Volendam is a town in North Holland in the Netherlands and only 20 kilometers north of Amsterdam. Sometimes called the pearl of the Zuiderzee, Volendam is a highly popular tourist destination.
Originally, Volendam was the location of the harbor for the nearby Edam, which was situated at the mouth of the IJ bay. In 1357, the inhabitants of Edam dug a shorter canal to the Zuiderzee with its own separate harbor and this removed the need for the original harbor. So, farmers and local fishermen settled there, forming the new community of Volendam.
The traditional Volendam today
Volendam is a popular tourist attraction in the Netherlands. Its rather isolated location and the character of its inhabitants have given Volendam a very specific atmosphere. It is a fishermen's village known for its old fishing boats and the traditional clothing still worn by some of its residents.
The small town has a strong traditional element still visible everywhere. Volendam's traditional costume is one of the best known examples of ancient clothing in the country. The impressive thing is that some of its residents (mainly women) still wear that costume and go out!
Also, Volendam is popular for its distinctive music, called Palingsound in reference to Volendam's status as a fishing village. There's an extensive Dutch music scene there and several of the most popular Dutch singers originate from Volendam.
The village is best explored on foot or by bike. But, another excellent way to explore the region around is the short boat rides. The worth-seeing in Volendam is its typical centre with the old houses and the bustling harbor area with the fishermen's atmosphere. The oldest part of the town is called the labyrinth for its narrow streets and seemingly random plan.
Volendam doesn't have a lot of attractions to visit. You simply walk around and get the vibe of a unique place. But, if you want to learn more about the history and the clothing style of the town, there is a small museum, where the visitors can have their pictures taken in traditional costumes.
It is not surprising that a famous Dutch singer sang the praise of this characteristic fishing village is the words: "Anyone who wants to see the real beauty of Holland, goes to Volendam".
photos by: aromano, Mab Shoot, bertknot