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Visit the hidden gems of Noord Holland: Enkhuizen, beautiful historic town

Posted on Sep 1, 2021 by

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Cosy cobbled streets with flowerpots on the sidewalks, where cats roam with no worries, old houses telling the story of an important past, sinuous canals, a historical train and a ferry, an open-air museum and a beautiful marina: Enkhuizen is a town that will charm you for sure!

I first discovered Enkhuizen a few years ago and since then I’ve been visiting a couple of times. Enkhuizen is situated in the North Holland province, on the shores of both Ijsselmeer and Markermeer lakes. I love the chill vibes of the place, the historical look and feel (there are 366 monuments around the city), the fact that is not overcrowded and you can get a taste of the local life. Also, I love the Zuiderzee Museum, where I can see how people of this area lived in the past, how their houses looked like on the outside and inside and pretend I traveled back in time while watching the fishers waving their nets.

Enkhuizen streets

Enkhuizen was an important port in the 17th century, one of the places used by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and West India Company for their travels and trade, before Amsterdam took over as a trade hub. At that time, Enkhuizen had a connection to the North Sea; it was before the Dutch built the Afsluitduijk, the dike that closed the connection to the sea for this part of the country. Even if big ships are not mooring in the harbour anymore, carrying spices and other goods, the love for the sea life can still be felt all around. From the house gables featuring mermaids and ships, to the beautiful marina packed with boats, the connection of the city with the sea is visible everywhere. People are still going out on the lakes and practice water sports and fishing, and there are boat races events throughout the year. There are shops in the town where you can have the freshest fish sandwich, and you can spend hours watching the boats (if you’re so passionate about it). There is even a Ship-in-a-bottle museum (Flessenscheepjes Museum) — which I find adorable.

The best way to visit Enkhuzen is on foot, exploring the streets and taking the time to spot the monuments, maybe even doing a bit of shopping in the local boutiques. If you walk to the edge of the city centre, you can see the former city walls and the gates, like the Koepoort (the Cow Gate), and, beyond them, a countryside landscape.

If you are someone looking for ideas for your staycation or weekend away in the Netherlands or you are a tourist searching for the best day-trips from Amsterdam, I hope this article will give you a few new ideas about how you can spend your time.

What to see in Enkhuizen

You wouldn’t expect it from such a small town, but there are many interesting things to see and do in Enkhuizen. Although, not all of them might be accessible to the non-Dutch speakers, like the Sow to Grow plant science museum. You can easily spend a few full days here!

  • The Drommedaris: the southern gateway of the city, part of the city walls, which is used as a cultural centre nowadays.
  • The emblematic buildings like the Stadhuis (the town hall) and De Waag.
  • The two churches — Westerkerk and Zuiderkerk.
  • The Spuihuisje: former lock keeper’s house which was built above the passage to the Zuiderhaven. It contains the lifting mechanism of the lock gate that was to prevent the water level in the city canals from becoming too high. Currently the location of the Ship in a bottle museum.
  • De Librije – the only seventeenth-century city library that has been preserved at its original location. Located in the Westerkerk.

Enkhuizen marina

What to do in Enkhuizen

  • Visit the Zuiderzee Museum – an open-air museum dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of the Zuiderzee region.Walk around the streets that transport you to the Netherlands of the past, visit ships, watch artisans crafting objects. This can be a full day visit, but if you don’t have that much time, take at least a few hours for it.
  • Take the ferry to Stavoren, Urk and Medemblik. Medemblik is the closest to Enkhuizen, a beautiful village where you can visit a castle.

  • Rent a boat and see Enkhuizen from the water.

Parks in Enkhuizen

If you feel the need to see some green areas in between your visit to the historical monuments, there are a few places that you can go to: Snouck van Loosenpark (a cute park close to the train station) and Wilheminaplantsoen (a park with a petting zoo and a tea garden).

What to see around Enkhuizen

If you spend more than one day in Enkhuizen, you can have a day trip to Hoorn, or to Medemblik to see the Radboud castle. Another great idea is to visit the countryside area by bike and enjoy the nature and the nice villages around the city.

How to get to Enkhuizen: you can get there by regular train (from Amsterdam or other station in the Netherlands), or by historical steam train taken from Hoorn, or by ferry from Stavoren.

Until then, enjoy the photo gallery!

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