Marken is a village in Zaanstreek-Waterland, North Holland, Netherlands. It is known for its characteristic wooden houses and traditional costumes. It's a peninsula in the IJsselmeer lake, but connected to the mainland by a causeway.
This picturesque little village was originally situated on an island. Floods were regular and often disastrous. To protect their belongings and themselves from the water, the inhabitants created artificial dwelling hills on which they build their houses. As fishery became the main economic activity, the population grew rapidly. When the Afsluitdijk was finished in 1932, and the Zuiderzee became the fresh water IJsselmeer with no access to the sea, fishery activities came to an end. When the dike between Marken and the mainland was closed in 1957, Marken wasn't even a real island anymore. Nevertheless, the village still has the looks and feel of a fishermen's town and an island. For over a century, it has drawn in visitors who wanted a glance at its traditional costumes and picturesque houses.
- VVV tourist information point, Havenbuurt 19c, ☎ . There's a small information point in Marken, where you'll find some leaflets and maps. For more tourist information services, head to nearby Monnickendam.
- Bus 311 runs from Amsterdam to Marken and back, and passes through Broek in Waterland and Monnickendam.
- Bus 610 connects Marken to Volendam
In the main tourist season, 24 March - 6 November in 2011, there's also a ferry connection to Volendam, which leaves about once in 30 to 45 minutes.
A great way to get to Marken is by bike. There are many cycle routes that will take you there.
- From Amsterdam Central Station - Marken Cycle Route (51 or 45 km).
- From Purmerend train station - Volendam Cycle Route (45 or 37 km).
Marken is a village and you can easily get around on foot. Alternatively, you can rent a bike via:
- DagjeMarken, ☎ .
Volendam and Monnickendam have a larger number of bike rental options, and are a comfortable biking distances from the peninsula.
Marken's main attraction lies in its lovely old wooden houses, traditional atmosphere and folklorist elements.Traditional costumes are now rarely worn, and usually for tourist purposes, but are still fun to see. Many of the wooden houses are listed as National Heritage Sites and some are placed on wooden poles, to protect them from the water. The main sights include:
- Paard van Marken (Horse of Marken), Vuurtoren 1. This lighthouse on the eastern end of the peninsula is one of the best known ones in the country. This 1839 structure is 16 meters high and it's a National Heritage Sight. It's not open for visitors but is a lovely sight from a distance.
- Marker Museum, Kerkbuurt 44 47, ☎ . In this small museum you can see a traditional Marken house as it would have been decorated in the old days. There's traditional clothing on display and a lot of information on the peninsula's history. Not all information is in English, though. 2,50 EUR.
- Kijkhuisje Sijtje Boes, Havenbuurt 19 a. In the early 1900's, a woman called Sijtje Boes started the first souvenir shop here. Now, it's a tiny museum with the original interior as an exhibition.
Marken has been a popular tourist destination for decades and souvenirs are all around. You'll find a good range at the Sijtje Boes house, which is the oldest souvenir store in town. Marker Folklorestoffen (Buurt II 5) sells the typical fabrics that you the traditional Marker costumes were made of. On Rietland 4 there's a shop that sells the actual costumes.
There are a few restaurants. As Marken is originally a fishermen's town, there's a lot of sea food around. Hotel Hof van Marken also has a restaurant.
- Restaurant Land en Zeezicht, Havenbuurt 6, ☎ . Nice location and a lovely outdoor terrace. The food gets mixed reviews.
- De Visscher, Havenbuurt 22, ☎ . This pub serves descent food and has a great view.
- Snackbar De Verkeerde Wereld, Buurterstraat 20. This cafeteria sells fries and snacks, but also has a range of simple dishes for lunch and dinner. Baguettes and omelets but also fried fish, steaks, spareribs etc. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Accommodation is limited on the peninsula, and most people stay in Amsterdam, Volendam or Monnickendam. There is a hotel though, and it gets good reviews.
- Hotel Restaurant Hof van Marken, Buurt II 15, ☎ . This nice hotel is in a great location and it's a monument itself. Rooms are decorated with antiques and old pictures of the village and they're clean. Bathrooms are small and the stairs narrow, breakfast is not included in the price. The downstairs restaurant serves French cuisine and is one of the best dining options in town. €95 for a double.
- Postal services, Boxenring 40A (inside Deen supermarket). 8AM-6.30PM, Sa8AM-6PM, closed on Sundays. At the supermarket, you'll find basic services such as (international and national) stamps. For more specific services, you'll have to go to Monnickendam.
Nearby villages include: