Purmerend is a town in the Waterland and Zaan Region in the province North Holland, Netherlands. It is a commuter town of Amsterdam, and has little to offer to tourists. However, it is a convenient starting point to explore the region.
Until the late 1960s Purmerend was a small town, located inbetween the Purmer, Wormer and Beemster polders. It was first mentioned around 1340, and became a chartered town in 1434. It was a bustling merchant and industrial town in the 16th - 18th century, with an important regional market, especially for cattle. The reclamation of the polders in the 17th century only increased its importance.
In the 1960s Purmerend became one of the 'boomtowns' around Amsterdam. At the time, it was thought that workers would be better off living outside town, and large, new urbanisations were built in the polders surrounding Purmerend, increasing the number of inhabitants from 10,000 to almost 80,000 today. The result is a typical modern and somewhat sleepy Dutch suburban city, with the old town centre almost looking like it shouldn't belong there.
Purmerend is on the A7 trunk road from Amsterdam to the north, travel time approx. 25 minutes. Parking in the centre of town is paid.
Purmerend is easily reached by train from Amsterdam, change trains at Amsterdam Sloterdijk railway station (travel time approx. 30 minutes).
Buses 301, 306 and 308 (R-Net) all pass through Purmerend (travel time approx. 30 minutes).
Cycling is equally possible (distance from Amsterdam approx. 20 km, or 1h15 min).
The old town centre still has maintained some of its original charm. A walking route along the town's historical buildings can be downloaded here. An interactive walk can be uploaded to your smartphone from this website (in Dutch only).
Purmerend has a large number of eating places in many different styles to cater for its inhabitants.
For going out, the Koemarkt is the place to be. The former cattle market was redesigned in 2009, featuring a prominent bovine sculpture, and has plenty of pubs surrounding the square.
When you are travelling by public transport, Purmerend is a convenient starting point to explore the region. Destinations close by include