Strolling Through the Village of Edam in The Netherlands
|Welcome to Edam, The Netherlands. All content is property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Quaint and charming don't begin to describe the scenic Dutch countryside in the little village of Edam in The Netherlands. Cobbled streets, storied architecture and picturesque canals spanned by centuries-old drawbridges, can be found throughout Edam—every scene a picture-perfect postcard! Oh, and let's not forget its world-renowned and mighty tasty Edam cheese! Upon arriving in nearby Volendam aboard the Viking River Cruises longship, Viking Odin, we were whisked off to 13th-century Edam which is located only a few miles from Volendam and just 13 miles or 22 km outside the bustling city of Amsterdam. Edam / Volendam are an easy 30-minute jaunt that you must make time for if you're planning to visit The Netherlands. Join me on this escorted trip through Edam and I promise to return to Volendam in an upcoming post.
|An enchanting walk along the canals in Edam reveals picture-perfect moments such as this. All content is property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Located in Noord Holland or North Holland province of The Netherlands, the village of Edam is steeped in maritime tradition and history dating back to 1230 when the first dam in the River IJ or E (E-dam) was constructed. From that moment on, Edam prospered through the centuries thriving on its shipbuilding, herring trading and, of course, cheese industries making it one of the most prominent European trade ports of the day. Although prosperity reigned, Edam endured periodic flooding from the Zuiderzee or Southern Sea bay throughout history and despite numerous attempts to combat the ongoing deluges, the floods continued. One particular measure put in place resulted in the silting up of Edam's harbor and thus ended its shipbuilding and herring-trading industries. Thankfully, Edam still had its cheese production and markets to fuel its economy. And that legacy continues to thrive today and drive traders and tourists alike to this quaint Dutch village.
|Glancing over the top of this very tall fence, I managed to capture this shot of Dutch clogs still worn by many in the countryside. All content is property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
In 1932, the Afsluitdijk Works project erected a dam cutting off the North Sea once and for all which not only eradicated the threat of flooding but transformed the saltwater Southern Sea into the largest freshwater lake in Western Europe—the Ijsselmeer (pronounced eye-sill-meer). Then in 1975, Ijsselmeer was bisected with the completion of the Markerwaarddijk or Houtribdijk dam thus forming the Markermeer Sea to the south. We sailed upon both of these seas or lakes during our Viking voyage from Amsterdam to Volendam. Amazingly enough, their average depth is only 4-6 meters but you would never know it when their waters are below your keel. It's like being on a sea voyage replete with seagulls too! Spectacular!
|Scenic Edam canals are lined with centuries-old houses. All content is property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Edam, The Netherlands Today
Today, the village of Edam is primarily an Amsterdam bedroom community of 7,300 residents however when you visit, it's like stepping back in time to the 16th and 17th centuries when Edam was at the height of its prosperity with much of its architecture still intact. Here are a few of the not-to-be-missed sights.
|Walking down the cobbled streets of Edam is like stepping back in time to the 16th and 17th centuries. All content is property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Hotel De Fortuna
|Welcome to the Hotel De Fortuna in Edam, The Netherlands. At one time, the buildings housed a school and the schoolmaster's residence. All content is property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
This picturesque hotel caught my eye as soon as we came upon this enchanting retreat nestled along Edam's canals. Dating back to the 17th century, the buildings of the Hotel de Fortuna housed a school in the "Great Cabin" as it's known presently, and the school master's residence in the "Little Cabin." Today, you will find quaint and charming accommodations for about $110 per night including daily breakfast. Had I planned to stay awhile longer in Edam, I absolutely would have considered this!
The Edam Museum
|The Edam Museum, built in 1530, imagine almost 500 years ago, contains a floating cellar. Be sure to watch the video footage below. All content is property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
The Edam Museum—one of the oldest brick houses in the village of Edam was built in 1530 as a private home and wasn't converted to a museum until 1895. The step-gabled rooftop reflects one of the earlier styles of Dutch architecture and the building itself is punctuated with striking red shutters. Inside, the interior preserves much of the 16th-century layout and décor but one remarkable feature of this historic building is its "floating" cellar. Steeped in local lore, the house was built by a sailor who missed the sea so much, he built a floating floor in his cellar; however he probably built it to keep goods dry when the floods from the North Sea deluged the village. Check out this short video of the "bobbing" cellar floor. Quite awesome actually.
The Carillon and Church of Our Dear Lady
|Church of Our Dear Lady in Edam. Although most of the church was demolished in 1882, the 15th-century tower and carillon remain standing today. All content is property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
According to Edam records, a church dedicated to Our Dear Lady has been standing on this hallowed ground since the 14th century. Most of the church was demolished in 1882 however, the tower remains intact and contains the oldest clockwork in the Netherlands, not to mention the carillon. Designed by Pieter van den Ghein in 1566, the carillon still rings out an enchanting melody every 15 minutes depending on the time of year and religious celebration. If you look around the back of this small church, you will see the bases upon which the 15th-century columns stood supporting the vaulted ceilings of the original church—truly fascinating.
|Church of Our Dear Lady seen from afar shows the tower and carillon that still chimes enchanting melodies every 15 minutes throughout the day. All content is property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Edam Town Hall
|Edam Town Hall with its coat of arms hanging over the doorway. All content is property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Built in 1737 in Louis XIV style, you will notice that the surrounding architecture is smaller in scale giving prominence to Edam's Town Hall. Above its doorway hangs the Edam coat-of-arms comprising a bull against a red background with three golden six-pointed stars held in place by the lion. Today, the Magistrate's Court on the left as you enter the building is used for marriage ceremonies.
The Cheese Weigh House
|The Cheese Weigh House, last building on the left, is where we sampled lots of savory bites of fresh Edam cheese. All content is property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Our final stop on our tour through Edam in The Netherlands was the Cheese Weigh House. While we learned a little bit about the time-honored process of making cheese, it was more of a cheese-tasting experience that we indulged due to the fact that visitors are no longer permitted to view the manufacturing process. Brimming with every possible variety of Edam cheese, I was in my glory savoring the various flavors while sipping a local wine in between.
|On our way to Cheese Weigh House, scenic vistas presented themselves around every corner such as these row houses in Edam. All content is property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
I hope you enjoyed your tour through Edam, The Netherlands. Below, you will find additional reading about my voyage with Viking River Cruises and the various ports of call. Plus, there's more to come.