Volendam is one of the top tourist destinations in Holland. Every year this old fishing village is visited by two million visitors. The main attraction of Volendam is the old sea dike, a long stretch of colorfully painted houses with eateries, cafes and restaurants. In summertime this street is packed with holidaymakers enjoying the waterside.
Dutch seafood in Volendam
Volendam is our usual stop for lunch because it’s the best place to sample Dutch seafood. Such as ‘haring met uitjes en zuur’ (herring with onions and pickles) or ‘kibbeling’ (pieces of fried cod). If fish is not your thing, you might want to try ‘poffertjes’ (little fluffy pancakes). We love to show you the traditional stands where they sell dishes at a good price.
View over IJsselmeer
The view from the high levee over the IJsselmeer -the biggest freshwater lake in Europe- is breathtaking. Behind the levee lies Het Doolhof, literally The Labyrinth. This is the old part of town, where the fishermen used to live in a maze of winding alleyways and minuscule houses. Modern tiny houses are huge compared to these: a family of fifteen would live on 30 square meters! No wonder the inhabitants mostly lived outdoors. Another peculiar feature of Volendam is ‘Het Praathuis’, the talking house on the dike exclusively reserved for local men, no women allowed. Volendam women say they even don’t want to come there, because the men don’t have anything sensible to say…
The name Volendam roughly translates as ‘full dam’. It was build on the site of a dam in a filled up river. It used to be an isolated village. Surrounded by protestant farming communities, this catholic fishing village kept to itself and looked towards the sea. Volendam sided with the catholic Spanish during our Eighty Years war of independence in the 16th century. The people developed their own customs, traditions and dialect and they still embrace these.
This isolation came to an end when, in the 19th century, the village was discovered by artists. They loved the brightly painted houses and the traditional costumes. Their pictures made the fishing village famous throughout the world and Volendam quickly became a tourist destination. It soon became a tradition for visitors to dress up in local costume for a picture. Even now, more than a hundred years later, this is still one of the most fun things to do in Volendam.
|Country name||The Netherlands|