B&B Westfriesland is situated on one of the most beautiful locations in North Holland. The B&B is in a short distance of many highlights of which Holland is rich and famous. The historical cities Hoorn, Enkhuizen and Medemblik are no further away than only 10 minutes by car. Amsterdam, the Zaanse Schans, Alkmaar with the cheese market, the fishing villages Volendam and Marken and the places at the coast like Egmond and Bergen, can be reached within half an hour.
On this site you will find some information about the several highlights, which can be found in a short distance and, with a stay of several days, are definitely a must to be visited.
In the 17th century the Dutch really were “world travellers”. Areas in the Far East were discovered and a new trade arose. The city of Hoorn was one of the central places where a trip began and ended. The whole city has still the smell of the 17th century. Beautiful buildings of those times remember us of this special period from Dutch history. The terrific harbour is worth to discover thoroughly. The harbour has still the smell of the sphere then and at the entrance of the harbour is still the beautiful “Hoofdtoren”. Culinary you can find almost everything in Hoorn. A cosy pub or a stylish restaurant, to spend the whole evening. But here is also a lot to do in and around Hoorn.
City walks through the centre of Hoorn
Accompanied by an experienced guide you can discover the real Hoorn. If you don’t have a guide, you can walk by the many small courts. Starting point of this discovery trip is the central square “de Rode Steen” (The red stone) Jan Pieterszoon Coen marks this beautiful square with a statue you cannot miss. Coen was a pioneer in the 17th century who sailed in the direction “East” and made trade with the local population which was not completely undisputed. Further on, during the walk, you will get acquainted with other beautiful buildings and a lot of churches to be found in the centre.
Tour with the water taxi
The sight of Hoorn must be seen and admired from the water. With the water taxi you can sail out the harbour for a trip over the IJsselmeer. The IJsselmeer formerly was the Zuiderzee with an open connection with the Noordzee till in 1933 the Afsluitdijk was completed. After the trip over the Ijsselmeer we will navigate with the boat through a number of canals in Hoorn.
Visit to the “Westfries” museum
You may also want to visit the Westfries museum where you will find a lot of things from the period of Far East travels. The VOC was the first “company” in the world which had shares. This first share can be seen in this museum. Also the museum will provide you with a good image how people lived in those days, what were their habits and how people were clothed.
In the so called “open museum” old cottages are collected from several fisher-man villages along the borders of the IJsselmeer. Employees and volunteers exhibit historic crafts from the beginning of the last century. In the inside museum revolving expositions are here and show you the actual settings of the rich collection of the museum.
Make a beautiful city walk through Enkhuizen. The Drommedaris is without a doubt one of the most known buildings of the city. This former town-gate is in the centre of Enkhuizen and is built in 1540. In those days it was a part of the city wall which was around whole Enkhuizen. There are a lot of historic buildings in the centre of Enkhuizen, which reminds us of the rich people in the 17th and 18th century.
Edam, Volendam, Monnickendam and Marken
In a half hour drive is the beautiful little city Edam. World famous because of the round cheeses with a layer of red wax. They are exported all over the world. The next destination could be Volendam. The world famous fisher village at the IJsselmeer. You will get acquainted with the famous folkloric costumes of Volendam. If you want, you have the chance here to make a picture of yourself in the original folkloric costumes.
Further on it is possible to go to Marken by boat or by car. Marken was about 8 centuries an island in the former Zuiderzee, but in 1957 a dike was built to the main land.
Alkmaar, De Rijp and De Beemster
Cheese market and Cheese museum Alkmaar
As of the start of April until the start of September, in the centre of Alkmaar is a traditional way of trading cheese. The cheese will be brought by carriers to De Waag, which is a building with within a big weighing balance machine, where the cheese will be weighed. Original the building of De Waag was a chapel, but was rebuilt in 1592 in De Waag. In this building is also the cheese museum. After
De Rijp; the most beautiful village of Holland
From De Rijp, you can make a tour with a little boat through the nature of Eilandspolder. It will be with a little, electrical boat, which we call “fluisterboot”. This is also possible from the village Driehuizen, which is situated nearby De Rijp.
The Zaanse Schans is the touristic heart of the Zaanstreek (part of Holland where the river Zaan flows). All the buildings here are made of wood. You will find also at the Zaanse Schans the first shop of Albert Heijn from 1887. Albert Heijn is now one of the largest supermarkets in Holland. Beside that there is a bakery museum and a cheese factory. In the Zaans Museum, next to the Zaanse Schans, you can learn more about the history of this region.
At the mustard mill on the Zaanse Schans a tourist motor-boat departs for a trip over the river Zaan. You will sail along the mills of the Zaanse Schans, the wonderful residences of former rich people of the Gortershoek and along a piece of 19th century industrial activity at the banks of the river Zaan.
Tour by boat through the canals
Begin with a tour by boat through the canals. The canals and other waterways of Amsterdam are the soul of the city and all are different. From the Keizersgracht with its overwhelming mansions, to the Brouwersgracht with a lot of renewed warehouses, and the quite Reguliersgracht. You will see the famous Magere Brug, which is a traditional drawbridge. To see Amsterdam from the water is an experience.
