to the content

History of Enkhuizen

Discover the history of Enkhuizen

De rijke geschiedenis van EnkhuizenThe rich history of Enkhuizen

Warehouse Building
Pepper House
Staverse Gate
Enkhuizen Station
Interactive Museum Sow to Grow

Also interesting...

Enkhuizen, a Golden Age city with allure

Enkhuizen is a town where time seems to have stood still here and there, but at the same time a town that has undergone tremendous development. The city center still breathes the atmosphere of the Golden Age. Many beautiful monumental buildings and defenses have been preserved. The Drommedaris, the Waaggebouw, the Zuiderkerk and the impressive city hall. The “Boerenhoek,” an extension of the city with the still easily recognizable ramparts, shows an almost rural character with farms and canals with small bridges.

History in brief:
About the year 1000, at the place where Enkhuizen now lies, there were two settlements: Gommerkerspel, which was inland, and Enkhuizen, where fishermen lived. These villages merged together and received city rights in 1356 under the name Enkhuizen. It became one of the most important Zuiderzee cities. Many businesses settled in Enkhuizen including sailmakers, rope makers and carpentry workshops for building ships.

Through several expansions, the city became about twice as large and could accommodate the ever-growing population. In 1622, Enkhuizen was the fifth largest city in Holland with nearly 22,000 inhabitants. This prosperity was partly due to the United East India Company and the West India Company, which had important ‘rooms’ here.

In the second half of the Golden Age, when merchants moved to Amsterdam in large numbers, the population declined. By 1850, the city had only 5,000 inhabitants and became one of the “dead” cities around the Zuiderzee. The optimistic city expansion at the end of the 16th century, including the Boerenhoek, was never completely built up. Fields and meadows remained within the ramparts. Later, even buildings were demolished so that farmers could once again work the land.

At the end of the 19th century, Enkhuizen started to grow again. The situation improved with the construction of a railroad between Enkhuizen and Amsterdam. Also, the rise of seed cultivation and seed trade gradually brought some prosperity to the town. Now Enkhuizen has more than 18,000 inhabitants. This is still fewer than in its heyday around 1625.

City walk through Enkhuizen

You can also discover the history of Enkhuizen by taking a city tour. The staff at VVV Enkhuizen can tell you all about the possibilities! Below are a number of options:

City walks through Enkhuizen

Various booklets for walking tours will take you past the most beautiful places in Enkhuizen and you can experience for yourself that time has stood still in some places in the town. The booklets are available from VVV Enkhuizen.

City walk through Enkhuizen

On the basis of this booklet you will walk past the most beautiful places in Enkhuizen and you can experience for yourself that time has stood still in some places in town. The walk lasts approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. The booklet ‘Stadswandeling Enkhuizen’ is available from VVV Enkhuizen. The walk is also available in English and German.

Beautiful Enkhuizen

There is much to tell about the Golden Age in Enkhuizen, but even more to discover! There are dozens of monuments and special locations. With the free app “Mooi Enkhuizen” you can walk past the most beautiful historical sites that tell the story of the Golden Age in Enkhuizen. The route is about 5 kilometers long and takes about one and a half to two hours. Prefer a booklet? You can! The booklet is available free of charge from VVV Enkhuizen.

Come and experience the Golden Age

The richly illustrated booklet ”’Come and Experience the Golden Age” describes 35 historical icons in West Friesland. Together, the icons form a beautiful route. At the locations themselves you will find a special coin in the sidewalk. The route booklet comes with a Z-card. All 35 icons are listed on the Z-card. Furthermore, the card contains three bicycle routes and a walking route through Enkhuizen, Hoorn and Medemblik. Also available in English and German. You can pick up the booklet for free at VVV Enkhuizen. Go on a Golden Age tour with the app (found under ‘golden age tour’) full of virtual stories about the historic buildings.

Guided city tour

Our experienced guides can tell you all about the history of Enkhuizen, Enkhuizen’s monuments and all sorts of amusing stories and anecdotes. Are you interested in a particular subject? No problem because you can indicate this to our guide in advance.

Contact contact a question about the possibilities