"Gate to the Afsluitdijk with a well-known namesake" Zurich by Airpunk

Zurich Travel Guide: 3 reviews and 7 photos

No, this is not the (in)famous city in Switzerland which swims in money and is the secret capital of the country. This is a small town in Fryslan, in the north of the Netherlands. Zurich is only famous for two things: First, because of its name similarity to that Swiss city and second, because it is located on the eastern end of the Afsluitdijk, the artifical barrier separating the Ijsselmeer from the North Sea. So, everybody travelling over the Afslutidijk sees Zurich, at least on the signs on the motorway. As I had time, I took a look on the town.

Zurich itself is not really interesting. It has a couple of houses, a church and a lot of grassland. It is a typical Dutch village which gets some money from North Sea tourists. What was interesting was a small chat I had with Johan Sint Pollema, the owner of the local souvenir and fishing shop. I just went into the shop to see what there is on sale and maybe to buy a postcard. But Johan told me about the story which still earns him a living. His grandparents were named Sint Pollema and Botje Westra. Their first names are nicknames for Dutch coins (sint= 1c; botje= 2 ½ cent) and were the subject of many joketellers. Johan had the idea of printing bills of 1c, 2 ½ cent and 3 ½ cent, the latter one depicting both grandparents. Unfortunately, Johan got in problems with the Dutch authorities and the bills were not allowed to be sold. Johan had to rename his institution Zurich Zandbank, making clear that it is a fantasy product. The new bills, clearly stating Zandbank, are printed and sold by him. But the old bills are still seen on postcard. Johan is proud to tell you the story and if you like it or not, it has become part of the history of this small town in the northern Netherlands.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:A quiet village with little to see
  • Last visit to Zurich: Jul 2008
  • Intro Written May 5, 2011
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