Enkhuizen  is a historic town in the Kop van Noord-Holland region, province of North Holland, the Netherlands. It is a popular tourist destination for Dutch holidaymakers, who come here mainly for water sports and the open air Zuiderzee Museum. Enkhuizen has a picturesque historic centre and is certainly worth a little detour when you're in the area.
View of the Enkhuizen water front
Enkhuizen was formerly know as the Herring City because of its long association with the herring fishery. The town originated in the Late Middle Ages and received its city charter in 1356. Enkhuizen quickly became an important harbour on the former Zuiderzee, and its fortifications were built in the 16th century. As one of the first cities to join the Dutch Rebellion in 1572, it grew in wealth and importance in the 17th century. It was one of the Dutch cities with a chamber in the Dutch East India company VOC, and its herring fleet was the largest in the Netherlands. At the time, the city had some 25,000 inhabitants (currently approx. 18,000). Like so many other Dutch cities however, it declined drastically in the 18th and early 19th century, leaving only 5,400 people in 1850. Because of its eccentric position on the east coast of West-Friesland, these days it has given precedence to nearby Hoorn, leaving it a relatively small and quiet, pleasant town.
- VVV tourist information office Enkhuizen, Tussen Twee Havens 1, ☎ +31 228 313 164 ([email protected]), . Tu-Sa 10AM-2PM, Su-Mo closed. edit
Coming from the Amsterdam A10 ring road, take the A8 and then the A7 in the direction of Hoorn. Coming from the north (Friesland), the A7 will also bring you to Hoorn. From there, follow the N302 to Enkhuizen (travel time approx. 55 minutes from Amsterdam). Coming from the centre or east of the Netherlands, take the A6 to Lelystad, and from there follow the N302 (Markermeer dike) to the north (travel time approx. 30 minutes from Lelystad).
Parking in the city centre is only allowed with a parking disc (Mo-Sa 10AM-8PM, 3 hr maximum). It is best to use the free car park near the railway station.
Enkhuizen has a direct Intercity connection to Amsterdam (travel time approx. 1 hr, €11,20 with OV-Chipkaart).
It is easy to get to Enkhuizen by bike from Hoorn (distance approx. 20 km or 1h15min). A more attractive option is to follow the Zuiderdijk along the IJsselmeer (27 km or 1h45min).
Of course, Enkhuizen is easily reached by boat as well.
In the Summer season, direct ferry connections run from Enkhuizen to Medemblik, Stavoren and Urk.
- Ferry Enkhuizen-Medemblik, ☎ +31 229 214 862 ([email protected]), . This ferry runs from mid March until end of October, and is often taken in combination with a museum tram ride (see Do section). Tickets can be bought at the tourist information office. Travel time approx. 1h15m. Single ticket €10.30, age 4-11 €7.80. edit
- Ferry Enkhuizen-Stavoren, ☎ +31 228 326 667, . May-Sep daily 8:30AM, 12:30AM and 4:30PM. Travel time approx. 1h20m. Single ticket €11, age 4-11 €7. edit
- Ferry Enkhuizen-Urk, ☎ +31 6 53 60 88 13 ([email protected]), . Jul-Aug daily 11AM and 6PM. Travel time approx. 1h30m. Single ticket €15, age 4-11 €10. edit
- Compagnieshaven, Compagnieshaven 7, ☎ +31 228 313 353 ([email protected]), . Apr-Jun, mid Aug-Sep daily 8AM-5PM; Jul-mid Aug daily 8AM-8PM; Oct daily 9AM-4PM; Nov-Mar Mo-Fr 9AM-2PM. Large marina with 625 berths and all necessary facilities for overnight stay. edit
The town centre is small enough to be explored on foot. A bike is a good alternative.
- Dekker Tweewielers, Nieuwstraat 2-6, ☎ +31 228 312 961 ([email protected]), . Tu-Fr 9AM-6PM; Sa 9AM-5PM; Su-Mo closed. €10 per day; €40 deposit. edit
- Bike Totaal Enkhuizen, Westerstraat 25, ☎ +31 228 325 771 ([email protected]), . Tu-Fr 9AM-6PM; Sa 9AM-5PM; Su-Mo closed. edit
The town harbours are connected to the IJsselmeer. Sailing on a rented vessel is possible.
The Enkhuizen city centre is confined within its well-preserved 16th-century fortifications, with several canals crossing the town. It is a Protected Cityscape with over 360 registered National Monuments.
Enkhuizen's fortifications are largely preserved, even when the city walls themselves were torn down in the 19th century and transformed into a pleasant park. You can easily walk the wall remains and admire the views of the moat, the bulwarks, the remaining Koepoort gate, and the water gates, Boereboom and Oudegouwsboom.
