Amsterdam will always be a lovely city but have you ever been to the Dutch countryside? Here’s a chance to visit the small Dutch town of Volendam. A trip to Volendam is one you’d certainly never forget.
Volendam is a town in North Holland, 20 kilometers north of Amsterdam. Sometimes known as “the pearl of the south sea”, this place is a highly popular tourist destination. This is where a lot of Dutch clichés can be found, including the traditional costumes and popular Dutch wooden shoes. Most of these clichés, however, have a lot of history to them.
Volendam is a Dutch town known for its colourful wooden houses and the old fishing boats in its harbor, which is lined with seafood vendors. The local Volendam Museum houses paintings, sculptures and pottery from 1800 to the present, a gallery containing traditional costumes and mosaics made from cigar bands. Volendam has always been a fishermen’s village, and even after the closing of the “Zuiderzee”, and the fishing industry not being what it used to be, the harbor with its many boats is still a major attraction amongst tourists. This is where most of the iconic windmills and idyllic scenery in the country can be found.
Volendam’s traditional costume is one of the most popular examples of ancient Dutch clothing (klederdracht). Some of the locals still wear them and ever since they realized how much of a tourists attraction it is, many more of them try to wear them more often. In the Netherlands, Volendam is famous for its singers and musicians. There is a vibrant Dutch music scene based in Volendam, producing a style of music that is colloquially known as palingsound, and some of the most popular Dutch singers hail from this town.
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What to see in Volendam?
Volendam is one city that is both ancient and modern. There are relics of the past and there are of course architectural giant strides that will make you admire the general layout of the city. Luckily, it is a city that is generally accessible by bicycle so we’d recommend renting a bicycle and discovering the countryside.
Built in 1860, and dedicated to Saint Vincent, the Saint Vincent Church had to be constructed after protests from Roman Catholics who had been forced to walk all the way to Edam to attend mass for centuries. A holy Mass was commissioned on 26 September 2010 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Church. Every year the Volendam Opera Choir organizes a concert in the Sint-Vincentius Church. Organ concerts are also regularly given.
The Stolphoevekerkje, also called Stolpkerk or Hervormde Kerk, is a Reformed church in the centre of the Dutch town of Volendam. The church was built in 1658 in the form of a farmhouse. On 15 November 1976, the church became a national monument. Although no longer open to visitors, the Stolhpoevekerk remains the oldest Protestant church in Volendam and is sometimes open for Sunday service.
Historical museum, focusing on the period 1850 -1950, showing traditional costumes and interiors, as well as paintings and other works of art made by artists who visited Volendam. The cigar band house is a separate room in the museum. This space is fully covered with cigar bands. This cigar bands collection of colourful mosaics was created between 1947 and 1996 by placing more than 11 million cigar bands in mosaics to form a map depicting the provinces of the Netherlands.
The Palingsoundmuseum in Volendam sheds more light on 100 years of music in Volendam. It focuses on the development of music in Volendam since 1905, including the palinsound (or eelsound) from the sixties. The museum showcases photographs and explanatory stories give a historical overview. Photos from early musicians are on display. In addition, it shows all sorts of memorabilia, such as musical instruments, record covers, platinum and gold records, other music prizes, figurines, photographs and video recordings. The collection was created with the help of donations from local artists.
Note: Palingsound is a Dutch music genre with its own characteristic sound, recognized because of its typical harmony vocals and easy listening tunes, wrapped up in a mix of Country music and Southern European Folk Music.
This is a virtual reality experience of Volendam, explaining the history of the city, and the life of its inhabitants. You can also take a picture in traditional Volendam clothes. A new, great attraction where you can experience the glorious history of Volendam in the most modern way. Experience Volendam uses the Oculus to let visitors experience the Volendam of 1916 in a truly unique way. The unforgettable and exciting virtual journey of Experience Volendam is open to young and old. Even people in wheelchairs are welcome to experience it.
Doolhof and Oude Kom
One of the best ways to truly discover Volendam is to wander through its ancient streets of Doolhof and Oude Kom. Discover the old neighbourhoods, beautiful streets and exquisitely classic houses that characterise the fishing villages around the Ijsselmeer lake. This is the oldest part of Volendam city centre. Doolhof and Oude Kom owes its name to the fact that the buildings were not created according to a clearly defined street pattern. It is precisely these narrow streets and authentic houses that exerted such a strong influence on the imagination of painters and artists who visited Volendam from 1880 onwards. It seemed to them that time did not seem to get a hold on this fishing village. A feeling that can still be experienced today, walking through Het Doolhof and De Oude Kom.
