Waterland is the region to the north of Amsterdam. It is a low-lying peatland area with many canals and lakes. This part of the country is perfect for both short walks and longer hikes, cycle trips and, of course, exploring by water in a canoe or electroboat.
Waterland consists of the following villages, towns and historic conservation areas:
Monnickendam is part of the district of Waterland and has a population of about 10,000. In 1355 Monnickendam was granted a town charter by William V, Count of Holland. After that the town flourished and its beautiful historic buildings are evidence of that period. The centre of Monnickendam is a designated conservation area.
When Edam’s new harbour was built, a village was established at the site of the original harbour: Follendam (meaning ‘filled dam’). It housed former dock workers, farmers and fishermen. Today, Volendam’s traditional dress is world famous and each year over 2 million people come to visit.
Marken was once an island in the former Zuider Zee, but since 1957 it has been joined to the mainland by a dyke. The former fishing village has always been popular with tourists who come to see the villagers in their traditional costume. Marken has wooden houses built on piles and an area known as the Werven - raised pieces of land on which houses were built to protect them against flooding. This part of Marken is a conservation area.
Edam became a trading town after a channel of the Zuider Zee was closed off in 1230 and at the dam in the river IJe (also called the river E, as in Edam) goods had to be transferred to other vessels and toll could be charged. The town’s decorative listed buildings are a legacy from its ‘golden age’. Edam is now famous for it's world wide known cheese. Edam’s town centre is a conservation area.
Broek in Waterland
Broek (meaning low-lying marsh forest) in Waterland is a village just to the north of Amsterdam which has been designated a conservation area. The village has been known for its beauty since the 18th century. As the ground in this area was soft, the villagers built their houses from wood. Many of them were painted in pastel colours.
Landelijk Noord is a rural area belonging to the north of Amsterdam. It is a very pretty part of Waterland with three historic conservation areas: the villages of Durgerdam, Holysloot and Ransdorp.
Since 2010, the 17th century canals of Amsterdam have been on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This is a city where you’re not likely to get bored. You can admire the many different facades and gables of the canal houses from a boat, wander around the red light district, visit a world famous attraction like the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum or Anne Frank House, shop in the quirky ‘9 streets’. Or relax with a drink at one of the many outdoor cafes.