Marken is a village in the Waterland and Zaan Region, North Holland, Netherlands on a peninsula in the IJsselmeer lake. It is known for its characteristic wooden houses and traditional costumes. It used to be an island in the former Zuiderzee, but is now connected to the mainland by a causeway.
This picturesque little village was originally situated on an island. Floods were regular and often disastrous. To protect their belongings and themselves from the water, the inhabitants created artificial dwelling hills on which they build their houses. As fishery became the main economic activity, the population grew rapidly. When the Afsluitdijk was finished in 1932 and the IJsselmeer lake created, access to the sea was blocked and fishery activities almost came to an end. When a dike between Marken and the mainland was built in 1957, Marken ceased to be an island. Nevertheless, the village still has the look and feel of a fishermen's town and an island. For over a century, it has drawn in visitors who wanted to have a glance at its traditional costumes and picturesque houses.
If you're coming from Amsterdam, take the A10 trunk road and then follow the N47 to Monnickendam and from there the N518 to Marken. You cannot park your car inside the village. The supervised car park at the entrance to the village costs 4 EUR per day plus 0.50 EUR extra per additional passenger (as of 2014). Alternatively, you can leave your car on the causeway leading up to the village for free.
The Marken Cycle Route (51 or 45 km) takes you from the back of Amsterdam Central Station to Marken and back.
In the tourist season (mid March - end of October), there is also a ferry connection from and to Volendam, which leaves once every 30 to 45 minutes.. One-way ticket 7.95 EUR, return ticket 9.95 EUR.
You can also take your own boat to Marken. The village has a small marina providing water, electricity and toilets, with a capacity of 33 boats.
Marken is a village and you can easily get around on foot. Alternatively, you can rent a bike via:
Volendam and Monnickendam have a larger number of bike rental options, and are at comfortable biking distances from the peninsula.
Marken's main attractions are its lovely old wooden houses, and the traditional atmosphere and folkloristic elements.Traditional costumes are now rarely worn, and mainly to please the tourists, but they are still worth seeing. Most of the village is designated a Protected Cityscape, and many of its wooden houses are listed as National Monuments. Some houses are placed on wooden poles, to protect them from the water. The main sights include:
Visiting Marken is also a good opportunity to visit the fishermen's harbour of Volendam. This can be done by taking a ferry from the harbour of Marken.
Marken has been a popular tourist destination for decades and souvenirs can be found all around. You will find a good range at the Sijtje Boes house, which is the oldest souvenir shop in town. Marker Folklorestoffen (Buurt II 5) sells the typical fabrics that the traditional Marken costumes are made of. On Rietland 4 you will find a shop that sells the actual costumes.
Marken has a few restaurants. As Marken is originally a fishermen's town, typical Dutch sea food can be sampled there. However, don't expect any culinary highlights - Marken is mainly visited by day trippers, with the accompanying level of service.
Hotel Hof van Marken also has a restaurant.
Accommodation is limited on the peninsula, and most people stay in Amsterdam, Volendam or Monnickendam. There is a hotel though, and it gets good reviews.
Amsterdam city centre is about a 30 minute drive away. Nearby villages include: