Netherlands 18: The route to Enkhuizen

During our stay in Bovenkarspel, we rode into the nearest city of Enkhuizen a few times. Enkhuizen was just a short ride away from our holiday home, about 4km, with a direct route on a protected cycleway.

Enkhuizen is an old city with a rich history. It received its city rights back in 1355 and was one of the harbour-towns of the Dutch East India Company. In keeping with many Dutch cities, there’s plenty of harbours, canals and old buildings to see.

Westerstraat, Enkhuizen

There’s more than just sightseeing to do in Enkhuizen. If you’re after a beach, there’s a small one not far from town. If you’re after a museum, there’s the excellent Zuiderzeemuseum. There’s also a theme park nearby, Sprookjeswonderland.

The route from our holiday home was pretty straightforward. We passed under the N504, then joined the cycleway running parallel to it. From there, it was straight for a while along a smooth, well-surfaced cycleway.

Smooth, well-surfaced cycleway next to the N504

Towards the N302, we diverged from the N504 and across Voorland. At this point, we were on an older paved cycleway, which wasn’t as smooth. At the junction with the N302, which leads to the Houtribdijk (I’ll cover this in another post), we went straight over onto Flevolaan.

Older, slightly bumpy cycleway along Voorland

We carried on along Flevolaan and soon arrived at the harbour and Enkhuizen railway station. Passing round the station, we left the segregated cycleway and onto the road at Stationsweg. This is quite a busy section of road, so it seems strange there isn’t a dedicated cycleway. On the way back through here, we had quite a close pass, which I’ll come on to later.

Enkhuizen station to the left, harbour to the right

We carried on along the road, passing over a lifting bridge at Spoorstraat. We were soon in the centre of Enkhuizen, where we parked up the in the rather empty cycle parking. We stopped here for some lunch and went for a wander round the lovely old town.

Back from lunch, we decided to head to the beach as it was a lovely sunny day and too hot to stay in the town. The beach is just a short ride from the town, and is located between the Zuiderzeemuseum and Sprookjeswonderland. It’s quite a small beach and I suspect it might be man-made, but it’s perfect for a hot day and wasn’t too busy.

Small but very pleasant beach just outside of Enkhuizen

After a fun time at the beach, we jumped back on the bikes and attempted to go to the Beach Pavilion. Unfortunately, there was a private party under way, so we couldn’t get in. Judging by the cycle parking outside, it looked like most of the people there had definitely arrived by bike. Though this is The Netherlands, so nothing unusual there.

Busy with bikes at the Beach Pavilion

We left the Beach Pavilion and headed back into town, where we found a rather nice ice cream shop opposite the Drommedaris, a historic gate and a cultural centre. This was a pleasant spot to sit and watch the boats passing by and the lifting bridge going up and down.

After ice creams and some boat watching, we decided to head back home. Passing the Drommedaris, we were soon back onto the route we came, along Stationsweg.

At this point, we were riding along the road and I experienced quite a close pass from a small van. This was while I had our youngest attached to my bike with a FollowMe Tandem. The van was going quite fast at the time and was keen to overtake us, to get out of way of an oncoming car, due to a poorly judged overtake.

Now, this wasn’t the worst close pass I’ve had, and may not even be the worst close pass I’ve had in The Netherlands. Though as I’d captured it on video, I thought I’d share it on Twitter to make a point.

There are some who believe that Dutch drivers are inherently better or more considerate than their British counterparts, either due to strict (or presumed) liability or because they’re more aware of people cycling.

Based on my experiences of riding in The Netherlands, I’d say Dutch drivers are probably a bit more aware than their British counterparts of people cycling, but they’re just as impatient. Where I’ve had to share the road with motor vehicles on Dutch roads, my experiences have been similar to the UK, with driver behaviour being no better. Indeed, if Dutch drivers were inherently better behaved, there’d be no need for protected cycleways would there?

Judging by some of the responses on Twitter, it’s clear I wasn’t the only one to think this or experience close passes from Dutch drivers. Though I had a certain Dutch Twitter account blaming us for the close pass, because we’d not given way to the car coming from the right. In the rush to blame us, they’d not spotted close pass was actually on myself and that the car coming from the right had to stop to give way to the oncoming car. They deleted their original tweet after I pointed this out, though left a reply.

So anyway, back to the ride. We carried on along the same route we arrived by. We were soon back at our holiday home after a lovely day and very enjoyable, if a little brief ride.

Almost back at our holiday home in Bovenkarspel

We returned along this route again during our stay to visit the rather excellent Zuiderzeemuseum, which deserves its own post. More on that to come.

Back to part 1 – Around Bovenkarspel

Next to part 3 – A day at the Zuiderzee Museum

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