Monnickendam is a old Dutch fisherman’s village, located just 13 kilometers North of Amsterdam. Just like the sister villages of Volendam and Marken, it’s perfect for a half day trip from Amsterdam. All of these villages lie along the IJsselmeer, a former sea, now a fresh water lake. Take a day to visit them all, go cycling in the Dutch country side or visit Monnickendam during their famous Fish Days (Monnickendam Visdagen). There are 4 different buses that take you from Amsterdam Central Station to Monnickendam (EBS bus 310, 312, 314 or 316).
Here are 4 reasons to take a half day trip to Monnickendam.
1. Eat smoked fish in Monnickendam
The most famous produce of Monnickendam is smoked fish. IN the 1960s and 1970s there were over 30 smokehouses. You can immediately smell the smoked mackeral and eel when you enter the little lakeside harbour.
Day trip to Monnickendam on the Fish Days
In summer, Monnickendam celebrates this old Dutch tradition during the Monnickendam Fish Days (Monnickendammer Visdagen). The little town is all dressed up for this special occasion. The villagers are dressed in traditional clothes and show old Dutch crafts such as basked making, wooden shoe making and fish net makers. You can taste local products and listen to special choirs singing old fisherman’s songs.
In 2016 the Monnickendam Fish Days are on 15, 22 and 29 of July and on 5, 12 and 19 of August 2016.
2. Sightseeing in Monnickendam
Monnickendam’s history goes back to the 14th century. After 1575 the town flourished. reason was that it was located along the river the Purmer EE, connecting the Southern Sea (now IJsselmeer) with the lakes and towns in the backland (Purmer, Beemster, Schermer, Alkmaar, all famous for their Dutch cheeses). It was an important shipping rout to and rom the East Sea region (Northeast Germany). Most of the buildings, but also the names of the street are reminders of this busy period. There were many cheese factories, ship wharfs and smokehouses to visit during a day trip to Monnickendam.
Fires and flooding in Monnickendam
But Monnickendam also has experienced darker days. In 1484 and again in 1513 terrible fires destroyed the town. In 1916 the dykes broke, and the seawater entered the city. Only the Big Church was kept dry, and all the farmers led their cattle into the church. In The 1960’s the town was expanded.
3. Sailing in Monnickendam
The IJsselmeer is a popular lake to go sailing. There are several companies where you can charter a yacht. The yachts do not require a captains licence, but obviously, some sailing experience is necessary. If you lack the necessary sailing experience, you can step aboard a traditional Dutch barge for a half day trip to Monnickendam. The boat takes 4 hours. The flat-bottomed ship sails between Amsterdam, Volendam, Marken and Monnickendam. On board you can enjoy regional specialities such as dutch apple pie, freshly smoked eel and a local captain bitter.
4. Biking to Monnickendam, Volendam, Marken
The area around Monnickendam, Volendam and Marken is, is called Waterland. This area is very popular for cycling. The (farm)land is flat, the distances are short, the views are wide and you will encounter many small villages and lakeside cafés along the way to have apple pie and beers.
Cycling routes in Holland
Holland is a cycling country and so the entire country is lined and dotted with special signposts for cyclists. The cycling signpost system in the Netherlands works through junctions (fietsknooppunten) that you will find along the way. Every junction has a number and and an information board which contains an overview map. Each time you reach a junction, you can decide to shorten or change the route. To cycle from one junction to another, just keep following the route signs with the number of the next junction. It couldn’t be any simpler. Learn more about the system and find a route you like at: http://www.hollandcyclingroutes.com/. Cycling to Monnickendam is a great way to see the Dutch country side and spend a day trip to Monnickendam outside of the busy city.