Enkhuizen, located in West Friesland in the Dutch province of North Holland, is a historic harbor town. If you’ve had enough of the major cities, their super busy attractions, and their traffic, then a visit to this charming port city is just what you need. Please read below for our tips on what to see and do.
The Most Popular Attractions in Enkhuizen
Enkhuizen may be a bit more laid back, but it’s far from boring. In the 17th century, it was one of the wealthiest cities in the Netherlands, thanks to the presence of the Dutch East India Company and the West India Company. Unfortunately, and most likely due to the immense trade taking place at the time, its harbors became polluted. This resulted in a lot of trade moving to Amsterdam.
Today, Enkhuizen thrives as a tourist destination because many people want to see the various picturesque villas, canals, churches, museums, and national monuments that it has. Many of these attractions were built in the mid-1500s. Let’s discuss some of these attractions below.
The Zuiderzee Museum is one of the best examples of indoor and outdoor museums in the Netherlands. Indoors, the Netherlands’ most extensive collection of wooden ships is on view. Outdoors, visitors can see about 30 historic houses and shops, which depict life in Zuiderzee between 1880 and 1930. The outdoor area is accessible only from March thru October.
Keeping with the maritime theme is the Flessenscheepjes Museum (Bottle Ships Museum). There are over 1000 sailing ship replicas in this museum—all carefully put together and placed inside glass bottles and vials for you to see.
The Drommedaris is the most famous building in Enkhuizen. Built as a city gate and defense tower in the mid-1500s, it’s the perfect example of old meets new. The present structure is double its original height and is very IG-worthy from the outside. Inside though, it’s served many functions through the centuries. From being a defense tower, it has been a prison, a mill, a post office, a hostel, and perhaps many other things in between. Today, though, it’s known as an art and cultural center where various film, theatre, and musical events are staged.
Waaggebouw (Waag Building)
The Waaggebouw is a weighing hall built in the mid-1500s in the Renaissance style. This is where goods were weighed and taxed, and business people generally congregated. Today, visitors can still see the original centuries-old weight scale used then.
Westerkerk (Western Church)
The Westerkerk, built in 1470, is listed as one of Unesco’s Top 100 Dutch monuments. It’s a functioning church and showcases an organ from 1549! When you visit, climb the spiral staircase at its southern portal to the Librije in the Westerkerk, one of only two surviving 16th-century city libraries in the country.
Zuiderkerk (Southern Church)
The Zuiderkerk is a 15th-century church built in the Gothic style. Just like Westerkerk, it’s a functioning church. But if attending service doesn’t interest you, note that a visit is still very much worthwhile if only to view its features, which have been carefully restored over the years. Most notable are the murals and vault paintings that tell stories from centuries-long past.
Sprookjeswonderland (Fairytale Wonderland Enkhuizen)
If you’re visiting with kids, then you can’t go wrong with Sprookjeswonderland. As its name suggests, the theme park focuses on famous scenes from various fairy tales. (Do you want to see Sleeping Beauty as she sleeps in her bed chamber?) There’s also a gnome village, a petting zoo, carousels, beautifully landscaped gardens, and a playground. It’s said that Sprookjeswonderland is aimed at kids aged 3 to 10, but anyone young at heart will enjoy it here too.
Klimpark Streekbos (Climbing Park Streekbos)
Klimpark Steekbos is a climbing park with 400 meters of obstacles and two amazing ziplines ranging in height from 4 to 12 meters. So there’s something for kids and adults to climb. But if you, or your child, prefers to stay on solid ground, there are other activities too. There’s miniature golf, canoeing, archery, ball shooting, and others.
How to Get to Enkhuizen
By Public Transport
You can easily reach Enkhuizen by train or bus. From Amsterdam, taking the train to Enkhuizen will take about an hour. Please check the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Netherlands Railways) website to plan your journey. In Enkhuizen, a local bus called Buurtbus 438 runs, and you can check their schedules here.
From Amsterdam, you can drive to Enkhuizen via the A7 or N247. If you’re traveling from elsewhere in the country, the best way is to drive to Enkhuizen using Google Maps or any GPS system.
Parking is not as expensive as in major Dutch cities. And if you have a blue disc, you can park at designated Blue Zones, which are areas where you can park for free for a brief period. Important: Check how long you can park for free, so you don’t get a fine!
Being a harbor city, Enkhuizen is surrounded by water. As such, it’s no surprise that you can travel to it by boat. There’s the Bep Glasius ferry(Enkhuizen-Stavoren route), De Zuiderzee ferry (Enkhuizen-Urk route), and the Friesland ferry (Enkhuizen-Medemblik route).
In the Area
If you want to explore nearby areas, consider the following:
- Wadden Sea