Please visit also a quarter of the city west of the canal belt: The Jordaan. It is a quarter full of narrow canals and characteristic little streets. In the former labour houses there are now interesting shops. Here you can buy everything: from handmade clothes till antique and Kitsch. In summer there are a lot of crowded terraces before the pubs. One of the most beautiful canals in de Jordaan is the Egelantiersgracht. New and old buildings are next to another. From the bridges you have a beautiful view over the canal.
Red Light district
If you want you may visit the Amsterdam ‘’Red light district’’. This area also known as “de Walletjes” is a network of narrow alleys with pubs, sexshops- and clubs and barely dressed girls, who try to seduce customers in the light of red neon lamps. By daylight there are so many people in the street that it is almost cosy
The Flower market
Leaving in the south direction of town we will pass the Singel. We will find here a floating flower market, probably the best known of Holland. Already since 1862 you can buy here flowers, flower bulbs and plants on floating flower stands.
Via the Flower market you can walk to the Leidseplein, the most aroused square of Amsterdam. You will find here a lot of horeca and it is also an important junction of trams and a place for finding a taxi. Only a couple of minutes walking from the Leidseplein, we arrive at the Vondelpark. This city public garden of about 45 hectares was set up in 1865 by a couple of prominent people from Amsterdam. It is now the back yard of a lot of Amsterdam people, who do sports there, going out with the dog or being lazy under the big trees. In the summer there are often free concerts
The house of Anne Frank
A must see in Amsterdam is this remarkable historic spot; the house of Anne Frank. The Jewish family Frank moved in 1942 to his house at the Prinsengracht 263, because they have to escape for the Germen. Anne lived here with her father, mother and her sister and 2 other Jewish families. The rooms of the families were hidden behind a movable cabinet. In August 1944 the place was attacked by the Gestapo, German police. The house and the hidden places were discovered and all the Jewish people who lived there were captured and brought to the German concentration camps. Only the father Otto Frank lived and returned. When Anne stayed in this house, she wrote her famous diary.
The Amsterdam Rijksmuseum has the biggest and most beautiful collection of Dutch Art. Beside an enormous collection of painting art from the 17th and 18th century you also find in the museum sculpture, jewellery, glass ornaments, Delft Blue and also furniture from the same period. De Nachtwacht of Rembrandt van Rijn, considered by many as the highlight of 17th century art painting, is to be admired here in all its glory.
Van Gogh museum
The Van Gogh Museum is situated in a building that was designed in 1963 by Gerrit Rietveld. It is on a walking distance of Het Rijksmuseum. You can admire here 200 paintings and 500 drawings.
Hermitage of Amsterdam
The Hermitage is a dependence of the Hermitage in St Petersburg. With various art expositions from the collection in St Petersburg, the museum gives you a remarkable view on the history of different cultures and their assets of art.
It is just about a 30 minutes trip to the Afsluitddijk, which is a 32 kilometres long dike and separates the Waddenzee from the IJsselmeer. The dike was opened for traffic in 1933 and is now one of the most important road connections between the West and the North of Holland. In the middle of the dike you will find a centre of information.
Batavia wharf, Oostvaarderplassen and Elburg
This is a remarkable shipping wharf where ships are built and reconstructed from the Golden Age. On this moment a reconstruction of “de 7 Provincien” is being built. A ship originally from the 17th century Michiel de Ruyter sailed on. You can also visit here the VOC ship “Batavia
Just beside the Batavia wharf is Batavia City. (Batavia Stad). This is a big outlet centre of big clothing factories. It was built in a characteristic and colourful way. Nice to see!
This nature area of about 56 square kilometres is between the cities Almere and Lelystad. Thousands years ago whole of Holland looked like this nature area. The Oostvaardersplassen are the biggest swamp area of Holland. It is an important area for hibernating for several birds and there are also groups of wild horses, wild cattle and deer.
Please also visit Elburg when you are nearby. This is the best kept fortress town on the borders of the former Zuiderzee. If you climb the 38 metres high tower of the 14th century St Nicolaas church, you will clearly see the square pattern of the streets from the middle ages. The old “Visserspoort” is the beautiful entrance to this village.
Day of wind blowing around your head on Texel
Visit the largest island of the 5 Waddeneilanden where people live; Texel. The double deck ferry leaves every hour from Den Helder; 100 kilometres north of Amsterdam. It takes only 20 minutes to go to the island. The bicycles are ready to go, because Texel is best to be discovered by bike. The island has a very mixed landscape. There are wide beaches and dunes but also reclaimed land, fields of grass heath and forest.
For lunch you can go to Den Burg, the major town of Texel. You can also see a nature area; the Slufter. It is a region full of creeks and channels which has an open connection with the Noordzee.
Seals in Ecomare
Also you must visit Ecomare, which is a centre of information on Texel about the “wadden” and the Noordzee. You can find here everything you want to know about the nature on Texel, the “wadden”, and the animals and plants which are present on Texel. Since 2014 there is also an exposition about stuffed sperm whales which were washed ashore in Holland. Very interesting!
Texel beer brewery
If you want you can visit the Texel brewery. You will have a guided tour to know everything about the brewery process of the special beers (You must be older than 18 years). The beer brewery is still very traditional!