The Ultimate Marken Travel Guide

The quaint streets of Marken transport visitors to a bygone era, captivating them with their traditional wooden houses and serene ambience. This charming village is a testament to the Netherlands’ rich maritime heritage, enchanting travellers as they explore its scenic waterfront and vibrant local culture.

Marken is a picturesque village in the Netherlands, one of many destinations that come to mind when you think of idyllic getaways. This charming locale offers a wealth of unique experiences. Nestled on a peninsula in the IJsselmeer, Marken boasts traditional wooden houses, scenic landscapes, and a tranquil atmosphere that feels like a step back in time.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the reasons why Marken is a must-visit for cultural enthusiasts and adventurers. From its vibrant maritime heritage to its breathtaking waterfront vistas, Marken offers a captivating journey into the heart of Dutch tradition and natural beauty.

The most beautiful thing in the world is, of course, the world itself.

~ Wallace Stevens

What To Do in Marken

In the upcoming section, you’ll find a comprehensive list of activities and attractions to enjoy in Marken. From exploring traditional wooden houses to visiting the iconic lighthouse, there are plenty of unique experiences awaiting you in this charming village.

The Wooden Shoe Factory

The Wooden Shoe Factory offers a unique glimpse into Dutch culture. Known for its iconic clogs, this factory is the only one in the world powered by a steam engine. Visitors can learn about the intricate craft of clog-making, which has been a part of Dutch heritage since the 13th century.

The factory’s centrepiece is an original Badenia locomotive steam engine from 1913, which showcases the Industrial Revolution’s impact on clog production. Once drawn by horses and weighing 5000 kilos, this historical machine adds a fascinating dimension to the factory tour.

Inside the Wooden Shoe Factory, you can witness the transformation of wood into traditional Dutch footwear using machines dating back to 1906. This experience not only highlights the craftsmanship involved but also brings to life the rich history and culture of the Netherlands.

For those unable to visit in person, the factory offers a virtual tour led by one of their skilled craftsmen, Sebastiaan Bouter. This immersive experience allows you to explore the shop and the clog-making process from the comfort of your home, providing an educational and entertaining look into this quintessential Dutch tradition.

Email: N/A
Telephone:  +31 2 99 60 12 50
AddressKets 52, 1156 AX Marken

The Marker Museum

The Marker Museum offers an immersive journey into the rich cultural heritage of this former island. Established in 1983, the museum showcases life, work, and traditions through its extensive collection housed in six interconnected historical homes. Visitors can explore the authentic 19th-century interiors of a fisherman’s family home, complete with original furnishings and decorative items.

The museum’s exhibitions rotate regularly, featuring themes such as textiles, traditional clothing, ceramics, and folk art, including the works of local artist Jan Moenis. An engaging audiovisual presentation further illuminates the history and customs of Marken, preserving its unique identity for future generations.

Additionally, the Marker Museum supports its mission through the efforts of dedicated volunteers and the Vereniging Historisch Eiland Marken (VHEM), which focuses on preserving the island’s distinctive character and cultural assets. The museum also offers a quaint shop where visitors can purchase books, postcards, and other memorabilia.

The Marker Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in Dutch culture and history, providing a unique glimpse into the enduring traditions of Marken. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious, the museum offers a captivating and educational experience.

Telephone:  +31 2 99 60 19 04
AddressKerkbuurt 44, 1156 BL Marken

The Marken Lighthouse

The Paard van Marken lighthouse is located on the eastern tip of the Marken peninsula, serving as a guardian of maritime history. Originally built as a square structure in 1700, it has undergone several changes over the years. The current round tower was erected in 1839 and has since become one of the most iconic landmarks in the Netherlands. Recognised as a national monument in 1970, the Paard van Marken stands as a symbol of resilience and maritime heritage.

The lighthouse, standing 16 meters tall, is not only a historic structure but also a currently inhabited residence. Its prominent white facade, complemented by the red light, creates a picturesque scene against the backdrop of the Markermeer. The lighthouse serves as a living piece of history, blending the old with the new, and continues to guide sailors with its enduring light.

Photo by Angelo Casto on Unsplash

The history of the Paard van Marken is rich and multifaceted. Initially, it served as a beacon to guide ships from the Waddenzee to Amsterdam as part of a trio of lighthouses fulfilling this crucial navigational role. In 1839, the original fire beacon was replaced with an iron structure designed by J. Valk, who also designed the lighthouse on Urk. Later, a brick house and storage area were added, further enhancing its functionality and charm.

The lighthouse features intricate details such as a bricked stone with emblems, dolphins, and the date 1700, harking back to its origins. Equipped with a fog bell and fog horn, it ensures that ships can navigate safely even in poor visibility. The Paard van Marken stands as a testament to the ingenuity and endurance of Dutch maritime tradition, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts and travellers alike.

Email: N/A
Telephone: N/A
Website: N/A
AddressPaard van Marken,Oosterpad, 1156 DB Marken

The Boerderij Terlouw

Boerderij Terlouw in Marken is a relatively new yet authentically styled farm, established in 2009. It stands out not only for its traditional architecture but also for its dedication to sustainable agriculture and nature conservation. The Terlouw family, operating a dairy farm with around one hundred cows, actively participates in wildlife preservation, particularly for meadow birds.

Visitors to Boerderij Terlouw can enjoy a variety of activities. The farm offers a “rustpunt” for relaxation and sells local products directly from an on-site vending machine. Bird enthusiasts will be delighted by the specially designed wetland areas and elevated water levels that attract species such as the black-tailed godwit, lapwing, and redshank.

