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Traditional villages and towns

Discover the traditional landscapes of Volendam, Urk, Giethoorn and Edam, four locations on the shores of the IJsselmeer. Peek into the cultural history of the Netherlands and learn more about the country’s centuries-old traditions and customs.

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Hasd Villages 2 Volendam
Hasd Villages 4 Volendam


Dressed up like the old days

In the 19th century, Volendam attracted droves of artists who wanted to capture the fishing harbour on canvas. The traditional fishing boats are gone, but the 200-year-old street scenes with the picturesque green houses still take you back in time.

Hasd Villages 3 Volendam

The traditional Volendam costumes were also immortalised by these artists. Senior citizens, restaurant staff and choirs still wear this traditional dress. You can also have your picture taken wearing a hul (hat), clogs and coral necklace at various locations in the village.


Fishing village with a rich history

The history of Urk goes back more than a 1,000 years. Urk was once an island in the Zuiderzee. Upon the completion of the dyke between Lemmer and Urk in 1939, Urk ceased to be an island. However, according to locals the village still feels like an island and that’s why the Dutch say on Urk instead of in Urk.

Hasd Villages 6 Urk
Hasd Villages 5 Urk

Since the 17th century, Urk has been one of the most important fishing villages in the Netherlands. The harbour is packed with restaurants serving fresh fish and seafood. Complete your visit with a stroll along the historic houses set in a maze of narrow streets and laneways.

  • Hasd Villages 7 Giethoorn


    The Dutch little Venice

    In 1230, refugees from the Mediterranean settled in the region that is now the province of Overijssel. The landscape then was littered with goat horns. That is why the residents called their settlement Geytenhorn (Dutch for goat horn), which later became Giethoorn. The village was founded on rich peat soils and many centuries of peat excavations created the numerous canals and lakes.

    Hasd Villages 9 Giethoorn
    Hasd Villages 8 Giethoorn

    The many waterways have earned Giethoorn the nickname Venice of the North. Farms are built on small islands, connected by bridges. The village is only accessible by bike, canoe or rowing boat.

    Hasd Villages 10 Edam
    Hasd Villages 11 Edam

    In addition to a beautiful cityscape, Edam is known for its famous cheese. For centuries this cheese has been exported to every corner of the world. Located near an idyllic old canal, behind a row of historic gables, the 18th-century cheese market is held every Wednesday and sells the most delicious cheeses.


    Where time stood still

    Also known as Little Amsterdam, Edam is a picturesque town with historic homes and warehouses set on narrow streets and winding canals. While Amsterdam continued to develop in the 17th century, Edam stopped blossoming and as a result each house preserved its unique character.

    Hasd Villages 12 Edam


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