Tourist’s guide to Volendam and Edam – towns with the spirit of old Holland

Volendam (Holland) is a fishing village near Amsterdam where you can see how Dutch fishermen lived in the 19th century. Volendam is not an open-air museum, its population lives its usual life, providing an opportunity for guests to watch it with the hospitality of hospitable hosts. Without a visit to Volendam and the nearby town of Edam and the village of Marken, acquaintance with Holland would not be complete.

Volendam, Holland

General information

Old map of edam

The history of the village of Volendam (Netherlands) is inextricably linked with the nearby city of Edam. Edam has been known since the middle of the 13th century, in 1357 he was given city status, and by the beginning of the 16th century he became the center of shipbuilding in North Holland. However, after a couple of hundred years, the construction of ships stopped here, and cheese making became dominant in the economy of the city. From the middle of the 16th century and until 1922, official cheese fairs were held here weekly.

Now Eddam is a small town with a population of about 7,000 people, which, like Volendam, is a landmark in Holland and attracts many tourists. The interest of the country’s guests in these places is not only informative, but also gastronomic – many people come to Volendam to taste the freshest Dutch herring, smoked eel and shrimp, and Edam attracts with its famous cheese, bearing the same name as the city.

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Street of Volendam

Initially, Volendam served as the harbor of Edam, but over time, a canal to the Zuidersee Bay was dug, and the former harbor lost its significance for the city. The fishing and farm settlements that appeared here formed the village of Volendam. Now about 22,000 people live in it, which is three times more than in Edam. Getting from Amsterdam to Volendam on your own is not at all difficult.

Attractions and entertainment

Volendam itself is a landmark of the Netherlands monarchy . People come here to feel the spirit of old Holland, to find out how this country lived for many centuries.

Volendam fishing village

Neat village streets with traditional Dutch architecture, windmills, all kinds of fishing boats, directly from which you can buy freshly caught fish – all this will tell about Holland better than any guide. It is enough to see with what love every square decimeter of land is used here to understand how much the inhabitants of Holland value land, because they have to literally conquer it from the sea.

Openness is an important part of the Dutch culture, this tradition has been preserved since ancient times, when the wives of fishermen who went to sea did not close their windows to show their loyalty to their husbands. Openness allows residents of Volendam to live and work calmly under the relentless attention of an endless stream of tourists. Many windows in Volendam are not curtained, like many centuries ago.

A scene from the life of fishermen of the past in a museum
Historical Museum

For visitors to Volendam, there are many attractions here. This is a local historical museum with old household items and scenes from the life of fishermen of the past, workshops for making wooden shoes, and traditional cheese dairies and pastry shops. Attractions also include the church of St. Vincent, built in the middle of the 19th century.

There is also its own picture gallery. For the village of Volendam (Holland), this attraction is of particular importance, because the development of tourism here occurred precisely thanks to the artists.

Portrait of Leendert Spander
Leandert Spander

At the end of the 19th century, the owner of the village hotel, Leendert Spaander, began providing artists with rooms in exchange for their paintings. This attracted many painters to the village, and the local landscapes they painted spread around the world, attracting new travelers to these lands.

Every year the fame of this Dutch village grew, and with it the influx of tourists. Among the admirers of Volendam, there are such famous personalities as Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Walt Disney, Elizabeth Taylor, etc.

Volendam Embankment (Marina Volendam)

Judging by the number of tourists, the main attraction of Volendam is its promenade. Most of the tourist flows are concentrated on Marina Volendam, it is always crowded and noisy. A characteristic component of the landscape – numerous yachts, boats, fishing boats moored on the shore.

View of the promenade of Volendam

Typical buildings of Volendam are one-story houses with an attic and a gable roof. The exception is the promenade, where you can see two-story and three-story houses in the style of traditional Dutch architecture. The first floors in all buildings of the embankment are occupied by numerous shops, cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops.

Numerous shops on the waterfront

An interesting feature of the Volendam embankment is that it rises above the village. If you take a photo from the sea, Valendam will be completely hidden by a number of coastal houses. The fact is that the embankment is located on a dam and is located slightly above sea level, while the rest of the village is located significantly below sea level. If not for the efforts of its inhabitants, the territory of Volendam would have been the seabed.

You can feed the ducks

Traditional entertainments on the embankment are feeding ducks and cormorants, fish for which you can buy here, tasting local fish specialties, photographing in Dutch national costumes, boat trips on boats. There are also sights here – bronze figures of people from the past, hurrying about their business, or sitting down to rest on benches.

Marken village and Volendam-Marken Express ferry ride

From the promenade of Volendam 8 months a year (from mid-March to mid-November) the ferry goes to the small village of Marken, located on the island of the same name. A ferry to Marken runs every 30-40 minutes, the first departure at 9.45, the last flight from Marken to Volendam at 18.00. You can get here in half an hour. The price of a ticket is € 8 one way, or € 11.50 – round trip.

Volendam-Marken Express Ferry

The village of Marken is small, its population is about 1800 people. Since the 13th century, after the flood, its territory was isolated from the mainland, which led to the emergence of special customs, dialect, costume. In the middle of the 20th century, a dam and a road were built to the island, on which you can get to it by regular bus services. The main industry of the inhabitants used to be fishing, now the main source of income is tourism.

Village Marken

Marken is interesting for the peculiar architecture of stilt houses, the cleanliness, comfort and well-groomed courtyards. At the service of tourists are many cafes and restaurants serving local cuisine, souvenir shops.

See also: What to try in the Netherlands – dishes of national cuisine .


Although Edam has only 7,000 inhabitants, it is a real city. Its architecture is dominated by two and three-story brick houses, there are many interesting sights. Being in these parts, do not forget to visit Edam, Volendam is only ten minutes away.

Town Edam

The main attraction of Edam is his famous Edam cheese, which made this city famous throughout the world. Cheese lovers can come here all year round, but a special holiday awaits them if you get here in July and August. At this time, on Wednesdays, theatrical cheese fairs are held in Edam, recreating the atmosphere of a medieval market.

Edam cheese

In Edam, there are 176 national monuments, among which attractions such as:

  • one of the largest in the Netherlands Church of St. Nicholas of the 17th century with ancient stained-glass windows, whose area is 550 sq.
  • Edam Historical Museum with a floating basement, located in a merchant house of the 16th century .;
  • Town Hall in Edam
    Town Hall
  • attracting its beauty the old Town Hall of the 18th century;
  • The weight chamber, built in the 18th century. for weighing cheeses;
  • Ancient houses, canals with drawbridges, etc.

Having decided to get to Edam, it is worthwhile to devote more time to sightseeing his sights and more space in his luggage for his wonderful cheeses. To get to Edam and Volendam, it is not necessary to book excursions, this can easily be done independently.

Another city famous for its whole cheese is Gouda. Find out what it is and whether to visit it on this page .

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How to get to Volendam from Amsterdam?

If you do not know how to get to Volendam from Amsterdam, we will tell you. Buses 316, 312, 110, 118 follow from Amsterdam daily to Volendam. They depart from the bus station, which is located on the back of Amsterdam Central Station. A bus leaves each route approximately once per hour. Travel time is 30-40 minutes, ticket price is about € 5.

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Video: A short walk through the city of Volendam in Holland.

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