Monnickendam (sometimes spelled Monnikendam in English) is a small town in the Waterland and Zaan Region in the province of North Holland, Netherlands. It is a typical IJsselmeer harbour town, with a well-preserved and attractive historical centre, attracting mainly day trippers from Amsterdam. It is not so well known to foreign tourists, who tend to head straight for Volendam, Edam or Marken. However, Monnickendam is nice enough to warrant a visit, and it is an ideal base to explore the Waterland and Zaan Region.
Like many other towns in the region, the history of Monnickendam goes back to the Middle Ages. It originated as an outpost of the monastery of Marken in 1235. The monks (Dutch: monniken) probably gave the town its name. It became a chartered town in 1355, and from the 16th century onwards it was home to a number of local industries, like cheese factories, smokehouses for herring, and shipyards. Due to its position on the Purmer Ee river mouth, it was an important port of access for the towns of Purmerend and Alkmaar, since larger seafaring vessels could be harboured in Monnickendam. Because of this, the town developed important trade connections with the Baltic region, and had substantial political influence in the newly created Republic of the Netherlands. Many of the surviving historic buildings in Monnickendam have their origin in this prosperous era, which lasted until around 1630, when the town had 4,200 inhabitants. Because of the strong competition with Amsterdam, Monnickendam lost much of its importance in the later 17th and 18th century. Fishery and cattle and dairy farming became the main sources of income.
Today, Monnickendam has about 10,000 inhabitants and is the main town of the municipality of Waterland, which also includes Marken and Broek in Waterland.
- VVV tourist information office, Zuideinde 2, ☎ +31 299 820 046, . Daily in summer, 10AM - 5PM. Limited opening hours in winter. The tourist information office is the main one in the Waterland municipality and has a good selection of maps, information listings and even some souvenirs. They can also assist in finding accommodation, bike rentals etc. edit
Coming from Amsterdam, take the N247 to the north from the A10 ring road (exit 16). It will take you straight to Monnickendam (travel time approx. 20 minutes), passing through Broek in Waterland.
Coming from the direction of Hoorn, follow the A7 trunk road to the south and take the N244 to Volendam. At Edam take the N247 to the south (travelling time approx. 30 minutes).
Monnickendam has a number of direct bus connections to Amsterdam and many other destinations in the area. Lines 315 and 311, departing from Amsterdam Central Station, will bring you straight into town. Lines 312, 314, 316 and 110 will halt at stop Bernardbrug. From there it is an easy walk to the centre of town (travel time approx. 25 minutes).
From Purmerend railway station, you can take bus 301 or 314 (travel time approx. 35 minutes). See the website of 9292 for more information on connections and schedules.
Cycling to Monnickendam from Amsterdam Central Station via the N247 and Broek in Waterland is a distance of 16 km, or about one hour. However, it is more attractive to cycle through the villages of Ransdorp and Zuiderwoude instead (20 kms).
Monnickendam has two marinas with berthing space for passing boat traffic:
- Jachthaven Hemmeland, Hemmeland 1, ☎ +31 299 655 555 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Daily 9-12:30AM and 1:30-5PM. Sanitary facilities, electricity and WiFi available. €1.50 per meter + €1.35 tourist tax per person per day. edit
- Marina Monnickendam, Jachthaven 1, ☎ +31 299 652 595 (email@example.com, fax: +31 299 651 059), . June - Sep daily 9AM - 7PM; Apr - May and Oct 9AM - 6PM; Nov - Mar 9AM - 5PM. This marina has 80 berths for passing traffic, with sanitary facilities. edit
The town is small enough to be easily explored on foot, but going by bike is a good alternative.
The town centre of Monnickendam is designated a Protected Cityscape, and 74 buildings from the 16th, 17th and 18th century are listed as National Monuments.
- Grote of Sint Nicolaas Kerk (Great or St. Nicholas Church), Zarken 2, ☎ +31 6 41 30 23 14, . 26 May - 30 Sep: Tu-Sa 11AM-4PM, Su 1PM-4PM. The building of this large three-aisled church was started at the end of the 14th century, only to be finished in 1644. Like many other churches in the region, it was dedicated to Saint Nicholas, patron saint of sailors. It is a fine Gothic church in brick, that has been a protestant church since the Reformation. edit
- De Speeltoren (Bell tower), Noordeinde 2-4, ☎ +31 299 652 203 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Tu-Su 11PM-5PM, Mo closed. The elegant bell tower of Monnickendam is part of the city hall and dates from the 16th century. It contains the oldest playable carillon in the world, dating from 1596. Inside is the municipal museum, with exhibitions on the history and cultural heritage of Monnickendam and Waterland. Adults €4.50, 12-18 €3, 4-12 €2, under 4 free. edit
Weigh House and Bell Tower
- Guided city walk, collection point at the Speeltoren, Noordeinde 4, ☎ +31 299 653 904 (email@example.com), . May-Sep Fr 7:30 PM. In Summer a free 90-minute guided city walk is organized every Friday. If you are in a group of 6 people of more, you can have your own guided tour for a fee of €3 per person in English, German, French or Italian. edit
Waterland is a biker's paradise. The system of Fietsknooppunten (Biking nodes) allows for easy navigation, with numbered markers directing you from node to node.
