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Hoorn [16] is a town in the Kop van Noord-Holland in the Dutch province of North-Holland. It is one of the largest harbours on the IJsselmeer, and it is the largest town and unofficial capital of the region of West-Friesland. Hoorn has an attractive city centre with many historic buildings dating from the 17th century, and it is a major centre for watersports on the IJsselmeer.



Hoorn was probably founded around the year 1200, and quickly gained in importance as a harbour town in the 14th century, developing trade links with the Baltic and Flanders. In 1356 Hoorn became a chartered city, and continued to prosper. It became one the most important and wealthiest towns on the Zuiderzee, and it was even competing with Amsterdam. Hoorn's importance was emphasized in the 17th century as the one of the six cities with a chamber of the Dutch East-Indies Company VOC. The town boasted numerous warehouses and shipyards, and ships from Hoorn sailed all around the world - Cape Horn was named after the town when two ships from Hoorn were the first to sail around the southernmost tip of South America in 1616.

In the 18th century, the economy of the Dutch Republic gradually declined, and Hoorn lost its international position. Trade from then on focused on agricultural products and cattle.

Since the 1960s, when it was designated as a suburban development area, Hoorn became more and more of a commuter town of Amsterdam. This has gone at the expense of building extensive and rather boring suburbs. The city centre however has largely escaped restructuring, and is very well preserved. Today, Hoorn has some 70,000 inhabitants and remains an important regional centre.

  • VVV tourist information office Hoorn, Roode Steen 1, +31 6 33 33 04 20 (), [1]. Tu-Sa 11AM-5PM, Mo 1-5PM, Su closed.  edit

The region of West-Friesland[edit]

Hoorn is the largest town in the region of West-Friesland, an area that retains a number of distinctive characteristics. As its name betrays, it has historical links with the province of Friesland on the eastern shore of the IJsselmeer. Its dialect is also closely related to the Frisian language. The region is geographically defined by its enclosure dike, the Westfriese Omringdijk, and covers an area of approximately 780km². It is a predominantly agricultural region, with characteristic bell-shaped farmhouses and typical linear villages. Apart from Hoorn, there are two more towns in the region, Enkhuizen and Medemblik - the latter has remained very small. West-Friesland is one of the areas in the predominantly protestant north of the Netherlands where the Roman Catholic faith remained the most popular religion.

A typical custom of the region is luilak (although this is celebrated in other regions of North-Holland as well). On the Saturday before Pentecost, youngsters will make lots of noise in the early morning to wake up the population.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

The A7 trunk road passes west of Hoorn and connects to Amsterdam in the south and to the province of Friesland in the north. From Amsterdam, take the A10 ring road, take the A8 in the direction of Zaandam, and then the A7 to Hoorn. Take exit 8 to reach town centre (travel time approx. 35 minutes). Hoorn's town centre is partly pedestrianised, and parking is paid, with different rates applied in different areas. More information on parking options can be found on the website of the municipality (in Dutch only).

By train[edit]

Hoorn is easily reached by train from Amsterdam, and has direct train connections to Enkhuizen, Alkmaar, Haarlem, Schiphol Airport Deventer and Amersfoort. Please be aware that Hoorn has two train stations: the Hoorn Kersenboogerd station is out of town centre. For more information on timetables and tickets, see the website of NS. Travel time from Amsterdam Central Station is approx. 30 minutes. Single fare €8,20 with OV-chipkaart.

By bus[edit]

Bus 314 (operated by EBS) connects Amsterdam to Hoorn via Edam. It is however much slower than taking the train (approx. 1 hour travel time). Single fare €6.99 with OV-chipkaart.

By bike[edit]

For experienced bikers, a day trip from Amsterdam to Hoorn can be a very nice experience, especially when taking the route along the IJsselmeer. Total distance is approx. 45 km (2h15 min).

By boat[edit]

Of course, since Hoorn is a harbour town, you can also go by boat.

See[edit][add listing]


Hoorn's compact historical centre is designated a Protected Cityscape, with many buildings dating from the 16th and 17th century, including 383 National Monuments. Especially noteworthy are the charming gable stones; after Amsterdam and Maastricht, Hoorn has the largest number of them in the Netherlands.

