Enkhuizen, The Netherlands
The city of Enkhuizen is located on the IJsselmeer, a fresh water lake in The Netherlands that used to be a part of the Zuiderzee, a vast expanse of salt water that in 1932 was divided by a barrier dam. The town became an important trade port for the VOC (United East India Company) — better known as the Dutch East India Company — during its peak in the 17th century. In fact, Enkhuizen’s importance once rivaled that of Amsterdam.
What We Love
The Old Town: Facing the water, Enkhuizen exudes abundant historic charm along several streets lined with mansions, churches, commercial buildings, and remains of the old city walls. The port, meanwhile, is a very popular marina.
The Flessenscheepjes Museum: This hidden gem (translation: Ship Bottle Museum) is located in an old house and displays the world’s largest collection of sailing ships, steamships, tugs, rescue boats, and whalers wedged in all sorts of glass containers: beer and wine bottles, light bulbs, and 30-liter jugs. Demonstrations of the art are given to interested visitors.
Best Known For
The Zuiderzee Museum: Learn about the history of the inland sea, as well as the port of Enkhuizen, via indoor exhibits — some housed in a former VOC building — and an outdoor display of old Dutch architecture brought from other parts of the perimeter of the former Zuiderzee.
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Who It's Best For
History Buffs: Those interested in Dutch trading history and 17th-century architecture will enjoy a day ashore here.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Crowding is Common: The Ship Bottle Museum can get very crowded on weekends in season as the space between the displays is very tight.
Theodore W. Scull is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has written several books on crossings.