Marken is one of the most famous fishing villages in the Netherlands. The village was long on an island, but since 1957 on a peninsula. A dike with a road connects the island, the village and the lighthouse with the mainland. It is a car-free island. Visitors are not allowed to drive around. Marken lies on the Markermeer in the province of North Holland.
When you arrive via the N518 Zeedijk you see the Markermeer all around you. Then the former island looms up and you see the only village. The characteristic green houses add color to the landscape. Almost all of them are national monuments. They are almost all built on mounds. These are elevations against high water. These residential hills are called yards in Marken. With the closing off of the IJsselmeer, this fear disappeared for good among the residents. And now it focuses more on tourism. This village has been a tourist attraction for over a century.
Special is that the village actually consists of several hamlets. Which are scattered across the island. Although you can easily do everything on foot. Or by bicycle. These are the main attractions and excursions in and around Marken.
- The wooden bridges of Marken
If you walk around here you will see them for yourself. The village has no less than four wooden drawbridges. With names such as Wilhelmina bridge, Juliana bridge, Beatrix bridge and the Maxima bridge. They are all worth a look. Some are for cars, but for example the Maxima Bridge only for pedestrians and cyclists.
- The Kets
From the central parking lot you can walk into the old town. And you can wander through the narrow alleys and wider roads. This part is called De Kets, a hamlet that has now merged with the port and the Kerkbuurt. If you look closely you can see that this part is built on a mound. The name De Kets probably comes from a family Ket who once lived here.
When you walk through De Kets you can clearly see how the various houses on Marken were built. Most of them are from the 18th and 19th century. And are still in a good condition. Many gardens of the Kets were used as bleaching fields in the past. On these short cut fields linen was bleached.
- Marken clog makers
At the Klompenmakerij Marken you can see how clogs are made. This can be done by hand in traditional ways, but also with machines. Where you can see how comfortable these pieces of wood are. Of course you can also buy wooden shoes here as well as many other souvenirs.
- The harbor
The harbor is actually called the Havenbuurt (harbor district). This is one of the hamlets that is not built on an elevation. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the harbor became increasingly important. And small stores arose, which you can still find there today. As well as restaurants. Most of the houses were small and stood on stilts. They were later closed to create more living space. Now you can enjoy walking along the boats and coast.
- Memorial Flood Disaster 1916
The Watersnoodramp Memorial recalls the storm surge of 1916. During this storm 16 people died in Marken. The monument is called The Wave, as you can see. It was opened in 2016, so exactly 100 years after the disaster. You can see the monument at the end of the harbor.
- The beaches of Marken
Marken has no less than two beaches near the harbor. Mind you, they are beaches. So not very large, but beautiful. With striking white yellow sand. That contrasts sharply with the grass and colorful flowers around it. You see the beaches automatically if you walk from the harbor to the water. These are also wonderful places for sunset. Sit back and watch the sun disappear on the horizon.
There is also a beach near the lighthouse. Just like in other places along the coast on the island. There are several beaches where you can walk straight into the Markermeer.
The name says it all: This part is built around the current Reformed Church. Also here everything is built on one mound against the water. This hamlet was the original center of Marken. Where you can walk through the streets. where the houses are often right next to each other with often little space in between.
- Marker Museum
The Marker Museum is not a location, but consists of six historic fishermen’s houses in the middle of the Kerkbuurt. In these houses you will learn all about the history of Marken, including the fishing heritage. Eel was smoked in these houses. These smokehouses no longer work.
Also in Wittewerf the houses are from the 18th and 19th century. Although they have been remodeled quite a bit after that. Most have the characteristic wooden facades. Wittewerf is located between the Kruisbaakweg and the Zereiderpad.
Grotewerf is located east of Wittewerf. This hamlet is also situated on a manually made hill against the water. According to many connoisseurs, Grotewerf has the finest selection of houses in Marken. Many houses still have their original appearance. Part of the Zereiderpad is part Grotewerf.
Rozewerf is located on the other side of the island. If you take a tour around the island you will come across the houses by themselves. They stand remarkably close together, especially against the wind. Off the coast you can see icebreakers. These are used to stop the ice from creeping over the island during cold winters.
The Moeniswerf is the most north-eastern mound of the former island. In this remote part you will find several traditional houses with small windows and many flower boxes. The houses are on the route to the Marken Lighthouse.
- Lighthouse of Marken
The Marken Lighthouse is often affectionately called The Horse of Marken. This lighthouse was built in 1839 at the easternmost point of the island. It is 16 meters high. Previously, Marken had as many as three lighthouses when it was still an island. The island lay along the route from Amsterdam to the Wadden Islands.
The lighthouse is still inhabited. And so it is actually not possible to visit. Except in special groups with a boat. You can walk up to the fence and take the famous picture from there. This can also be done at the beach in front of the lighthouse.
During cold winters the lighthouse shows a lot of creeping ice. In 1971 the lighthouse was even moved from its spot. Should a cold winter come, keep an eye on this location. Because beautiful is the lighthouse anyway, and then all the way.