Netherlands 18: A day at the Zuiderzee Museum

While staying at Bovenkarspel, we decided to spend a day at the Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen. The purpose of the Zuiderzee Museum is to preserve the cultural heritage and maritime history of the old Zuiderzee region.

With the building of the Afsluitdijk dam in 1932, Enkhuizen and the Zuiderzee region was forever cut off from the sea as the Zuiderzee became the IJsselmeer freshwater lake.

The Zuiderzee Museum is a living museum, similar to Beamish or Blists Hill in the UK. It is split into an indoor museum and an outdoor museum. We cycled to the museum, following the route to Enkhuizen we’d ridden before.

Following the route to Enkhuizen

The indoor museum is located in a number of 17th century buildings, some of which were once used by the Dutch East India Company. There’s a large selection of historic boats to look at and many artefacts Zuiderzee region’s past.

Many historic types of boat in the indoor museum

While there was plenty to see in the indoor museum, we couldn’t wait to get to the outdoor museum. Partly as it was a scorching hot day and we wanted to get outdoors.

After a nice lunch at one of the on-site restaurants, we headed out into the outdoor museum. The outdoor museum originally opened in 1983. Prior to that, it was a storage area for the Zuiderzee Works.

The museum village was set up to be a replica of the villages around the former Zuiderzee, with many of the buildings being authentic and transported to site from elsewhere. We saw an old film showing how some of the buildings were transported as a whole by water.

Some of the old shops in the outdoor museum

There’s a variety of buildings to see. Including a wind mill, lime kilns, fish-smoking house, laundry, drugstore, pharmacy, basketmaker, blacksmith, cheese shop, school and hairdresser.

Lime kilns in the outdoor museum

While wandering, we got chance to try smoked herring, play with an Archimedes’ screw, admire the windmill, explore some old fisherman’s cottages, make some reed boats, see the cupboards children used to sleep in and much more. There were plenty of museum guides as we went round who were more than happy to give us the background to much of what we saw.

Small windmill and Archimedes’ screw

There was so much to see in the outdoor museum. We were only really limited by time and the heat on the day, otherwise we could have carried on for ages.

After another break at the restaurant for an ice cream and to cool down, we got on our bikes and headed back to our holiday home. We really enjoyed the Zuiderzee Museum and could have easily spent another day there, maybe a day when it’s not so hot!

Back to part 2 – The route to Enkhuizen

Next to part 4 – A day out in Amsterdam

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