According to Sciencedict, Volendam is one of the most famous villages in the Netherlands. This is partly due to the many musicians who come from here, such as Jan Smit, Nick & Simon, the 3JS, BZN and The Cats. It is a given that Volendam is rich in singing talent. It is also a fact that Volendam is a fishing village with an enormous tourist attraction. Many Dutch people have visited Volendam for a day and international tourists often make an excursion from Amsterdam to the traditional fishing villages of Volendam and Marken. During the busiest days in the high season, it can even be so strange that it is just as busy on the Volendamse Dijk as on the Kalverstraat in Amsterdam during the sale, looking at the number of visitors per square meter.
Besides the fairly favorable location, there is another reason why the Volendam-Edam-Marken triangle is so popular with tourists. You can get acquainted with typical Dutch traditions, sights and delicacies within a relatively small area. Think of the eel caught on the IJsselmeer and the cheeses produced in Edam. The abundant traditional architecture is another factor that has a huge attraction for tourists.
You don’t need days to discover the 10 most important sights of Volendam. One day is more than enough to see and experience all the highlights of Volendam. To support your visit to Volendam, we have already listed the ten highlights.
Top 10 sights of Volendam
#1. Volendam dike
The Volendamse Dijk is the epicenter of Volendam. It is almost always lively here. In the past it was mainly the fishermen and fishermen’s wives who were present on the Dike, nowadays you mainly see tourists walking around on this long road. If you want to navigate to the Dijk in Volendam, it is best to enter Haven, Noordeinde or Zuideinde. These are the official street names given to this long dike. You will find numerous catering establishments on the Dijk, where, of course, the famous eel sound comes from the loudspeakers. On the Dijk you stroll, shop and make sure you don’t starve or dehydrate. On the Dijk you will also find the former fish auction, which now houses a shop.
#2. Volendams Museum
Do you want to get acquainted with the history, traditions and what it is like to live through the years in Volendam? Then you should definitely visit the Volendams Museum. They do this in a careful way, which gives you the feeling that you have really gained a piece of knowledge about Volendam. Learn about the local costumes and admire the typical Volendam interiors. A separate room within the museum is decorated as a cigar band house. Various works of art have been created by placing cigar bands in mosaic.
#3. The ports
Volendam wouldn’t be Volendam without the harbours. Yes, we write ‘havens’ instead of ‘haven’. Because just south of the old harbor of Volendam you will find a marina that forms an extra tourist hotspot within the village. The Marina Volendam is one hundred percent intended for recreational boats. At the marina is a great holiday park from Landal and there are some restaurants and shops. In the adjacent Smit-Bokkum pavilion you can visit the Palingsoundmuseum for free, which has been built in the attic. Here the success story of the Volendam music industry is told. Nice detail is that Jan Smit owns this museum.
At the old harbor of Volendam you can see a mix of traditional fishing cutters, pleasure boats and, especially in the summer months, some larger yachts. From the outer dike you have a beautiful view of the harbor and the lively Volendamse Dijk on one side and the relaxing IJsselmeer on the other.
#4. Artists’ hotel Spaander
Hotel Spaander is a household name in Volendam. This hotel has been operational since the year 1881. Before that, the building was already used as a café. Owner Leendert Spaander invited artists from all over the world to come to Volendam. They could paint in the studio behind the hotel. The painters who accepted the invitation were inspired by the Volendam clothing, the sea and the underlying landscape. Spaander regularly received a painting as a thank you. This was the beginning of an art collection that was later expanded considerably by Spaander’s daughters. Part of this art collection can now be admired on the walls of the hotel where quite a few celebrities have slept.
#5. In the photo in costume
It is now a ‘must-do’ for many tourists when you are in Volendam: having your picture taken in traditional Volendam costume. This super tourist activity has been in great demand for more than a hundred years. There are several photographers on the Volendamse Dijk where you can have a lasting memory captured in a Volendam costume. Many celebrities and mere mortals have preceded you, which can be seen in the windows of these thriving photo shops. Which is the best? You can decide that yourself. Foto de Boer is the oldest and most famous, but that doesn’t mean the rest aren’t just as good. Take a look at the examples and see what appeals to you personally the most.
#6. Cheese Factory Volendam
Is it a museum? Is it a factory? Is it a shop? It’s all three: the Cheese Factory Volendam’s main goal is to sell cheese and by-products such as cheese slicers to tourists. Part of the business is set up as a kind of museum, where you can see how Dutch cheeses are made and which equipment is involved. Do not expect a grand museum with a huge exhibition that will keep you entertained for hours. But since it’s free, it might be worth checking out.
#7. Eating eel
When you think of Volendam, you quickly think of eel. Although eels can be found in almost all surface waters in and around Europe, Volendam is known for the eel that has been caught here in the IJsselmeer for many years. At one point so many eels were caught that quotas had to be set. The number of professional fishermen fishing for eel (or European eel) has decreased considerably over the years. The result of the greatly reduced eel catch is high prices for the eel. This fish is often paid more expensive than many other fish species. The reason why specifically the eel from Volendam is so famous is the way it is smoked. For generations, the Smit-Bokkum family has known how to produce the tastiest eel using a unique smoking process. You can buy the eel at various places in Volendam. For us, an eel sandwich on De Dijk is really part of a day at Volendam.
#8. The Maze and the Old Bowl
Volendam is of course more than the long dike and the harbours. Volendam also has a historic center. They call it The Maze here. Nowadays another part of the center is mentioned in the same breath as Het Doolhof: the Oude Kom. The name Het Doolhof can simply be explained. There is no clearly devised street plan here, which is why locals quickly called it a courtyard. This name is now commonly used for the center of Volendam. Where the range of shops on De Dijk is limited to tourist shops, you will find the nicer range of shops in Het Doolhof and De Kom. More important for tourists is that you can find the necessary traditional houses in this part of Volendam.
#9. The ground
The picturesque Markenis another fishing village that is often mentioned in the same breath as Volendam. This is because of the location and the similarities. Where Volendam can be very busy, Marken is promoted more as a traditional village. Thanks to the Volendam Marken Express you can commute comfortably and easily between the two villages. This way you kill three birds with one stone: Volendam, Marken and a pleasant boat trip where you get a beautiful view of both villages and the IJsselmeer. The village center of Marken is quite small. That is concentrated around the fishing port. If you want to walk to the lighthouse of Marken (the Horse of Marken), then you are on the road for half an hour (one way).
The boat trip takes about 30 minutes one way. You can buy both one-way and return tickets. It is most convenient if you buy your tickets for this boat trip online in advance. You do not have to choose a date and/or time. The e-ticket does ensure that you can board faster because you do not have to queue for a ticket first. There are several departures per day.
There is a second place that is inextricably linked to Volendam and that is Edam. Together with Volendam, Edam forms the municipality of Edam-Volendam. Edam is located just a little further inland and has a completely different character than Volendam. It is known for the typical Edam cheeses. Large-scale cheese production in and around Edam has now switched to Gouda cheese. Nevertheless, Edam remains famous for its spherical Edam cheeses. This is still made locally in small quantities by hand. In addition to its history as a cheese city, there is another reason to link a visit to Edam to your day at Volendam. Edam is a wonderful example of an authentic Dutch town. The combination of waterways, bridges and monumental houses make Edam a picturesque destination.