44km (27 miles) NE of Amsterdam; 15km (9 miles) NE of Hoorn

A 400-boat herring fleet once sailed out of Enkhuizen. Then in 1932 came the Enclosing Dike , closing off the North Sea. Today, the town looks to pleasure boating, tourism, and bulb-growing for its livelihood, and boasts one of the country's most fascinating open-air museums .

Getting There -- Daily 25-minute river cruises on the Zaan River take place aboard Windmill Cruises (https://windmillcruises.nl; [tel] 075/3030-020) and depart every half hour weekdays from noon to 3pm and weekends from 11am to 4pm. Trips are 9.50€ for adults, 5€ for ages 4 to 12.

Trains depart around every 15 minutes from Amsterdam Centraal Station via Zaandam to Zaandijk Zaanse Schans station, from where it’s a 1km walk, across the Zaan River, to Zaanse Schans. The train ride takes 20 minutes, and a round-trip ticket is 6.60€. Or take Connexxion bus no. 391 (www.bus391.nl) from bus platform E at Amsterdam Centraal Station for the 40-minute ride. Fares are 6.50€ one way or 11.50€ for an unlimited day ticket for all buses in the region. By car from Amsterdam, take A8 north and then switch to A7/E22 north to exit 2, from where you follow the signs to Zaanse Schans. Parking is 10€ per day.

Visitor Information -- VVV Enkhuizen, Tussen Twee Havens 1, 1601 EM Enkhuizen (tel. 0228/313-164; www.vvvenkhuizen.nl), is at the harbor. The office is open mid-April to October, daily from 9am to 5pm.

What to See & Do

From a dock in Veerhaven next to Enkhuizen rail station, or from another next to the dike road from Enkhuizen to Lelystad, take a boat over to one of Holland's finest museums, the Zuiderzeemuseum, Wierdijk 12-22 (tel. 0228/351-111; www.zuiderzeemuseum.nl). The economy of several coastal towns was devastated when the Afsluitdijk was constructed in 1932, transforming the Zuiderzee into the freshwater IJsselmeer. To commemorate a lifestyle long gone, the Zuiderzee Museum showcases the 19th-century fishing-based industry on which the ports around the former seacoast depended. Split into two sections, the museum features the Binnenmuseum, housed in a 17th-century Dutch Renaissance building that once served as warehouses of the Dutch East India Company. Here you’ll find a display of the fishing boats that provided an income for the Zuiderzee folk. The open-air Buitenmuseum stands on the IJsselmeer shore; more than 130 historic buildings—farmhouses, public buildings, stores, a church—were shipped here intact from defunct lakeside communities across northern Holland and furnished in period style. Two bottle-shaped limekilns, a working windmill, a functioning smokehouse, and other structures, pay tribute to the area’s industrial heritage, alongside a chandler, an apothecary, a cheese warehouse, and a steam laundry. Just south of the Buitenmuseum is a recreation of Marken’s old harbor, with smokehouses for preserving herring and eels standing on the dike, and fishing boats tied up at the dock. Cafes and restaurants are found on site.

The Binnenmuseum is open daily 10am–5pm. The Buitenmuseum opens Apr–Oct daily from 10am–5pm. Entry is 17€ adults, 11€ ages 4–12, free ages 3 and under, 45€ family.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.