Located in half an hour at the North East from the center of Amsterdam, Volendam is the traditional Netherland settlement. If it weren’t for the tourists, it could be said that life is going in provincial rhythm. The modern Holland villages and little cities look tidy; they have magnificent infrastructure and pretty cafes and shops. Despite all the facilities of civilization, everything is going more slowly than in the current metropolis (apart from the capital, we talk about Rotterdam, Eindhoven, and Gaaga. Unfortunately, almost all the travel programs are made in such a way that for a small period of time tourist is able to see only urban Netherlands or province. That’s why such a close location of Volandam and possibility to get there by bus directly from the central railway station is not able to make pleased because one does not need to waste time.
In the municipal place of Edam-Volendam there are nearly 30 thousand people. Even though the main city is Edam (by the way, it is the motherland of cheese ‘Edammer’, thrice more people (22 thousand citizens against 7) live verily in the village Volendam. It has even its representative in the supreme football league of the country, the club with the same name Football Club Volendam while its 20-thousand stadium is overcrowded. Several centuries ago these territories were considered as the main fishing port of the country, though they had better be called as resort and travel area near the capital where it is pleasant to spend weekend because in the surroundings there are a lot of hotels, spa-complexes, and rest bases of the highest level. However, fish in Vollendam is still caught and appreciated as the local fish is the main symbol and souvenir of the village. It is likely to buy the fresh fish from the ships and boats not only in every corner but also at the special auction which is from times to times organized for the tourists where they are taught to eat, salt and choose it right. By the way, verily from Volendam at the end o the spring or beginning of the summer for many centuries at the royal table the first box with the fattest and tastiest fish is going.
What is really interesting, guests were attracted with different advertisement actions, and it has been fulfilled not only with the help of fish. When in XIX century the local water space were built up with the constructions to protect the country from the natural disaster, the possibilities of the port went down, so, the shrewd businessman Leendert Spaander decided that now Volendam had better become ‘traditional Netherland village’. As it has not been any radio channels, artists came for help. Spaander firstly opened the pub for artists, then in 1881 he set up hotel that has been working till now. The artists got a big discount for accommodation and trained a lot drawing sea landscapes, local streets, markets, and the inhabitants. In such a way they brought glory to the village and made it popular. It gave quite a quick result because in 1906 the steam tram from multi-national capital started working and citizens wanted to know how the province lives. The Volendam was overwhelmed with the so-called ‘coats’. In such a way local citizens who were mostly dressed in the raincoats and sweaters (that are quite practical for physical labor and fishing) called the citizens of the city who wore coats, thus, they seemed quite similar for village residence.
It is a philosophical question if the tourists are called like that, but this enthusiasm continues. The popularity of the village increased because Amsterdam residences in their metropolis forgot how their ancestors were living, what they ate, which clothes they dressed, and what they were doing. That’s why the local museum is full of foreigners and Netherland citizens. Even though it is natural studies, the expositions are interesting and well-done. Looking at the details and the furniture, it is possible to study the history of this North European nation. The modern interactive museum Experiens Volendam impresses a lot. With the help of 3D trips it immerses the visitors in the depths of Holland history, gives possibility to live out the wars, revolutions, and even floods.
The streets, squares, markets, embankments in Volendam are especially interesting, but experienced travelers in such places recommend to go deeper, far away from the travel civilization. In the side from the main walking ways where national clothes are not so visible and the air smells not only with the fish, one starts noticing how the traditional village lives now. It is so interesting to look at the calm local citizens, their channel-like streets, the boats that are swimming slowly, bakeries, workshops where the fishing is discussed, the weather, water constructions, the possible floods and football. Perhaps, even though it is hard to believe in it now, Amsterdam used to be so slow and simple. Actually, it does not differ visually and geologically and includes traditional Netherland landscapes and climate. The reason is that some residential areas become capitals and metropolis but others don’t. Here one doesn’t know what got more profit…
Interesting facts about Volendam:
- Netherlands citizens pronounce not ‘Volendam’ but ‘Folendam’, that’s why at the beginning of the conversation it is hard to understand which village is mentioned.
- Herring is great but apart from that one needs to taste smoked eel which is prepared in accordance with the ancient recipes. It is the true delicacy. One does not have to forget about the cheese hunting for fish. In the local shops there is real ‘Edammen’ and other exciting sorts.
- Being in Vollendam, one is able to buy traditional ‘Amsterdam souvenirs’, particularly, shoes, bicycle badges, T-shirts with Van Gogh. There is a plenty of it here with the good prices.
- Apart from the artists, the legendary hotel Spaandera was visited by Elizabeth Tailor, Walt Disney, Kirk Douglas, Muhammad Ali and members of royal families.
- Certainly, the people around love tourists and guests very much, but traditions and habit should be treated with proper dignity. For instance, if somebody from local people wants to sell the house or flat, in 99 percent of cases this real estate is to be bought by the relatives or neighbors. In the extreme case, it is community. That’s why there is little amount of foreigners who own the land, not to mention the citizens of Holland.
Main photо: incomаrtour.cоm.uа