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North Holland interesting places - Edam, Volendam & Monnikendam

Leisurely life - North Holland interesting places
North Holland interesting places - Leisurely life

Interesting places in North Holland

We visit in North of Holland interesting places. On our trip to the north of The Netherlands we had two goals. On the one hand we wanted to see the tulip blossom. On the other hand, we wanted to see if the stereotypes circulating about Holland apply. We went in search of cheese, clogs and canals. We found what we wanted in villages and also on our journey between Amsterdam and the Gelderland. Whether North Holland offers interesting places, that is the question that we ask ourselves on this journey.

Holland we had with our visit to Rotterdam visited for the first time. On the trip there we got a taste of the country. As we drove past canals and saw windmills in the distance, we got a first impression of Holland. That made us curious. That's why we decided to spend more time this year for the country and its people. This time we wanted to go in search of clues. What we discovered there, we introduce you here.

North Holland interesting places - bridge in Edam
Bridge in Edam

Edam, Volendam and Monnickendam - three attractive villages in North Holland

Three attractive villages we met on our trip lie north of Amsterdam near the IJsselmeer. But you can only see this in a few places. That's because the land is up to several meters below sea level. That is why it is separated from the sea by dikes. If you want to see the sea, you have to walk along the dike.

Book trips to North Holland from Amsterdam here

Nevertheless, water is omnipresent in these regions. Because the Polderland is drained. Because of this we encounter canals, lakes and ponds again and again. In some places they are so wide that we can only cross them by ferry. In this area are three attractive villages in North Holland: Edam, Volendam and Monnickendam. We take a closer look at them on our journey. All three are worth seeing, but still differ from each other. And they have some surprises ready for us.

Center of Edam - North Holland interesting places
It's leisurely in the center of Edam, one of the three villages in North Holland

Edam - where cheese does not matter any more, channels for it all the more

In Edam, the only cheeses we saw were made of plastic. On the former cheese market of Edam, only cheese carriers made of metal, dolls and plastic cheese wheels bear witness to their former importance as a cheese town. The cheese dairies have moved on to nearby Alkmaar. Instead, Edam is a place of residence for people who make their living in Amsterdam. They prefer the quiet life in the countryside to the hustle and bustle of the big city. A proper place is Edamwhere many live right by one of the canals. These run through the small town, again and again spanned by wooden bridges, which could not be more picturesque.

Edam - North Holland interesting places
North Holland interesting places - Edam is one of them

Quiet village life in Edam - North Holland interesting places

We are here during the week. That's why we experience a village where life is very quiet. Barely any traffic, now and then a housewife who hauls her basket of vegetables home from the village shop. A cat who is staring at the windowsill in one of the houses in front of him. The hammering from the shipyard, in which since the times of the Dutch East India trading company ships are built. Today, though, there are not any big merchant ships left here. But the tradition of shipbuilding continues.


Tranquility is the life in Edam, which we discover on a boat trip with a whisper boat through the canals of the city. Instead of cheese, we learn more about the canals that go through North Holland. Our guide tells us about the problems that life under the sea level brings with it. He also talks about the solutions that have been found. Finally, he talks about the people who make Edam a very attractive place to live. In this even art and culture play a role.

Gouda in Volendam - North Holland interesting places
Gouda is charmingly praised in Volendam

Volendam - of cheese, clogs and Dutch masters

Quite different in Volendam, which is only a few kilometers away from Edam on the dike. Here we had been warned: "Things are more touristy here, and you should also look around in the labyrinth of alleys behind the dike," advises the boat rental company in Edam. "It is not so crowded there, and just as interesting." He is right. Bus tourists bustle on the dyke and flock to Volendam. You are looking for "typical Holland". This is tricked into thinking in the souvenir shops, galleries and stalls along Deichstrasse.


Taste Gouda - North Holland interesting places
North Holland interesting places - Just outside Volendam you can taste Gouda

North Holland interesting places with Gouda, clogs and Delft tiles

Gouda cheese, wooden shoes and Delft tiles are popular Souvenirs, They often walk across the sales counter. Japanese tourists burst into rapture screams as they see cheeses in the shop window. German seniors seek refuge in one of the restaurants. They bring themselves to safety from a rain shower - and only a few of them buy a few drinks from the innkeeper. The rest leaves the place as soon as the first rays of sun break through the clouds. And the landlord starts to rearrange the tables and chairs. We watch the goings-on of our compatriots shake their heads and then take a walk over the dike. There we observe the boats that go out to the Markermeer or over to the island of Marken.

What has to be packed for this trip

Arte Hotel Spaander in Volendam
Great tiles and paintings in the Arte Hotel Spaander in Volendam

Cheese farm Alida Hoeve
Zeddeweg 1
1131 CW Volendam
Tel. + 31 (0) 299 363 595

Interesting places fit in the Art Hotel Spaander in North Holland

The Art Hotel Spaander is worth a visit with its collection of paintings, the Delft tiles, the maritime decor and the cozy atmosphere in its restaurant. Anyone who comes here should bring some time to look at the public spaces of the restaurant. Here you can get lost in a smorgasbord of Dutch arts and crafts. We are amazed at the things that have been created in this country over the centuries. Then you can thank the host with a glass of beer. We do that under the eyes of Dutch milk girls or cheese boys, who look down at us from the paintings on the wall.

