5 Tips for Visiting Volendam as a Group

Heather Tucker, Tuesday, March 5, 2013

It was bitterly cold when we arrived in Volendam. Despite the temperatures being already low, it was the wind sweeping in off of the Ijsselmeer that was the real culprit.

We weren’t going to let it deter us though. We were here for historical costumes, cheese, fish and traditional Dutch scenes. Because in this old fishing village, playing the role of the tourist is what it is all about – and as a group is even more fun.

With around 22,000 inhabitants, Volendam is not a town you are likely to get lost in. But to ensure that you get the most out of your time, here are five (group) activities to add to your plans:

1.    Have a photo taken in historical costume.

You’ve probably seen one of these before – big skirts, funny hats and lots of props. You’ll have the layers piled on top of your existing clothes by nimble hands that have clearly done this many times before. Then you and your friends will be modelled into the perfect old-time scene.  You’ll pay more per person in your group but this is one photo that you won’t want to go home without. Period costume photographers are located all along the dike.

2.    Eat.

Whether you choose to be served on dishes straight out of an old-fashioned cupboard by staff in period costumes at Restaurant de Koe (The Cow) or to hunker around large tables at Volendam’s equivalent of the Cheers bar, Grand Café Charleston – eating is a must. It goes without saying that being a fisher’s village – seafood is going to be a good choice.

3.    Take the ferry to nearby Marken.

It might seem unusual that a post about visiting Volendam would suggest leaving it but this former island (a causeway now links the island to the mainland) in the Zuiderzee is the perfect location for snapping photos of characteristic wooden houses, exploring the Marken Museum and learning about the art of making wooden shoes. Separated from the mainland after a storm surge in the 13th century, Marken lets you time travel even further back in time than Volendam does. The journey will take you about 30 minutes aboard the Marken Express.

4.    Visit the museum.

The Volendams Museum on Zeestraat 41 is the perfect location to delve into the history that makes Volendam the interesting place to visit that it is. Even if your group isn’t made up of hardcore museum goers, there is bound to be something amongst the old interiors, traditional costumes and historical items that will grab your interest.

5.    Purchase some cheese.

There are possibilities for you to purchase real Dutch cheese both inside and outside town. The Cheese Factory Volendam, located at Haven 25, which opened at the end of 2012 has demonstrations, a museum and plenty of taste-testing opportunities.

**Please note that not all things are open in Volendam during the colder months, so it is always best to check the relevant websites. This includes the Marken Express and the museums.