Enkhuizen Things to Do Tips by Pavlik_NL Top 5 Page for this destination
Enkhuizen Things to Do: 89 reviews and 158 photos
Perfect example of a starecase facade
Keep looking around when you walk along the streets and alleys of old Enkhuizen. Here many facades date back at least 200 years and often over three centuries. Also the several types are present: Bell (Clock), List, Stare case and Hightened facades. In the facades often you can see the year of construction somewhere in a stone or as wall irons. Furthermore your attention please to the various coats of arms or signs that most of the time tell seomthing about the former purpose or use of the building.
The old orfinage of Enkhuizen
Enkhuizen, like many other Dutch towns in the 16th 17th and 18th century, had enormous differnces between rich and poor. However, they all went to the same church in which one followed the teachings of the holy bible. Thus the rich traders were pressed to do some good with their money and elderly homes as well as orfinages were rather popular to errect (so to free their souls from the profits they made in not such biblic ways). The old orfinage in Enkhuizen dates back to 1551 and was indeed an orfinage until 1983! Now it is used as an art gallery.
Remarkable is the iron fence and gate in front of the orfinage. Mark the letters OAW, which stands for Oude Arme Weeshuis (Old Poor Orfinage).
Another administrative building of West Frisia
This house too bares th coat of arms of the house of Orange AND the fromer province of West Frisia. It must have been a governemental building of some kind and is built in the Dutch renaiisance style. West Frisia was - by the way - the first area that organised defense against the raging seawaters that surrounded the area. A collective of such kind was not present anywhere else in Europe at that time (early medieval times) and the cooperation of towns and villages kept this part of Holland above the waters of the North Sea by building the first large scaled dike system in the Netherlands.
Monastrery, West Frisian Mint and Prince's Court
Looking at the map of the Netherlands the country is split in two parts by the now-a-days lake "IJsselmeer", a century ago the "Zuiderzee" (sea). On either side was Frisia (Fryslan) and the top part of the now-a-days province North-Holland was called "West Frisia". Now, Frisians are truely quite different from the other Dutch, as seen from a Dutch point of view. Especially historically Frisia had a very strong independance, thus also prooves this house here. It's the West Frisian Mint. Together with Hoorn and Medemblik (the other important towns in West-Frisia) Enkhuizen had 12 years long the minting right (the right to press coins, "make money"). Later this house even has been a temporar princes court of the house of Orange (Dutch royalty), but originally it used to be part of ... a monastery.
Small, yet very interesting to have a look inside
Originally this house belonged to a water administrative instantion (under the house is still a lock with which water from the old Zuiderzee could be stopped at high tides), but now-a-days it houses a very specific and funny museum. The museum has a huge collection of this rather typical (Dutch?) seamen's hobby and also shows exactly how it actually is done. In the facade one sees the coat of arms of Hoorn (a Horn), Medemblik (a wooden block) and Enkhuizen (the three herings). Besides these city signs also that of the region West Frisia and the Royal House of Orange.
The old wester city gate welcoming visitors
Old cities were in medieval times surrounded with fortifications, walls and canals. This for defensive reasons, as cities were often the target for foreign powers to plunder or subject in a new rule. Cities brought in lots of tax money as they were centers of trade and craftmenship. Enkhuizen still has parts of it's old fortified walls and canals. The shape of the town on a map shows the significant star shape that many medieval towns used to have, still. On the Western side the Wester (or Cow) city gate remains standing tall and welcomes the visitors into town from the land side. It dates back to 1649 after a wooden variant was broken down. in the crown tower you recognise the Enkhuizen Maiden (Virgin) and the coat of arms: a blue shield with three herings. Both symbols are mentioned in my Local Custom Tips.
The beautiful brick stone "Pepper house"
As the stones in the facade already tell, this house has been made in 1625, at first for a rich trader Pieter van Beresteijn. After a few decades he sold it (of course with a profit) to the VOC (United East-Indian Company) and it became a storagehouse for the many spices that the VOC imported through their immens trading network over the world. Obviously the nickname "Pepperhouse" comes from this function. Wise, and oh so Dutch, saying were already then popular, as can be seen on a stone in the wall: "De cost gaat voor de baet uit", which means simply: "spending presceeds earning" or "investment come before profit". Now-a-days the house is part of the Zuiderzee-museum.
Enkhuizen jail is as crooked as the people in it
This original building dates back to 1612 but had to be restored intensively early 20st cetury as it was almost falling over. With new concrete fundaments and two heavy contraweight blocks of seven meters the building is now "in balance" and can be saved for the future. Stil the building is about 1 meter "out of straight position".
This used to be the Enkhuizen jail. In summertime a small museum shows the interior of it in original style.
Enkhuizen cityhall: typical sober Dutch renaissanc
The typical Dutch renaissance architecture of the Enkhuizen cityhall is sober and effective (we never have been crazy about all kinds of (over)decorative items or styles. It was built in 1688by drawings of an Amsterdam architect Vennekool and is the centre of city administration of Enkhuizen. The town already got it's cityrights in 1356 by the count of Holland. On the top facade the words: Candide et Constater (which means: Rightious and Steady).
In front of the cityhall a canon made in Mechelen (B) in 1622 and captured from the infmaous Duinkerk pirates of those times. The great Dutch poet Vondel wrote a poem about this happening, which hangs above the canon.
"Water houses" of Enkhuizen, seen from the park
This typical row of houses along the waterfront between the new and the old harbour are famous and very pictoresque. In it used to be fishermen warehouses, where craftsmen produced rope, sail and many other shipmaterials. The sheds opn the watersides still remind us of this purpose.
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