As Marken used to be flooded on a regular basis, residents built their homes on earth mounds, and then on mounds ('terpen'). You'll never find these characteristic little houses anywhere else in the world.
- Take a walk to the lighthouse 'Het Paard van Marken'.
- Be amazed at the authentic wooden houses on stilts.
- Enjoy the atmosphere of this photogenic peninsula.
Peninsula on the Markermeer lake
Marken was separated from the mainland in the 13th century by a storm. There then followed centuries of isolation for the population, who earned their daily bread by fishing. Marken was only connected to the mainland in 1957 by building an embankment, and has been a peninsula since then. Nonetheless, Marken has still kept its authentic character and the residents cherish their traditions.
Sightseeing and activities in Marken
If you're visiting Marken, you can't miss the little wooden houses. Until the 17th century, residents built their homes on 'werven', artificially built hills. In this way, they prevented damage from floods. They then built their homes on stakes. Since the building of the Afsluitdijk, the island has no longer been flooded, but the typical houses remain. Other recommendations are the old Wooden Shoe Factory and the Marker Museum with its costume exhibition. In the Wooden Shoe Factory, located in a parkland you can see how 'clogs' were made from a block of wood. The Marken Museum (Kerkbuurt 44-47) is also dedicated to the traditions of the former island of Marken. As well as the Marken costume, you can also see utensils and works of art by the islanders there. You'll encounter even more typical Dutch costumes in the lovely harbor town of Volendam, where the cruise boat known as the Volendam Marken Express will bring you several times a day.
As Marken is a really small island, you can travel around it on foot without any problems. Across the embankment, the extent of the island encompasses around 9 km. Don't forget to pay the 'Paard van Marken' (Horse of Marken) a visit. This lighthouse from 1839 still carries out its duties. And it's a real beauty; the white tower with the red hood is a popular photo scene.
Location and getting to Marken
The former island of Marken is located on the Markermeer lake and is connected to the mainland today via a 1.6 km long embankment, which you can cross by car, bicycle or on foot. There's a single parking lot on the peninsula; parking fees are about €5 per day (including drivers). 55 cents are added for each additional visitor. You can save parking fees if you leave your car on the mainland and walk to the island across the embankment. The 315 bus is available as a means of public transport, which will either bring you to Amsterdam Noord (travel time: half an hour) or the nearby, equally idyllic little harbor town of Monnickendam.
Trips from Marken to the surrounding area
Marken is located on the Markermeer lake, and because of this, a ship journey with the Volendam Marken Express to Volendam is one of the loveliest trips in the area. During the boat trip, you can also have your photo taken in traditional costume. Or you can enjoy a typical Dutch pancake during the tour. Would you rather have a piece of cheese? The village of Edam, only 16 km away, has a reputation that goes far beyond the Dutch borders, due to its delicious-tasting cheese and the cheese market. The little harbor town of Hoorn, which is a popular trip destination because of its picturesque old town, is also located on the Markermeer lake.
Accommodation tips for Marken
Stay overnight and enjoy Marken after all the day trippers have left the peninsula. The nostalgic rooms in Hotel Hof van Marken offer a view of the Marken harbor and IJsselmeer lake. There's also a vacation apartment, a vacation home and the bed and breakfast De Pepersteeg which, incidentally, has received outstanding reviews.