One of the unique features of Boerderij Terlouw is its bird-watching hut, available for booking during the breeding season. This offers a fantastic opportunity to observe a diverse range of birds in their natural habitat, making it a must-visit for nature lovers and birdwatchers.

The farm is a testament to the harmonious balance between agriculture and nature. The Terlouw family’s efforts in creating a hospitable environment for meadow birds showcase their commitment to preserving the local ecosystem, making Boerderij Terlouw an exemplary model of sustainable farming in the Netherlands.

The Grote Kerk

The Grote Kerk in Marken, also known as the Reformed Church, is a notable historic landmark constructed between 1903 and 1904. Designed by A.H.L. Kups, the church exhibits elements of Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Gothic architectural styles, creating a unique and eclectic aesthetic. The church replaced an earlier Waterstaatskerk, embodying a blend of stylistic influences that give it a distinctive character.

The exterior of the Grote Kerk features a three-tiered tower that serves as the main entrance to the nave. Inside the tower hangs a bell cast in 1647 by Joannes van Trier, and a mechanical clock from 1907 crafted by J.L. de Looze. The nave showcases a barrel-vaulted ceiling supported by cast iron columns, while the side aisles have flat ceilings, adding to the interior’s architectural intrigue.

Adorning the church’s interior are three 17th-century chandeliers and five ship models, each representing different historical periods and maritime traditions. The current organ, built by Gebroeders Van Vulpen in 1972, stands against the eastern wall, with its 1912 facade originally designed by A. Standaart for the previous organ.

The Grote Kerk is a Rijksmonument, with several significant objects under its protection, including a hexagonal pulpit, a 17th-century lectern, and various copper elements from the 17th and 18th centuries. This designation underscores its cultural and historical importance, making it a must-visit for those exploring Marken’s rich heritage.

The Monument Mannen van Marken

The Monument Mannen van Marken stands as a poignant tribute to the bravery and sacrifices of the island’s residents and Allied forces during World War II. Erected in 2011, this monument honours the seven crew members of the British bomber Short Stirling BK 710, which was shot down over the Markermeer in May 1943. The wreckage, discovered decades later, inspired the community to create a lasting memorial.

The monument is not only dedicated to the British airmen but also commemorates the eleven local men from Marken who lost their lives in the war. Names such as Zeeman, Visser, and Schipper are engraved on the monument, serving as a somber reminder of the personal toll that the conflict took on this tight-knit community. The structure itself is a simple yet powerful representation of loss and remembrance.

Located in the village’s central park, the monument features a striking design that includes elements of the original aircraft, such as propeller blades, enhancing its historical significance. The unveiling of the monument was a significant event, attended by residents, descendants of the fallen soldiers, and representatives from the Allied forces, reflecting the enduring bond forged through shared history.

The Harbour Beach

Marken Harbour Beach, known as Havenstrandje Marken, is beautifully situated on the Gouwzee. Unlike the larger Markermeer, the Gouwzee is characterized by its clear, shallow, and plant-rich waters, making it an ideal spot for swimming and relaxing. The beach provides a serene escape with its natural beauty and tranquil waters.

Marken itself, a peninsula connected to the mainland by a dam since 1957, is a former fishing village that now attracts numerous tourists. The combination of historical charm and picturesque waterfront makes Marken Harbour Beach a popular destination for both locals and visitors.

The Monument Watersnood 1916

The Monument Watersnood, also known as The Wave, is a poignant tribute located in Marken, commemorating the victims of the catastrophic storm surge of January 13-14, 1916. Designed by Linda Verkaaik, the monument features life-sized figures in a boat, reaching out for help, symbolizing the community’s struggle and unity in the face of disaster.

Situated on the Hogedijk in Marken’s harbour, The Wave offers a view over the Gouwzee, connecting the past to the present. Its design draws inspiration from the collaborative efforts required during the flood, reminiscent of the “wave” seen in stadiums, representing collective action and resilience.

The monument incorporates elements from Marken’s traditional mourning attire, integrated into the synthetic sails that rise above the sculpture. These patterns reflect the cultural heritage of the island, adding a layer of historical significance to the artwork. A seating area around the monument provides a space for reflection on the power and impact of water.

Chosen from 74 entries, The Wave was unveiled on January 14, 2016, marking the centennial of the flood. This event was attended by local dignitaries, including the mayor of Waterland and the district water board official, highlighting the ongoing importance of remembering and honouring the past.

Where To Eat in Marken

De Verkeerde Wereld Bistro

The Verkeerde Wereld Bistro offers a charming and versatile dining experience. This quaint establishment, whose name translates to “The Wrong World,” is steeped in history, having been built on what was once a marshland. The bistro features a diverse menu with freshly made dishes, including high-quality fish and homemade soups, making it a favourite among locals.

For those looking to explore the local flavours and culture of Marken, The Verkeerde Wereld Bistro is an ideal spot. Whether you’re stopping by for a quick snack, a full meal, or a catered event, this bistro promises a delightful and memorable experience, with the added bonus of engaging with the welcoming local community.


Google Maps

Use the Google Maps below to get directions for driving, public transit, walking, ride-sharing, cycling, flight, or motorcycle from your current location to the Marken. You can also use the map to explore the surrounding areas to find other interesting sites and attractions.

Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson
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