- Rondom Watergang route, . A 35km route starting in Amsterdam-Noord and passing the Twiske recreational area, the Ilperveld nature reserve, Monnickendam and Broek in Waterland. edit
- Aaën en Dieën route, . A signposted 34km route starting in Broek in Waterland. This route will not pass through Monnickendam, so you will first have to cycle a few kms to pick it up. edit
- Gouwzeeroute, . A 48km route starting in Purmerend and passing through Volendam, Marken and Monnickendam. edit
The abundance of water in the region make boat trips a lovely activity too. They will not help you to get around Monnickendam itself so much, but from the town's harbour plenty of boat options are available for a trip through Waterland or on the IJsselmeer. If your budget allows, a traditional sailing boat is nice, but smaller electric boats are available too. Rental agencies are plentiful and the local tourist information office can he helpful in choosing the one best fitting your wishes.
- Zuiderzee Zeiltochten, 't Prooyen 6, ☎ +31 6 53 67 65 49 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Fully catered group sailing trips on the IJsselmeer on a traditional Dutch sailing ship, dating from 1905. If you are not in a large group, a few times a year there will be sailing trips for smaller groups on selected dates (€35 for 4 hours, check for availability). From €55 per person for a 4-hour sailing trip, including lunch; group size 20-34 persons. edit
- Waterland Yacht Charter, Galgeriet 5a, ☎ +31 299 652 000 (email@example.com), . Sailing boat rental for trips on the IJsselmeer or even beyond. From €135 per day. edit
- Four Seasons, Haringburgwal 3, ☎ +31 299 655 584 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Right in the centre of town, this place serves modern Asian cuisine, with a touch of fusion cooking. Specialized in oysters, lobster and sushi. Mains from €12.50, menu from €34.50. edit
- Naangnuan, Havenstraat 7, ☎ +31 299 655 415 (email@example.com), . Tu-Su 5-11PM, Mo closed. Thai restaurant serving 'Thaipas' (finger food) as well as mains. Also takeaway. 'Thai tapas' €17.95 (€22.50 in the weekend). edit
- De Waegh, Middendam 5/7, ☎ +31 299 651 241, . Mo closed. French/Mediterranean restaurant, superbly located in the old Weigh House (dating from 1688). In summer, it has a lovely terrace on the waterfront. Mains from €18.50, menu €32.50. edit
- Suitehotel Posthoorn, Noordeinde 43, ☎ +31 299 654 598, . Wonderfully located hotel with an excellent, 1 Michelin star restaurant. Even Napoleon Bonaparte stayed here. Rooms are very comfortable and decorated with 18th-century art. From €155 for a double room. edit
- B&B Flower Garden, Margrietstraat 29, ☎ +31 299 651 170, . Pleasant B&B with two double and one single rooms and shared bathroom. From €45 per night per person. edit
- B&B De Monnick, Noordeinde 8, ☎ +31 6 13 34 58 85, . Small house in the centre of town with one double room. From €70 per night per person. edit
- Overleekerhoeve, Overleek 25A, ☎ +31 20 436 13 87, . Here you can stay on a traditional Waterland farm, on the edge of the Varkensland nature reserve. The Overleekerhoeve is located 5km from town centre, and has no public transport connection. They also offer group accomodation. From €77.50 per night for a 2-person room. edit
- Camping Hemmeland, Hemmeland 1, ☎ +31 299 655 555, . This Natural Campsite is part of the recreational area and marina of Hemmeland, just outside town on the waterfront. No cars are allowed on the campsite. Membership of the Stichting Natuurkampeerterreinen is required (€14.95) €4.75 per person per night + €3.25 per tent. edit
- Camping Katwoude, Lagedijk 16, Katwoude (Take the N247 in the direction of Edam, and turn left at the Lagedijk), ☎ +31 6 12 75 20 64, . 25 camping places on a farm just outside Monnickendam. €16 for two persons. edit
- Post office, Graaf Willemlaan 24 (inside Deen supermarket). Mo-Fr 9AM-5PM; Sa 9-12AM; Su closed. The postal service point in the Deen supermarket offers all standard postal services. edit
Nearby destinations include:
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