Edam view along canal towards Dam in autumn
© Frans Blok via Shutterstock
Category:North Holland

The Dam of Edam

Damplein 1
1135BK Edam
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The Dam of Edam is located in the center of Edam’s historic center. In the past, this is where trading ships came to load and unload their cargo. Edam was perfectly situated where a river flowed into the Zuiderzee. It allowed the city to levy tolls, growing into a wealthy trading town. The buildings looking down on Damplein square still exude the authentic ambiance of an old Dutch fishing town.

  • Taste the atmosphere of authentic Holland on the Dam of Edam.
  • Visit the sixteenth century Steenen Coopmanshuys (brick merchant house).
  • Discover the history of Edam at the Edams Museum.

The Dam

The Dam of Edam is actually a sluice. In 1544, King Charles V had the open connection between Edam and the Zuiderzee closed off with a sluice. He wanted to protect the hinterland against flooding. Edam’s population was extremely unhappy because they feared the harbor would silt up if there were no tides. That’s why they destroyed the sluice locks in 1570, but to no avail. Edam was never to become the great port city its inhabitants wanted.

The Steenen Coopmanshuys

The ‘Steenen Coopmanshuys’, the first brick merchant’s house in Edam, stands watch over the dam sluice. It was built in 1550 and at the time was a luxurious abode with its brick walls and upper floor. The city acquired the dismally neglected residence in 1893 to prevent its demolition.

The Steenen Coopmanshuys is famous in particular for its ‘floating cellar’. Instead of a normal cellar dug into the earth, the house boasts a watertight brick box that floats on the groundwater. People say that the house and cellar were built by an old seafaring captain. He would sit down in the cellar every once in a while, to feel that he was at sea again. However, it is more likely that the floating cellar was built as a solution to the strongly fluctuating groundwater level.

Edams Museum

Today, the Edams Museum can be found in the Steenen Coopmanshuys. Discover Edam’s history with the aid of the museum’s comprehensive collection. Admire the portrait of Trijntje Keever, who was born in Edam in 1616 and with her 2.54 meters may well have been the tallest woman ever. Or check out the floating cellar and hear the water slosh against the sides.

Accommodations in Edam

Edam is the perfect home base to explore the authentic villages around IJsselmeer lake. You could visit Volendam or Marken, for instance. For the true ‘Edammer’ experience, spend the night in an  authentic Edam fisherman’s cottage. If you prefer a hotel, discover the many establishments in Edam.

We recommend

If you think about Edam, cheese is the first thing that comes to mind. Don’t miss on the world famous cheese market in Edam. In summer, you can visit the market every Wednesday from 10:30 to 12:30. Discover how this centuries old tradition is kept alive.

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