Marken – with its beautiful wooden houses
Marken is a peninsula in lake Markermeer. It is connected to the mainland through a dike, which has been constructed in 1957.
A little history
Originally Marken belonged to the mainland until a terrible storm in 1164 separated it from the mainland. Marken became an island and could only be reached by boat. During winter time daily life was very hard. When severe frost set in, often the ice was too thick for boats to pass and too thin to walk on the ice. During that period it was impossible to reach the mainland.
How to get to Marken
Nowadays Marken can be reached overland again as the dike reconnected it to the mainland. However, you can also catch a boat from Volendam. The boat ride only takes 30 minutes and is fun to do.
Black houses on piles
When the boat enters the harbour of Marken, you can already see the beautiful black houses. Leaving the boat, you will find restaurants and souvenirshops (don’t forget to visit the worldfamous souvenirshop Sijtje Boes). Have a drink or meal and enjoy the bustle in the harbour. But don’t forget to leave the harbour and take a nice walk through the rest of the village.
You will find some houses built on piles. In the past this used to be necessary, as during high tide the water rushed over the island. Due to the piles, the houses were not damaged or flooded. After the Afsluitdijk was constructed in 1932, floodings were not a risk anymore. Many inhabitants used the space between the piles to create more living area. This explains why some wooden houses have brick walls on the ground floor.
Summer in Marken
During the summer many hollyhocks are blooming in the village. The combination of these flowers and the black houses is fabulous. If you walk around and see some clean laundry hanging outside, you may notice the residents do not use pegs. Instead they twist two ropes in each other and hang their laundry in between.
Wooden shoe factory
In Marken you can find a wooden shoe factory. There is a traditional clog maker, who demonstrates how a log of wood is turned into a wooden shoe. At the factory you can buy your own clogs, as well as other souvenirs. At www.theclogexperience.com you will find more information.
Lighthouse Paard van Marken (Horse of Marken)
The lighthouse of Marken, built in 1839, is probably the most photographed lighthouse of The Netherlands. From a distance it reminds you of a horse, so it’s not difficult to figure out how it got its name. Until today the lighthouse struggles with drifting ice during harsh winters. In 1971 it got so bad the tower got pushed away a few centimeters. The lighthouse has always been inhabited.
Combine a visit with Volendam
It’s very easy to combine a visit to Marken with a visit to Volendam. Depending on which village you visit first, you can catch a boat and buy a return ticket in either Volendam or Marken. It sails throughout the whole year between the two villages. You can find the timetables at www.markenexpress.nl