Like so many Dutch people I know, I had never visited Marken, Volendam or the Zaanse Schans. It’s so funny that most tourists see more of the Netherlands than (many of) the locals themselves. But the last 4 years have changed all that and I think we are starting to become quite familiar with all of Holland’s known attractions.
Marken used to be an island until 1957 when it got connected with the mainland through a dam, so nowadays it’s a peninsula. It’s a former fishing village known for its colorful wooden houses built on stilts (to protect them against flooding). During a storm surge in 1916 the water level was elevated and much of the coast was under water, especially Marken where 16 people died. After this they approved a law to begin building the Afsluitdijk as a protection against floods.
We went very early because I wanted to see the sunrise at “het Paard van Marken” (Horse of Marken), which is the local lighthouse. When you arrive in Marken you have to park your car at the parking lot (no cars allowed unless for locals themselves) and then walk into the city. We didn’t go to the center right away but walked about 15 minutes to the lighthouse. We passed by a cute farm and continued on a narrow path towards the lighthouse. The air was cold and windy and all around us were many flocks of birds flying back and forth.
It was such a gorgeous morning and worth it to brave the cold. (My husband might disagree with me.)
Unfortunately for me the lighthouse was under renovation and that didn’t make for the photo I had in mind but it was still a worthwhile morning. So I still have to go back to take a sunrise photo at ‘het Paard van Marken’.
We walked back to explore the city. Since we were very early nothing was open yet but we did get a good view of everything while there was no one on the streets.
Some things to do when you are here:
1. Visit het Paard van Marken
2. Check out the Wooden Shoe Factory
3. Take a boat trip with Volendam – Marken express
4. Take a walk around the island and find the ice breakers
5. Walk towards the flood memorial in the harbor and have something to eat and drink
We didn’t spend a whole day in Marken but combined it with Monnickendam and Zaanse Schans which are just around a short drive away. I would suggest to combine your putting with one of these or with Volendam. As we visited in winter we didn’t try out the Marken -Volendam Express but I think the kids would love that and we would definitely try that in the Spring or Summer. Okay that’s all for today, let me know if this article was helpful to you and if you have any questions let me know! Until next time!