to Marken can be booked online in advance, but you can also buy tickets at the box office in the sailor's house next to the stairs that lead to boat. Throughout the day there are two boats sailing from Volendam to Marken and back again. The departure times from both pick-up points can be found on the flyer that you can take with you at the box office. The host accompanies you and your party to the boat and the captain, and the sailors will scan your ticket on the deck.
With pleasant weather you can sit on top of the deck but in the boat, there is also enough space when the weather is bad or cold. The trip only takes 20 minutes, but if you are thirsty or hungry, there is enough to buy on the boat. Grandma's apple pie with coffee or hot chocolate is waiting for you and there is plenty of choice of different soft drinks and alcoholic drinks. In winter, smoked sausage rolls with sauerkraut are even offered. How do I know all this? I have been a sailor on the Marken Express. The wind in my hair and endless hours on the water that was really a beautiful time. As a result, I also know very well how nice it is to go with this boat.
Organize your time in Marken well because when the last boat has left you can not go back. In winter this is a bit earlier as it gets darker faster. Of course, all these times can be seen on the information flyer or on the website of the Marken Express. Anyway, the sailor has let you off the deck and you are in Marken. The first thing you see is the restaurant taverne De Visscher. From this restaurant or on the terrace you have a view on the Marker lake. This restaurant is decorated from the inside to the interior of a sailor's barge. This of course to complete your total experience of life on and by the sea.
As a child I often visited Marken together with classmates or with my grandmother. The best activity is the clog factory, and an impressive sight is the lighthouse of Marken. Below I will give you more information.
Clogs have been worn in the Netherlands and especially in Marken and Volendam for centuries. Nowadays, clogs are still often worn by employees in fish shops, although of course these are no longer wooden ones.
In the clog factory on Marken you can still really see and experience how clogs are made in a traditional way from a piece of wood. They make the clogs with a steam-powered machine dating from 1913. Did you know that this is the only clog factory in the world that is powered by a steam engine? There is also a museum where you can even visit the old living room of the clog maker. To complete this old Dutch experience, you can also walk around on clogs like a real Marker! You can of course also buy your own copy of clogs here as a souvenir of your visit to Marken and Volendam.
The Horse of Marken is the lighthouse of Marken. From afar, the tower looks like a horse. The lighthouse is located on a small sandy beach on the edge of the Markermeer. From this place you can look endlessly far over the rippling water. On a beautiful summer's day, you can look at the water and reflect on life while your children can run around the beach.
Due to its beautiful surroundings, The Horse of Marken is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the Netherlands. Originally, the lighthouse was intended to guide skippers safely from the Wadden Sea to Amsterdam, but nowadays the tower is inhabited.
Whether you are a history fanatic or not at all, if you visit Marken you should also visit the Markermuseum. Here you get to know the real life on Marken. The museum is a National Monument and consists of six historic houses. In the past, eel was smoked here and that is why the museum also learns a lot about the fishermen's life of Marken. You can also attend an interesting presentation about the traditional costumes of Marken and walk around in a fisherman’s house from the nineteenth century. Here you imagine yourself in a world where sleeping in a bedstead and cooking on an open fire was still quite common. For children it is possible to hold a scavenger hunt through the museum by answering questions. I remember as a child I found this a fun way to discover this museum.
When you walk the streets of Marken you will probably also come across the two war memorials, just like I used to do with mygrandmother. I remember asking her what this monument was built for. I checked this out afterwards. One monument is a memorial that symbolizes the men of Marken who did not return home at the time of the Second World War. The other to commemorate the crew of a British bomber that crashed in the IJsselmeer in 1943. Then there is also the monument in memory of the flood disaster in 1916 to admire. Upon entering the harbor, the monument consisting of people who rich the poor to heaven immediately stands out. A moment for many to reflect because the beautiful Marken is still far below sea level.
It probably starts to get dark when you get back on the boat. Just 20 minutes listening to the sloshing water and you are back in Volendam. Of course, it is also possible to take bicycles with you on the boat and make the way back on the bike or vice versa. For more information about where you can eat when you are back in Volendam in the evening, I refer you to the blog about the ten best restaurants in Volendam.