Come rain or shine, tourists flock the well known small fishing village of Volendam continuously throughout the day.
Volendam lies 30 minutes away, some 20 kilometers north of Amsterdam in North Holland province. In 1357, Volendam was the harbor for the nearby town of Edam (just like the cheese!) till they dug a canal to Zuiderzee – a shallow bay of the North Sea for their new harbor. A new community of farmers and fishermen decided to settle down in this meaningless ‘Filled Dam’ village.
Should you visit? Yes.
It is a town brimming with all Dutch cliché past and present. You can experience all within half a day. Besides, it is a great change from the usual Amsterdam crowd.
Here are THINGS YOU CAN DO in VOLENDAM:
1. Start off by walking along the waterfront harbor HAVEN Road for the view and the following (below).
2. Have your picture taken wearing traditional Dutch costume in one of the many photo studios. FYI, it costs €15 per person for 1 photo but €28,50 when there are 4 people in 1 photo. No charge for kids but conditions apply according to individual stores.
3. Depending on weather, try the delicious Dutch ‘softijs’ at the ice-cream vendor right before ZEESTRAAT Road.
4. Visit Woltje’s Backerij (HAVEN 98) for Dutch stroopwafels and speculaas cookies. You should buy warm freshly made stroopwafel at the counter and witness the making process in person.
5. Eat Dutch mini pancakes called ‘poffertjes’ at Haak – a street vendor across from Woltje’s Backerij. Incidentally, this vendor is the winner of the Tastiest Waffles 2016 by Horecava (food & service industry award). You can’t miss the stall with a wide spread of waffles & toppings showcase and their proud trophy displaying on the counter. It was indeed ‘lekker’. (Lekker is Dutch word for tasty or yummy). But is it the tastiest?
6. Snack on fish dish at any of the fish vendors – eel, herring or kibbling (fried fish).
7. Have lunch or drinks at one of the many café/restaurant along HAVEN Road and watch the tourists go by.
8. Shop for souvenirs such as wooden clogs, wooden tulips, postcards, Volendam T-shirts, etc.
9. Selfies with bronze statues along the way.
10. Boat trip to Marken. A 30-min ferry service to the nearby village with optional extras on board such as brunch, high-tea, coffee & pie, etc. Located at HAVEN 39. http://en.markenexpress.nl Check website for prices. Basic tickets for return are €9.95 for adults and €6.95 for kids age 4-11 years old.
11. Walk along the dike (HAVENDIJKJE) and enjoy the view of Lake Markermeer. There is a tiny beach at the end with a great view of the shoreline.
12. Visit Wooden Shoes Factory (HAVEN 42) for clog making demonstration.
13. Visit Cheese Factory (HAVEN 25) for cheese making demonstration and tasting session. http://www.cheesefactoryvolendam.com
14. Have a peek inside traditional Dutch candy store Snoep Haafen van Dijk (HAVEN 15-17). Heard about the Dutch drops (liquorice)? Available in all shapes and sizes, sweet to salty and hard or soft. Try it!
15. Turn left at the end of HAVEN Road into KERKEPAD and stroll aimlessly admiring a labyrinth (DOOLHOF) of small houses, centuries old Vincentius Church, picturesque canals and charming drawbridges.
Walk along ZEESTRAAT for the following:
16. Visit the VVV Volendam – Tourist Information Centre for brochures, maps or advice on neighboring villages. Closed on Sundays.
17. Pop by right next door to the Volendam Museum which opens daily till 6 November 2016. It is the museum all about Volendam of course. Entrance fees at €3.00 for adults and €1.75 for kids under 14 years of age. http://www.volendamsmuseum.nl/home-en
18. Check out the local market happening every Saturdays near ZEESTRAAT roundabout from 0930hrs – 1630hrs.
19. Visit the Palingsound Museum (SLOBBELAND 19) located in the attic of Smit-Bokkum Restaurant & Smokehouse. Palingsound or eel sound in English, is the distinctive Dutch pop music written and sung by some of the most famous Dutch singers and musicians born and bred in this small fishing village. You gotta hear it to believe it! Entrance fees at €1.75 per person. Only great for the curious music fanatics.
Volendam has always been a famous little town. It was a popular retreat back in the days among artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso and Renoir.
With its 22,000 inhabitants, Volendam retains its charisma all these years. Little has changed since my last visit about a decade ago.
– Car parking is absolutely FREE near the harbor. I recommend these 2 places: Roompot Marina Park (holiday homes) and at an industrial area called SLOBBELAND. You can’t miss them on the map.
– Ride the public bus number 316 direction Edam-Volendam run by bus company EBS. Bus platform is located at the back of the Amsterdam Central Station overlooking the water. Please exit the building and proceed one level up. Bus 316 departs every 15 minutes. It is a half hour ride to Volendam. Alight at JULIANAWEG/CENTRUM followed by 5 minutes walk to destination.
I recommend Volendam to everyone!