Waterland consists of the villages of Monnickendam, Marken, Broek in Waterland, Ilpendam, Katwoude, Overleek, Purmer, Zuiderwoude. As you might expect from the name, nearly half of the entire surface area of Waterland consists of water [about 5000 hectares]. This means anybody who loves water has plenty of things to do. How about sailing on the Markermeer or IJsselmeer lakes or having a drink at one of the outdoor cafe’s? If you would like to explore Waterland by boat, consider hiring a whispering boat, motorboat, rowing boat, yacht or canoe.
If you prefer to be next to water than actually on it, then Waterland is also a fantastic area for walking and cycling. The landscape consists of open grass polders, peat rivers and villages dotted with colourful wooden houses and traditional Dutch farmhouses built in the shape of pyramids. The old heart of the village of Broek consists of splendid wooden houses, built in the 17th and 18th century by wealthy merchants and farmers. There are also plenty of well-maintained monuments that adorn the old cityscapes and village views.
If walking and cycling sound a little too active, how about whizzing about on a scooter? The Dutch Villages Tour is a scooter tour, which starts in Landsmeer, 10 kilometer above Amsterdam City Center. Armed with a map, there are several stops planned along the way. The length of the scooter tour is approximately 70 kilometers and takes about five hours. Bike paths snake through villages like Monnickendam, Marken, Edam and Volendam.
Only 20 minutes from Amsterdam, but a world away, is the splendid former isle of Marken. Connected with the mainland in 1957, the preserved village has been nominated by UNESCO for its old harbour, narrow streets, small bridges and colourful traditional costumes.
Marken is a very good place to visit on Queen’s Day – when the villagers dress up in traditional costumes and the streets are decorated in royal orange.