- Drommedaris (Dromedary), Paktuinen 1, . Only open for cultural events, see website for programme and ticketing. The best-known landmark of Enkhuizen is this plump tower, named after its similarity with the one-humped camel. It used to be the South Gate of the city, located on the old harbour. It was built in 1540, and got its current form in the 17th century. It has a carillon of 44 bells dating from 1677. It is now used as a cultural centre, with three stages. edit
- Stadhuis (Town Hall), Breedstraat 53. Not open to visitors. The town hall was built in 1688 and is a fine specimen of Dutch classicism, and is still in use by the municipality of Enkhuizen. Its impressive collection of paintings can be visited online at the website Stadscollectie Enkhuizen edit
- Snouck van Loosenpark. One of the first social housing projects in the Netherlands, opened in 1897, consisting of 50 workers' houses and a warden house. edit
Westerkerk with Librije to the right of the entrance gate
- Westerkerk (Sint Gommaruskerk), Westerstraat 138, ☎ +31 228 317 800 ([email protected]), . Jul-Sep Tu-Sa; Su-Mo closed. One of the most impressive churches in the Netherlands, now in use as a cultural centre. Free entry. edit
- Librije (City library), Westerstraat 138, ☎ +31 6 42 11 44 82 ([email protected]), . Jul-Sep We-Fr 2PM and 3:15 PM (guided tour). The Librije is located in the Westerkerk. It is the only surviving 17th-century city library in the Netherlands, and has a collection of some 500 historic books, including some incunabula. €4. edit
- Zuiderkerk (Sint Pancraskerk), Zuiderkerksteeg 3, ☎ +31 6 22 18 15 28 ([email protected]), . Jul-Sep Tu-Sa 1:30-5PM; Su-Mo closed. Late-Gothic church, built in the 15th century. It has 52-bell carillon dating from the mid-17th century. Free entry. edit
- Zuiderzeemuseum, . Daily 10AM-5PM; outdoor section Apr-Oct 10AM-5PM, closed in Winter. Cultural-historical open air museum, giving an impression of life around the former Zuiderzee in the late 19th and early 20th century. Central to the museum is a reconstructed fishermen's village, with both authentic and replicated buildings from various places around the Zuiderzee, and where demonstrations of old crafts are given. The indoor section includes 13 barges that once sailed the Zuiderzee. Indoor €7, outdoor €2 (4-12 years old €5 and €1). edit
- Sprookjeswonderland (Fairytale Wonderland), Kooizandweg 9, ☎ +31 228 317 853, . Apr-Oct 10AM-5PM, closed in Winter. Sympathetic low-budget family park, best suited for children aged 2 - 7. Various playgrounds, picknick areas, entertainment and attractions around a fairytale theme. Children and adults €9.95 (ages over 65 €8.50, under 2 free). edit
- Flessenscheepjesmuseum (Ships-in-a-bottle museum), Zuiderspui 1, ☎ +31 228 318 583 ([email protected]), . Mid Feb - Mid Nov daily 12AM-5PM; Mid Nov - Mid Feb Sa-Su-Mo 12PM-5PM. Supposedly the largest collection of bottled ships in the world, with over 1,000 specimens. €4 (4-12 years old €2.50, under 4 free). edit
- Enkhuizer Almanak Museum, Havenweg 3a, ☎ +31 228 321 033 ([email protected]), . Jul-Aug daily; Apr-Jun, Sep-Oct Sa-Su; closed in Winter. The Enkhuizer Almanak is the last surviving printed almanac of the Netherlands, a small booklet containing a year calendar with predictions of tides, moon phases, weather and all kinds of interesting facts. It is supposed to have been in print since 1595, and even if there is no evidence supporting this claim, there is no doubt that the 'Enkhuizer' almanac has a very long tradition. Strangely, it was never printed in Enkhuizen - this was just the place that was first mentioned in the tides table. The small museum has an exhibition on the contents and history of the almanac through the ages. Voluntary donation. edit
The four-day Enkhuizen jazz festival is held in the first week of June.
For a listing of upcoming events, see the website of Enkhuizen Boeit
- Historische Driehoek (Historic Triangle), Van Dedemstraat 8, Hoorn, ☎ +31 229 255 255 ([email protected]), . If you take the ferry to Medemblik, you can extend the journey in a historic steam tram service dating from 1887 to Hoorn. From there, you will have to make the return journey by regular train. Services are more frequent during the Summer season, consult the website for schedules. Adults €26, under 12 €19.30. edit
- Enkhuizen Cycle Route, . This cycling route follows the Historic Triangle, and can be combined with the steam tram or boat ride. It is divided into three sections, with a total distance of 73 km. edit
Most shops are found in the Westerstraat and Vijzelstraat. A weekly market is held on Wednesdays from 9AM-4PM in the Westerstraat. Sunday shopping is possible every first Sunday of the month - in Summer, a flea market is held then as well. For more information, see the website of Enkhuizen Boeit.
Enkhuizen has over 30 eating places in all price brackets and styles.
- Pizzeria da Renato, Westerstraat 139, ☎ +31 228 855 885, . Tu-Su 5:30-10:30PM. Generally well-reviewed pizza place. Pizzas €10-€14. edit
- 't Ankertje, Dijk 6, ☎ +31 228 315 767 ([email protected]), . Th 3-12PM; Fr 12AM-1AM; Sa 11AM-1AM; Su 11AM-12PM. Friendly eetcafé (bar doubling as restaurant) with a nautical theme and a large terrace, serving tapas as well as lunch and dinner plates. Mains around €15. edit
Enkhuizen has over 15 different bars within the city center.
- Café De Slof, Westerstraat 28, ☎ +31 228 312 372 ([email protected]), . Su-Thu 4PM-2AM; Fri-Sa 4PM-3AM. Friendly speciaalbiercafé (bar serving craft beer). edit
- Hoorn, the unofficial capital of West-Friesland
- Medemblik, another picturesque gem on the shores of the IJsselmeer