Houses of Monnickendam
North Holland interesting places - the historic houses of Monnickendam belong to it

Monnickendam, where historic houses line the streets

The neighboring village of Monnickendam is quieter. We visit the church. This one sees how it has grown with the community and was expanded. Along the road to the town center, we see examples of Dutch facades as they were built over the centuries. The staircase or bell gables are typical. Some of them lean slightly forward. Or they have a ledge that extends over the entire façade above the windows of the ground floor. Both should prevent rainwater from dissolving the cement. Because this is made of local Muschelkalk.

Bell tower of Monnickendam
Bell tower of Monnickendam

In the bell tower of Monnickendam, one of the places of interest in North Holland

We visit the bell tower of Monnickendam, where there is a museum recently. This deals with the history of the region, its people and the carillon. It still beats the hours in Monnickendam. We learn of the three men who years ago drifted on an ice floe ice fishing on the other shore of the Markermeer. Two weeks long. All three arrived there alive. But two of them died shortly after their martyrdom.


We see the funeral ornaments that people made here from the hair of their deceased loved ones and wore them for a year in memory of them. We hear the carillon announcing the hour to the inhabitants of Monnickendam.

Take the flat barge through the Zuiderzee Museum
North Holland Interesting Places - Take a plane boat through the Zuiderzee Museum

Holland's traditions at the Zuiderzee Museum - Discover interesting places in North Holland

No place fits the stereotypes we brought about Holland, which is not surprising. They are all living places that adapt to the modern age and develop individually: Edam with its tranquility, Volendam with its focus on tourists and Monnickendam with its historic center. A few kilometers further north we find the Holland as we had imagined: in the Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen.

Kate in the Zuiderzee Museum
Cozy, such a Kate in the Zuiderzee Museum, right?

Here, buildings have been rebuilt from places along the Zuiderzee that show what life once looked like in the north of the Netherlands: in one of the cozy cottages we are invited to tea, in another we watch a hard-working washerwoman doing her icy cold wind washes white shirts, pants and blue and white tea towels. Her hands already show red calluses.

Wash in the sea wind
Freshly washed, the laundry dries in the sea breeze

That's how you once lived in North Holland

We watch a man transport visitors across a canal in a flat barge. Behind the dike, a windmill ensures a regulated water level on the canals in the village. We watch a worker refilling charcoal in the boiler of the village laundry, where those who can afford to hand in their laundry. You will receive them freshly strengthened and ironed back. We talk to the village banker, who explains what is happening in the world of commerce, and we visit a pharmacy with a strange king's head opening his mouth. When I ask why he is doing this, the answer comes promptly: "Well, open your mouth to the doctor and say Aaaah!" I would never have come up with this explanation.

Do you know why it tears his mouth like that?

We visit the old school, the old post office, a candy store where we get licorice sticks, and watch a Cooper making his barrels. On the way we meet a traveling dealer on his bike, and the butcher looks like fresh sausage was delivered.

Our visit to the Zuiderzee Museum - North Holland interesting places

If you want to see what Holland's life once looked like, we recommend a visit to the Zuiderzee Museum. Here, with great attention to detail, the authentic life in the villages along the coast of North Holland has been reconstructed and revived during the summer months with performers who take their role as bankers, as laundresses, as post office workers or pharmacists very seriously. There should only be enough time for a visit to the Zuiderzee Museum: we have been here for several hours, but would have liked to stay longer, there is so much to discover here.


Zuiderzee Museum
Wierdijk 12-22
1601 LA Enkhuizen

Our trip to North Holland's interesting places gave us an insight into the life of Holland then and now.

Three attractive villages worth a visit. For overnight we recommend this Hotels in the north of Holland.

Travel Arrangements:

Getting there

KLM and other airlines fly to Amsterdam. Do you have more time? Then we recommend one Road trip through the Hanseatic cities in Holland.

Rental car

Cheap Car Hire - Book Fast and Easy! *

Excursions from Amsterdam to Edam, Volendam and Monnickendam


Hotels in the north of Holland * You can book here.

More Slow Travel Travel tips There's this link. Discover more Cities in Holland.

North Holland vacation
Click on the photo and pin "North Holland Vacation" on Pinterest

Source for North Holland interesting places: own research on site with a friendly invitation from iamsterdam and the Dutch office for tourism Our opinion, however, remains our own.

Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline


  1. Felix Lichtenfeld
    | Reply

    Interesting, I live in Friesland, so I've been to Holland many times already. But mostly only in Groningen or Amsterdam. But before I have to make a longer trip through Holland, there are already some nice places here. :)

    • Monika & Petar Fox
      | Reply

      Hi Felix,

      These three villages are definitely worthwhile. They are all not far from Amsterdam and therefore relatively easy to reach. They also offer really interesting sights.

      Best regards,

  2. Jutta
    | Reply

    Almost home for me, because I live almost on the border and am constantly with my nice neighbors to visit. Here with you there are some great new insights! Sunny greetings,

    • Monika Fox
      | Reply

      Dear Jutta,

      we live in the south of Germany. The Netherlands is (unfortunately) not just around the corner. We liked it there very much, and I would be delighted if we could give you suggestions as "newcomers". Kind regards, Monika

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