Volendam – traditionally a fishing village
Volendam used to be an isolated fishing village. Nowadays you can visit this village to learn about their traditions or have yourself photographed in traditional costumes.
Is it the fish they eat in Volendam? Or the wind coming from the Gouwzee? Fact is that a lot of famous Dutch artists were raised in Volendam. The residents of Volendam love a party, which is the reason why it’s always pleasantly crowded on the famous ‘De Dijk’ (The Dike) of Volendam. Here you will find many restaurants and cafés, and chance is big you will find a live band performing somewhere in the evening.
Besides restaurants (pick a fishdish!) and cafés you will find souvenirshops, as well as shops where you can have yourself photographed in traditional Volendam costume, which is really fun to do! You can also find the Cheese Factory on the Dijk. Here they will tell and show you everything on the entire process of turning milk into cheese. After that you can do some tasting of different types of Dutch cheese. Of course it’s possible to buy cheese.
Originally Volendam used to be a fishing village. The population used to live isolated with their own habits, dialect and traditional costumes, and made an income out of the fishing industry. However, as a result of the construction of the Afsluitdijk in 1932, fishing revenues reduced dramatically. Therefore the population started focussing on construction industry, water sports and tourism. There are still traditional wooden fishingboats to be admired in the harbour of Volendam, which is situated at De Dijk.
Blue tiled memorial
On De Dijk you will find a blue tiled memorial. This refers to a tragedy that took place in café de Hemel (The Heaven) on New Years Eve 2001. During that night many young people celebrated the New Year. It was crowded and someone lit some sparklers (a kind of hand-held firework that burns slowly and emits sparks). Some sparks hit the bone-dry Christmas decoration at the ceiling. Within a very short period all the decoration at the ceiling was on fire and fell down on the crowd. Fourteen people did not survive this tragedy. Another 241 persons got injured of which 200 severely. Until today many of them still suffer the consequences of their burns. The blue tiled memorial is placed in front of the former café de Hemel.
A little tired of the hustle and bustle on the Dijk, then walk to Het Doolhof (the Labyrinth). Het Doolhof is an area with authentic houses and narrow streets. The name refers to the fact that the houses were built in a criss-cross manner. It’s great to wander around here and take some pictures. Be aware that there are people living here, so please don’t scream and respect their privacy.
Boat trip to Marken
A visit to Volendam can perfectly be combined with a visit to Marken. You can take the Marken Express at the harbour of Volendam. During the highseason it sails every 30/45 minutes and the boat trip takes 30 minutes. More information on the Marken Express can be found on www.markenexpress.nl.