According to Bittranslators, Hoorn is a city located in the province of North Holland. Hoorn is located on the Hoornse Hop, which is an inlet of the Markermeer. Until the construction of the Afsluitdijk, Hoorn was connected to the Waddenzee and the North Sea via the former Zuiderzee (now the IJsselmeer and the Markermeer). This connection ensured that Hoorn received city rights in the middle of the fourteenth century and in the fifteenth century, together with Amsterdam, grew into the most important Zuiderzee ports. Hoorn flourished most in the 16th and 17th centuries, when both the Dutch East India Company and the West India Company were established in Hoorn. The expeditions of the Hoorn ships Hoorn and Eendracht gave the name Cape Hoorn to the southernmost point of South America.
Hoorn is a medium-sized city by Dutch standards that you can easily visit in one day. If you don’t feel like driving back home in the evening because of the distance or consuming alcohol, you can find a good place to stay in Hoorn in various places. The advantage of Hoorn is that the main sights can be found within a relatively small distance from each other. If you come by train, you can walk straight into the center from the station. If you want to park cheaply, you can do so at the P+R site on the north side of Hoorn station: the Transferium. You can cross the railway via a footbridge and you can start your discovery tour through the fascinating city of Hoorn.
Hoorn ‘s Top 10 Things to Do
#1. Red Stone
The central square of Hoorn is called the Roode Steen. You will also regularly encounter the name Cheese Market. The name Roode Steen is a reference to a stone on which executions used to take place. The stone turned red with blood. You can admire the original stone in the Westfries Museum. On the square you will find a replica. The other name, the unofficial Cheese Market, derives from another activity: trading cheese. The Waag, which is the center of the cheese market, is an important attraction on the Roode Steen. The Waag was built in 1609 and was intended to weigh cheese and other goods. Today, the weigh house mainly has a catering function.
#2. Museum of the Twentieth Century
In Hoorn you will find a museum that, as far as we are concerned, can count itself among the most fascinating museums in the Netherlands. The Museum of the Twentieth Centuryis a journey through the last century, where you walk along interiors in chronological order and see various old utensils. The collection mainly covers the period from 1900 to the 1980s. The museum is a feast of recognition, especially for those who are a bit older (born in the pred. 1985-1990). Many a utensil, decoration piece or machine will take you back to times long gone. The ‘oh yes’ feeling will increase as you progress through the museum. For parents it is nice to show their children what their life used to look like.
#3. main tower
A city like Hoorn used to have to be defended against unwanted guests. Almost the entire defenses of Hoorn have now been demolished. Fortunately, a few historic buildings have been preserved, such as the Maria or Powder Tower dating from 1508. Even more impressive is the Main Tower. This is partly due to its size and location. The free location on the harbor of Hoorn means that you don’t really miss the Hoofdtoren when you walk around this beautiful part of Hoorn. The Main Tower dates from the year 1532 and is built of limestone and brick. A restaurant is now located in the Hoofdtoren. If you sit here on the terrace in good weather, you are in one of the best spots in Hoorn. Don’t forget to take a look at the quay wall just north of the tower. There is a statue of ‘The cabin boys of Bontekoe’, after the famous children’s book written in 1924.
#4. Museum Steam Tram Hoorn-Medemblik
One of the most beautiful historic train rides in the Netherlands departs from Hoorn: the Museum Steam Tram Hoorn-Medemblik. From the former goods and shunting yard of Hoorn station you can take a ride along a number of beautiful North Holland towns and villages. The ride is carried out with tram stock that runs on a local railway. You can travel from Hoorn to Medemblik with the steam tram and from there you can sail on to Enkhuizen with the museum ship ‘Friesland’. Besides the steam tram ride, the museum site in Hoorn is of course also a museum in itself. Here you can view a permanent exhibition and visit the Signal House.
#5. Eastern Island
At a certain point, Hoorn ran out of port capacity in the seventeenth century. To solve this problem, the Oostereiland and the Westereiland have been constructed. Warehouses and homes were built on the artificial Oostereiland. After the warehouses became redundant, the complex was given various other functions. It has been used as a prison for a long time. Today it houses a hotel, a cinema, offices and the Museum of the Twentieth Century. The courtyard is often an oasis of calm. This has been given the name “Krententuin”, which was previously popularly used for the entire complex.
Hoorn used to have several city gates. Only one of these has survived: the Oosterpoort. This city sport dates from 1578 and replaced the former first Oosterpoort, which was closer to the city and was finally demolished in 1818. For years the Oosterpoort was the only entrance to the eastern part of the city. That changed in the middle of the last century when the Willemsweg was built. The Oosterpoort was closed to all motor vehicles. You can still cycle or walk through it. The Oosterpoort was built in two phases. The cottage on the gate was added in 1601.
#7. West Frisian Museum
Hoorn is the largest city in the West Friesland region, partly because the larger Alkmaar only partly belongs to this region. Hoorn is therefore an excellent place to establish a West Frisian Museum. This regional historical museum is housed in a number of buildings in the heart of the city: the 17th-century Statencollege and the two buildings located to the right of it. The natural stone facade in Dutch Renaissance style is impressive. The facade of this building alone is an attraction in itself.
The collection of the Westfries Museum is mainly focused on the cultural history of the city and the West-Friesland region. The emphasis is on the period between 1500 and 1800. Partly because of the many seventeenth-century objects, the Westfries Museum is nicknamed ‘Museum about the Golden Age’.
#8. Dutch facades
Hoorn’s golden years have resulted in beautiful facades. It is not for nothing that the city’s list of monuments contains hundreds of buildings. Anyone who paid attention at school will be able to discover all variants of the typical Dutch facade during a walk through Hoorn. Think of the classic stepped gable, the spout gable, the neck gable and the bell gable. You won’t have to search long to complete this quartet. Some buildings have beautiful statues, curls, vases and other decorations. So don’t forget to look up regularly in Hoorn.
The Noorderkerk is a parish church built in Gothic style. It was built between 1440 and 1519. The Noorderkerk was originally a Roman Catholic church. This building of faith also did not escape the Reformation that swept through Holland in the sixteenth century. Since 1572 it has been a Reformed church for centuries, with an adapted interior. A striking part of the Noorderkerk is the poor church. This is a part of the church that has bare wooden benches and a pulpit. Services for poor people used to be held here. The Noorderkerk, also known as Mariakerk or Vrouwenkerk, is now privately owned.
The Zuiderzee could be rough and pose a danger to Hoorn and his ships. To limit the risks, Hoorn has tried in various ways to make the water and the wind harmless. A good example of this is Baadland, which is also written as Baatland. Baadland is an artificial peninsula that created an even better sheltered inner harbor north of the refuge. This harbor was used extensively for loading and unloading cargo carried by the ships. Many of the historic department and trading houses can be admired here in all their glory.