Monumental buildings[edit]

  • Hoofdtoren (Main Tower), Hoofd 2. This tower, dating from 1532, is a conspicuous landmark on the harbour, and one of the few remnants of the town's fortifications. Currently, it houses a restaurant. Next to the tower, on the waterfront, is a bronze sculpture dedicated to the fictional characters of the novel 'De Scheepsjongens van Bontekoe' (Bontekoe's shipmates), a romanticised tale of a 17th century voyage to the East Indies, based on the original diary of Captain Bontekoe. The book, written in 1924 by Johan Fabricius, quickly became a popular story, and was even turned into a movie in 2007.  edit
Bontekoe's shipmates
  • Oosterpoort (East Gate), Kleine Oost 41. The only remaining city gate of Hoorn, built in 1578 in rich manierist style.  edit
  • Statenlogement (former Town Hall), Nieuwstraat 23. Originally built in 1613 as a hotel ('logement'), to lodge the participants of the sessions of the council of Westfriesland. From 1796 until 1977 it served as Hoorn's town hall. It is still owned by the town council, and is now used for official receptions.  edit


  • Oosterkerk (East Church), Grote Oost 58, +31 6 53 13 32 71, [2]. By appointment only. This church, originally dedicated to Saint Anthony, was built in 1519 as a church for fishermen and sailors. Today, it serves as the church of the Dutch Reformed Church, and is also used for cultural activities.  edit


  • Westfries Museum, Roode Steen 1, +31 229 280 022, [3]. Mo-Fr 11AM-5PM, Sa-Su 1-5PM. This museum is housed in one of the most beautiful buildings of Hoorn, the former Statencollege (built in 1632), where the council of Westfriesland resided. The museum has a good collection of 16th-18th century paintings, silverware and porcelain, and focusses on the naval history of Hoorn and Westfriesland. Adults €8, over 65 €6.50, under 18 free.  edit
  • Museum ship ''De Halve Maen'', Schuijteskade 22, +31 229 280 022, [4]. Closed in Winter. Replica of a Dutch Eastindiaman. Part of the museum harbour maintained by Centrum Varend Erfgoed (Centre for Nautical Heritage; website in Dutch only). Adults €8.50, under 16 €6.  edit
  • Museum of the 20th Century (Museum van de 20e eeuw), Krententuin 24, +31 229 214 001, [5]. Mo-Fr 10AM-5PM, Sa-Su 12AM-5PM. This museum has a fine collection of all kinds of items from the 20th century, that will evoke nostalgia with visitors of all ages. It is housed in the former jailhouse of Hoorn. Adults €8, children age 4-16 €3.50, under 4 free.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Cheese market, Roode Steen, [6]. In the tourist season, the market is held on Thursdays from 12:30AM-1:30PM and from 8-9PM. The Hoorn cheese market is less well known than those of Alkmaar and Edam, but it is a very similar event.  edit
  • City tour, +31 6 12 77 56 98 (10AM-5PM), [7]. A 60 minute guided tour by electric minibus through the historic town center. Passengers can hop on and off where they want. Frequencies are variable, it is advised to call ahead. €6.  edit
  • Self-guided city walks, [8]. Vereniging Oud Hoorn suggests a number of city walks on their website (in Dutch only).  edit
  • Watertaxi Hoorn, Oostereiland 21, +31 6 46 37 40 59, [9]. By reservation only. Taking the water taxi is a nice way to explore the city from the water. Various options are available for groups of 2-24 people, including a guided harbour cruise. €2.50 p/p with a mininum of €10; guided tour €12.50 p/p.  edit
  • De Waterhoorn (swimming pool), Holenweg 14e, +31 229 217 770, [10]. Mo-Fr 10AM-10PM, Sa 10AM-5PM Su 1-5PM. With a 72 m long slide and a wildwater-section, the swimming pool is going to be a favourite with the kids. Adults €5.50, ages 4-12 and over 65 €4.85, under 4 €2.80.  edit

Outside town[edit]

  • Historische Driehoek (Historic Triangle), Van Dedemstraat 8, +31 229 255 255 (), [11]. A historical steam tram service dating from 1887 is maintained between Hoorn and Medemblik. You can extend this journey by taking a ferry over the IJsselmeer to Enkhuizen. 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, [12]. 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

Buy[edit][add listing]

Hoorn has a weekly street market in the city centre on Saturdays from 8AM - 5PM, with both food and non-food stalls. Every last Sunday of the month most shops are open from 12AM - 5PM as well. Sometimes this coincides with special events and street markets.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Hoorn has over 70 eating places in all styles and for all budgets.

  • De Hoornse Kogge, West 27, +31 229 210 574, [13]. Th-Su 5-10:30PM, Mo-We closed. French-international cuisine, well-reviewed. Menu €35.  edit
  • Loft der Zotheid, Nieuwe Noord 12-14, +31 229 267 191, [14]. We-Sa 9AM-12PM, Su 11AM-12PM, Mo closed. Informal eetcafé with a seventies interior, where you can go for late lunch and dinner. Limited choice of daily specials. Also take-away. Next door, cultural centre De Zwarte Olifant offers exhibitions, films, theatre and musical performances - the website with events is a little bit chaotic however. Menu €22.50.  edit
  • De Hoofdtoren, Hoofd 2, +31 229 215 487, [15]. Daily 12AM-1AM. The setting is wonderful, dining in the Main Tower with a view of the harbour. The food gets mixed reviews however. Menu €33.50.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

Nearby destinations include:

Routes through Hoorn
AmsterdamBeemster  S noframe N  MedemblikGroningen

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