Visiting Enkhuizen during your holiday is discovering historical Dutch heritage. Enkhuizen used to play an important role as a port during the VOC and was known for its herring catch.
Today, Enkhuizen is a starting point for many authentic sailing ships that allow tourists to discover the IJsselmeer and Wadden area. Before or on your return you can enjoy the various restaurants, atmospheric squares and terraces.
Here are some tips:
- The history of Enkhuizen
- The sights
- The fun things to do
- The best events
- The best restaurants
- Sailing from Enkhuizen
Enkhuizen is known as the ‘Haringstad’ (herring town) because of its past as a centre for herring fishing. Anyone who decides to go sailing on the IJsselmeer will most likely end up in Enkhuizen. Home port of many historic sailing ships. This beautiful city with a rich history makes for a special start to your sailing holiday.
The history of Enkhuizen
Enkhuizen began its existence in the Middle Ages as a port and fishing village. On January 27, 1356 to be precise, when Enkhuizen was granted city rights. Traces of settlements dating all the way back to the Bronze Age have been found in the vicinity of Enkhuizen.
In 1572, Enkhuizen was one of the first Dutch towns to align itself with the royal Prince of Holland. As a reward for this, Enkhuizen received the so-called ‘Paalkistrecht’ in 1573.
This means that Enkhuizen became exclusively responsible for the buoyage of the Zuiderzee. In exchange, they were allowed to levy tolls on all ships sailing on the Zuiderzee. Enkhuizen took over this lucrative privilege from Amsterdam, which was still with the Spaniards at the time.
The golden age of Enkhuizen
The 17th century was more or less Enkhuizen’s golden age. The city had the largest herring fleet in the Netherlands. They owned a room of the VOC and the West India Company was also represented in the town.
Due to trade that stretched from the Baltic Sea countries to West Africa and India, Enkhuizen became quite rich. The city had about 25,000 inhabitants, considerably more than the current number.
In 1671, the road between Enkhuizen and Hoorn was completed, improving the connection with the backcountry.
Enkhuizen became the town of sailors
At the end of the 17th century, the decay began. The wars with England took their toll, the harbour mouth of Enkhuizen was silted up and nobody knew how to solve this. More and more trade shifted to Amsterdam, Enkhuizen soon became one of the dormant quiet towns on the Zuiderzee, but remained popular among sailing enthusiasts from Amsterdam, who could afford it.
Train connection Enkhuizen
After the railway line Amsterdam – Zaandam – Enkhuizen and the ferry service to Stavoren was completed in 1885, the city flourished again. However, with the construction of the Afsluitdijk in 1932, herring fishing was lost, although for some time other species could be fished in the then created IJsselmeer. After the Second World War, the population increased again.
But the fishing would never be the same again Although Enkhuizen is still a popular water sports town today. It has one of the world’s largest seed and bulb companies. This has provided employment since the 1930s.
Places to visit in Enkhuizen
Despite the fact that Enkhuizen is a very small town, its past brings with it many sights. You could read about this in the history of Enkhuizen.
The town centre of Enkhuizen
Like Harlingen, the town centre of Enkhuizen is characterised by canals and lies within fortified walls that date from the 17th century and have been well preserved. During a city walk through the historic city centre you will pass several authentic buildings.
The Dromedaris tower
Most eye-catching is ‘the Drommedaris’, this tower was built in the 16th century and you can see it from afar. It was built as a defensive structure at the entrance to the old harbour. It is the southern gateway and is by far the most famous building in the city.
The churches of Enkhuizen
Enkhuizen is also famous for its Hemony carillons, which have been playing automatically over the town every quarter of an hour for many centuries, also from the tower of the Drommedaris.
You will also pass a number of impressive churches, such as the Pancras Church and ‘the Westerkerk’.
The former VOC office ‘Het Peperhuys’
Of course a visit to the Peperhuys, the former warehouse of the VOC, cannot be missed during your walk through Enkhuizen.
Other places worth visiting in Enkhuizen
Other special places in Enkhuizen are to be missed: The town hall, the city prison and the Waag.
Nice things to do in Enkhuizen
Enkhuizen is one of the 10 nicest towns around the IJsselmeer for good reason. There are lots of fun things to do, we’ll list a few for you.
There’s the Zuiderzee Museum, where you can learn all sorts of things about the history and future of the IJsselmeer and everything around it.
The special thing is that the museum has an extensive collection of stories, photographs, art objects and much more both inside and outside.
You can also take a museum boat and go on a trip along the Gependam and take a closer look at all the historical sailing ships.
Bottle ships museum
Just as nautical and definitely worth a visit is the bottle ship museum, situated in the special ‘spider house’. Here you will find more than 1000 fully rigged ships in glass bottles.
Events in Enkhuizen
Not only are there nice things to do, Enkhuizen is also known for the various events that are organised there every year.
Regatta’s in Enkhuizen
Throughout the year, various sailing races are organised around Enkhuizen. The most famous must be ‘the Klipperrace’. Every year this race is sailed in the second weekend of October. The historicflat-bottomed shipsof the Dutch sailing fleet participate in this, in different classes. Like the clippers, tjalks, fishing ships etc.
It is a true spectacle to see the ships leave and on Saturday evening there is a big celebration where everyone tells their great stories about the adventures they experienced that day.
Jazz festival Enkhuizen
Enkhuizen is also known for its Jazz Festival, which takes place at the end of May, beginning of June and lasts 4 days, with well-known jazz artists from within the Netherlands and abroad performing at various locations in the town centre.
The best restaurants in Enkhuizen
Of course, in an idyllic town like Enkhuizen you can eat good and tasty food. You don’t have to make a lot of effort to find a nice terrace on one of the cosy squares. In this city you will not only enjoy good food, often in a special building or with a beautiful view.
De Enkhuizer visafslag
Situated on the -how convenient- Havenweg, in the former fish auction, you can order delicious fish dishes in this restaurant. Chef Lajos is also the right cook for other dishes. And all that with a view of the harbour and the IJsselmeer,
This restaurant too, is located on a top spot on the waterfront. Here you have lunch, or try the homemade cake, overlooking passing flatbottom ships.
Tavern de Compagnie
On a cozy location a nice restaurant, with a modest but tasty menu and an impressive range of beers.
More fine restaurants in Enkhuizen
You don’t have to look long & hard for nice restaurants one is even nicer situated than the other. Also visit the best Italian in the area Da Renato or step inside at ‘t Ankertje. You can also sit comfortably in the garden of Thai restaurant Royal Siam. Dubbel en Dwars serves delicious Mediterranean dishes. Walking along one of the many canals and squares you will find nice places to have a drink or eat a snack or more.
Sailing from Enkhuizen
Enkhuizen is a true paradise for sailors. Because of its special location on the border of both the Marker- and IJsselmeer it is an interesting place to step aboard a historic sailing clipper and make a beautiful trip.
Sailing from Enkhuizen is always an experience, whether you’re heading towardsthe Markermeer or want to explore the IJsselmeer.
This summer you can join for a week of sailing ona wandering trip across the Wadden Sea, which departs from the harbour of Enkhuizen.