Volendam is perhaps most well known for being the biggest fishing village located in The Netherlands. With a variety of museums focusing on local history and culture, as well as dining and shopping options, most guests enjoy spending at least two days in the city.
Located in Northern Holland, Volendam was established in the 1350s. It is now a well-known fishing village with over 20,000 permanent residents. It is also known for its unique musical genre, palingsound, as well as being the city the 2014 film “Queen” was filmed in.
Volendam features a wealth of activities for visitors to the city to experience, many of which will give them a better idea of the history and culture of the city. Be aware that not all of the attractions are open all year round (some will close during the winter months). Check with each attraction prior to planning a visit to verify availability.
- Cheese Factory - At its most basic, this factory shows guests the ins and outs of how cheese is made. However, it also functions as a comprehensive museum that showcases the evolution and history of how cheese has been made, as well as the creation of what is now the traditional standard of Volendam cheese making. Guests to the Cheese Factory will also be able to both sample some of the cheeses made there and also be able to purchase some to enjoy at a later date (check with customs before boarding an airplane with food products).
- Palingsound Museum/Eel Smokehouse - This Volendam museum focuses on what has been called “palingsound,” a style of music both specific to and created in the city. The word palingsound directly translates to “eel sound,” and the music created relates creatively to what the sounds like. Palingsound has produced many different Dutch musical artists. In addition to the music, the museum is also a functional smokehouse. The smokehouse demonstrates traditional techniques used to smoke eel, and guests will be provided samples at the end of their visits. It is a don’t miss while in Volendam.
- Volendams Museum - Learn about the rich and storied history and other folklore associated with the city of Volendam, including its status as a well-known fishing village. Guests will learn about what makes Volendam so well-known and famous among the many fishing villages in The Netherlands, as well as providing them with the opportunity to tour the cigar band house (named after a local monk created unique mosaics inside of it using eleven million different cigar bands).
For visitors who are interested in more of a guided tour of the city, it is recommended that they take a trip on the Volendam/Marken ferry.The ferry takes paying guests across the Zuiderzee to the former island town of Marken, a trip which takes just about half an hour. Guests will then be free to explore Marken, which features a variety of historical attractions like a museum dedicated to making wooden shoes, the unique wooden homes, and other museum attractions.
A fun, family friendly experience for guests of all ages is the option to have a “historical” photograph taken. Visitors to the studio will be dressed in historical Volendam costumes (hats, dresses, etc) that will go over guests regular clothing, then posed in front of a scene from old time Volendam. Located along the dike, guests will never forget a trip to this historic town with these unique photographs.
Due to its smaller size, Volendam doesn’t offer many special events.
One of the few it does offer, and a visitor favorite, is an annual event called Pieperrace. This event marks the beginning of the sailing season with sailboat races, music, food, and competition. Over sixty boats compete in this race, and competition is fierce. The race both starts and ends in the city, so guests can cheer on their favorites at both the start and the finish line. Experienced sailors can also compete in the Pieperrace.
In May, Volendam offers the Tulip Time Fest. Lasting eight days, this festival offers the very best of Dutch culture with traditional costumes, dances (focusing on those performed between the 1920s and the 1950s), and food options. There are also various workshops and info booths located throughout the city for visitors who want more information about the history and importance of the tulip in Dutch culture.
Dining and Shopping
Besides the cheese factory and smoked eel found at the Volendam museums, guests can also choose from a variety of other dining options during a visit to the city. Van Den Hogan, a restaurant/cafe and hotel in the heart of the city. There are also other, mostly seafood heavy options for every budget. The city also offers many shopping options, from malls to souvenir shops.