Saturday, February 26, 2011

Monnickendam in a nutshell

Monnickendam is located north east of Amsterdam and is part of the Waterland municipality, a group of towns and little cities of the glorious Dutch medieval past situated by the water. I came here by car which is probably the easiest way to come here, but there are buses as well that regularly ply the area from Amsterdam.

My list of things to do and see in Monnickendam:

(1) Climb the Speeltoren – This was on my plan to visit, I even checked the tower inside from the ground but didn’t buy the ticket to go up because I wanted to first go around town on foot and then have my beer at a café. I guess I people watched too long with my beer at the café that I lost track of time. Before I knew it, the tower was closed.

(2) Visit the Grote Kerk (Church) – Located by the entrance to the village. There will be a separate post about this.

(3) Tour the town on foot to enjoy the architecture – The town is small so it’s easy to walk around. Do pay attention to the houses, their details, the houses here are famous for their ‘puntgevel’ and ‘trapgevel’ (step-gable roofs) as well as for the ‘gevelstenen’ (sculptures on the facade) on top of the doors. In fact, many houses and buildings here are classified as rijksmonument, meaning they are state preserved. You can find these houses and buildings on the 3-fork street: Noordeinde, Middendam and Kerkstraat.

(4) Enjoy as well the canals and the petite wooden draw bridges.

(5) Check out the haven and then have lunch or drink here – There are choices, from the Waag Huis restaurant to a couple other terrace restaurants dotting the little inner haven and Middendam street.

Let me give you a little walking tour of Monnickendam through my fotos below:

This is one of the main streets, the Kerkstraat, the street that leads to the center.

Dutch architecture on Noordeinde and Kerkstraat.

The most popular gevelsteen in Monnickendam, the Gulden Hand. Gevelstenen are sculptures mostly found on top of the doors.

The Speeltoren on the left, an old house with a beautifully carved door canopy.

More period style details, another beautiful gevelsteen.

This snake balustrade at the entrance to the raadshuis (city hall) reminds me of the pyramid of Chichen Itza in Yucatan, Mexico.

Wooden draw bridge in the residential part of the town and this is how the locals live here, very quaint.

Moi by the Speeltoren and the Raadshuis (city hall).

Another wooden bridge - this has to be manually pulled when bigger boats pass by.

The inner haven, looks busy, and the Waag Huis by the haven which is now a restaurant.

Houses by the haven on Gooische Kaai and more cafe terraces.

Love this foto of an old man drinking beer under a colourful parasol.

The 'Langebrug' in the haven, actually a narrow wooden bridge connecting each side of the haven. Paling is a sort of fish the Dutch specialize in, they are usually smoked, and although fishing is not anymore a main industry in Monnickendam as such in the past, the town has, in a way, kept the fishing culture alive.

The haven taken from the Gooische Kaai.

Canals and some Dutch souvenirs, as usual, yellow clogs and wooden tulips.

It is best to come to Monnickendam during late Spring, Summer of course and early Autumn when the weather is bettter (although unpredictably gloomy at times) and when the (cafe) terraces are open.

You can also combine this outing with a trip to Broek in Waterland (another pending entry with loads of fotos) and Marken, both are quite near to Monnickendam. As well as Volendam and Edam, not as near as the earlier choices but they are not too far.

Travel Period: July 2010
Destination: Monnickendam (Waterland), The Netherlands

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