Broek in Waterland is a village in the Waterland and Zaan Region, in the Dutch province North Holland. It is known for its lovely, typical old-Dutch atmosphere and wooden houses painted in soft colours.
Broek in Waterland was first mentioned in the second half of the 13th century. From the 16th century onwards, the village became involved in herring fishery and maritime trade. For that reason its church is dedicated to St. Nicholas, the patron saint of seafarers. In the 17th century, the fishery was replaced by animal husbandry and dairy farming, and many houses were extended with an adjoining stable on the back side. The dairy products were transported to Amsterdam by boat. The harbour thus remained vital for the village, and is still characteristic of Broek in Waterland. In the 17th and 18th century, it was a very wealthy place where many impressive houses were built for local families, but also for rich merchants from Amsterdam.
The picturesque nature of the village was known even outside the Netherlands from the 17th century onwards, and it was praised for its cleanliness. Consequently, the town was a popular destination for visitors from nearby Amsterdam, but it received foreign guests as well. The French emperor Napoleon famously came to visit it in 1811 - it is claimed that he burnt his fingers while lifting the lid of a pan in the mayor's kitchen. In 1781, Joseph II, the Holy Roman Emperor, also visited the village but was refused to enter a farm, allegedly because the lady of the house had no time for him.
Coming from Amsterdam, take the A10 ring road, get off at exit Volendam, and follow the N247 (approx. 15 min driving). Coming from the north, take the A7 and get off at Purmerend-Zuid (exit 4). From there, take the N235 until you reach the N247.
By public transport
Buses 312, 314, 315 and 316 (R-Net) depart from Amsterdam Central Station and all pass through Broek in Waterland (travel time approx. 15 min). Coming from Purmerend, buses 105 and 301 will get you there in about 25 minutes.
Broek in Waterland is about 45 minutes from Amsterdam city centre by bike.
The village itself is small and best explored on foot. A bike tour is a good way to explore both the town and its immediate surroundings.
- W. van der Starre bike shop, Laan 44, ☎ +31 20 403 14 62. Bike rental. edit
House in Broek in Waterland
Just wandering around the village will reveal most of its charm to any traveller. The village is designated a Protected Cityscape and more than 80 of its traditional houses are listed as National Monuments, although most are still in use as residences.
- Sint-Nicolaaskerk (Saint Nicholas church), Kerkplein 13, . May-Sep Su-Mo 1-4PM, Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM. Closed in Winter. The originally 14-th century church was rebuilt in 1628, after Spanish troops burnt the village in 1573. Thorough renovations in 1989 revealed long-lost frescoes of cherubs and fruit garlands on the ceiling. The church doubles as a modern art gallery. edit
- Het Beroemde Huis (The Famous House), De Erven 10-14, ☎ +31 6 24 68 75 55 ([email protected]), . Guided tours for groups only, check ahead if there are any planned that you might be able to join. This place has beautiful 17th-century wall paintings, which for many years were hidden under layers of paint. edit
The large majority of visitors come here just to enjoy the looks and feel of this cosy village. It is easily explored in an hour or so. If you feel like staying longer, consider walking, cycling or boating in the pretty surrounding countryside.
- Walk around town. You can buy a booklet describing a 45-minute walk around town in the church. edit
- Guided walking tour of Broek in Waterland, ☎ +31 20 403 11 18. Guided tours for groups of max. 20 people are organized on request by the Vereniging Oud Broek in Waterland (duration approx. 90 minutes, including visit to the church). €60 group fee. 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. edit
- Gouwzeeroute, . A 48km route starting in Purmerend and passing through Volendam, Marken and Monnickendam. This route will not pass through Broek in Waterland, so you will first have to cycle a few kms to pick it up. edit
Kayak, canoe and electric boat rental
- Kano- en Fluisterbootverhuur Waterland, Drs. J. van Disweg 4, ☎ +31 20 403 32 09 ([email protected]), . Apr - Oct 9AM-5PM (for kayak rental); Mo-Fr 10AM-5PM and Sa-Su 10AM-6PM for electric boat rental. Closed in Winter. Routes are available online or can be bought on the spot. From €10 per day for a kayak to €17.50 p/h or €90 per day for a small electric boat. Cash only!. edit
- Theetuin Overleek, Overleek 6, 1141 PH Monnickendam, ☎ +31 299 752 735 ([email protected]), . Jul-Aug daily 10AM-5PM; May, Jun, Sep We-Su 10AM-5PM; Oct-Apr Sa-Su 10AM-5PM. Teahouse halfway between Broek in Waterland and Monnickendam with boat rental facilities. From €10 per day for a kayak to €17.50 p/h or €75 per day for a small electric boat.. edit
- Café Lunchroom Broeck, Laan 46, ☎ +31 20 403 17 40. A good place for lunch or even late breakfast. You'll find a range of baguettes, the traditional Dutch uitsmijter (fried eggs on bread with cheese and ham), tosti (croque-monsieur) and some sweet pastries. Sandwiches from €3. edit
- Eetcafé De Drie Noten, Parallelweg 3, ☎ +31 20 403 12 95 ([email protected]), . Th-Tu 5PM-late, We closed. A small bistro-style place with a limited menu and simple but tasty dishes for a good price. Mains €11-18. edit
- De Witte Swaen, Dorpsstraat 11-13, ☎ +31 20 403 15 25, . Daily 12AM-9PM. Pannenkoekenhuis (pancake restaurant) with some 60 different sweet and savory pancakes and the typical Dutch poffertjes (thick mini-pancakes). However, if you'd rather eat something else, they serve salads, fish and meat dishes as well. Pancakes €4.50-9, mains around €15. edit
- Theetuin & Theeschenkerij 't Einde, Zuiderwouderdorpsstraat 78, 1153 PG Zuiderwoude, ☎ +31 20 403 11 11, . Closed in winter. Teahouse and garden, a nice place for lunch or for tea with sweet pastries, good place to stop when cycling. Sandwiches from €6.50. edit
There are only a few lodging options in town:
- Bed & Breakfast De Schaapskooi, Molengouw 34, ☎ +31 20 403 83 17, . B&B with 3 clean rooms, private bathrooms and a nice view, wifi available. Only opened from mid March until end October. From €100 for a double, including breakfast served in room. edit
- B&B Mentink, Keerngouw 4-6, ☎ +31 20 403 16 78 ([email protected]), . B&B with 2 double rooms and one 4-person room. From €65 for a double, breakfast included. edit
- Camping de Leek, Overlekergouw 8, ☎ +31 6 48 28 78 95 ([email protected]), . checkin: Before 10PM. A short bike ride out of town, this camping is a good place for nature lovers. You will find no electricity, shop or luxury facilities here. Caravans and mobile homes not allowed. Opened from March until the end of September. From €4 for a small tent and €4.50 per adult per day. Cash only!. edit
- Postal services, Havenrak 33. Tu 8-12.30AM, Mo, We-Fr: 8.30-12.30AM and 1.30-6PM, Sa 8AM-4PM. Inside the Spar supermarket you will find a postal service point where you can buy stamps. For more complex services, you'll have to go to a larger destination in the area, e.g. Amsterdam or Volendam. edit
Historically, Broek in Waterland also included the picturesque villages of Zuiderwoude and Uitdam that are nice to visit when you're cycling around the area.
Nearby destinations include:
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