What to do in Volendam?
There is definitely a lot to do in Volendam. Take a stroll down the bustling old harbour full of old Dutch ships. Or you can have your photo taken while wearing traditional Volendam clothes and learn more about the town in one of its museums. There really is so much to do in Volendam that one day might not enough.
1. Take the express Boat
- Hop on a boat to visit the nearby village of Marken. The ferry leaves every 30 to 45 minutes from the harbour.
2. Take a photo with the traditional gear
Have your picture taken, dressed in an original Volendam costume. It’s a popular thing to do and, although not very authentic, it does provide a fun souvenir. There are a few places that offer this service, all in the harbour. Because of the fierce competition, prices are the same everywhere, starting from €15 for one person.
3. Enjoy some traditional Volendam cuisine
Being a fishermen’s town, Volendam is well known for its Dutch seafood specialities. Like most towns around the IJsselmeer, it is especially known for its smoked eel, and many fishmongers from Volendam run fish stores and fish stalls in Amsterdam and other cities. Cooked fish is sometimes served with a typical sauce of butter en eek (butter and vinegar). Don’t forget to try the herring.
4. Go get a drink
In the evenings, the lively dyke and waterfront area is the place to be. In summer, the bars and restaurants there all have outdoor terraces and make a great place to have a beer.
Every first weekend of September, Volendam celebrates its famous Kermis (fair), which lasts for four full days (Friday – Monday). For most villagers, this is the best occasion to go out on the street to eat, drink, play games and enjoy the scenery.
There is also a microbrewery that can be visited:
Bierbrouwerij ‘t Vølen: Opens daily from 10am-10pm. (Only on appointments).
How to get to there
Volendam is a Dutch town on the Markermeer Lake, northeast of Amsterdam. There are lots of ways to go there from Amsterdam Central Station. The only thing is, there are no trains from Amsterdam central station so tourists have to take a bus.
Buses to Volendam
There is a regular bus connection to Volendam from Amsterdam Central Station. The buses depart every 15 minutes and it takes approximately 20 minutes to get to Volendam from Amsterdam. The bus 316 leaves regularly from Amsterdam Central station to Volendam and sometimes, via Edam. In 45 minutes the bus will take you directly to Volendam. If you travel with OV-chipcard, a single one-way trip will cost you €4,39.
Alternatively, you can also buy Waterlands Day Ticket for unlimited bus trips between Amsterdam, Edam, Volendam, Marken, Monnickendam, Purmerend and Broek in Waterland during the day. The ticket costs €10,-
From Amsterdam to Volendam by Car
If you’re coming from Amsterdam, take the A10 ring road and then follow the N247 to Volendam. To get to the centre of Volendam, take the N517 which will lead you into town.
Getting To Marken Island From Volendam
The best way to go from Volendam to Marken is by ferry boat. The Volendam-Marken Express operates a ferry service between Volendam and Marken all year round, except when the lake is frozen. Departure times and intervals vary depending on the time of the year.
For real-time travel information from wherever you are to Volendam, please check out this link;
Parking in Volendam
There are areas in Volendam where free parking is available. These parking spaces are open to cars and coaches.
Some of them are;
Immediately upon arriving at Volendam and adjacent to the new ‘Marina Park’, you will find your parking area with the same name; MARINA PARK. This area provides parking space for both coaches and private cars.
Art Historical Center:
Further into the village and directly adjacent to the IJsselmeer and the world famous dyke, you will find the ART HISTORICAL CENTER / HAVEN parking area, available for both coaches and cars.
For cars only, you will find this parking area adjacent to the ‘Slobbeland’ recreation area. From here, less than a five-minute walk will bring you to the old harbour.
For coaches with disabled passengers, it is also possible for people to board and alight at the Volendam Museum in the centre of the village. There is space for only one coach at a time and therefore it is not possible to park there.
Boegstraat doesn’t provide free parking and is a covered parking garage for no less than 120 cars. A day ticket costs a maximum of € 5,-. You can pay with your bank card or credit card.