Monnickendam historic town at the Markermeer

Like Amsterdam, Hoorn,Marken and Volendam, Monnickendam is situated on the Markermeer.

This small town has an eventful history that you will be reminded of during a walk through the centre.

During a visit to Monnickendam you’ ll be surprised, because not only it’s history is worthwhile. There is also plenty to do for young and old today.

The history of Monnickendam

Like many other towns around the IJsselmeer and Markermeer, Monnickendam was granted city rights in the 14th century.

Soon the city grew so fast that the original wall had to be extended, this became quite a wall with 4 bastion towers to be able to look in all directions. Today there is only a piece of the South Tower left to admire.

This city seems to have been a kind of economic and administrative centre with quite a few inhabitants, otherwise it would not have been granted city rights. Although it is not easy to get a clear picture of what exactly happened in the 14th century in Monnickendam. There are no images [meer] of and also very little documentation.

Given its location, Monnickendam was a fishing village and later town par excellence. Located on the former Zuiderzee, it was a place where fishermen and their families lived and worked.


The Field of Gallows of Monnickendam

The port of Monnickendam must have been important because there are still remnants of a gallows field to be seen near the port. People who had committed a crime were hanged here. Often, the deceased were left hanging for a while, that this was at the port, showing that they wanted to scare off sailors and warn them.

The Gouwzee

The Gouwzee is the stretch of water between the mainland of the province of Waterland and the Marken peninsula. So Monnickendam, Volendam and Marken are all by the sea!

The Gouwzee is of course part of the Markermeer, this piece of water is shallow, crystal clear and therefore very popular for sailingor surfing, for example.

It is also amazing to see how large numbers of red crested pochards gather here at the end of the summer. They depart from the Gouwzee on their great autumn migration, to warmer places.

What to see and do in Monnickendam

There is plenty to do in this picturesque town. Whether you want to learn everything about the illustrious history of this typically Dutch town during a city walk. Rather try the local beer from the terrace of the brewery or take a scavenger hunt on an electric scooter. It is all possible in Monnickendam.

Below we have listed the nicest highlights for you.

1. Museum the Speeltoren

The Speeltoren is a 30 metre high tower in the centre of Monnickendam. The tower dates back to the 14th century but has changed its function and shape countless times since then. The current tower was built in the 16th century and was considerably rebuilt in the middle of the last century.

In the tower is the oldest playable carillon in the world. You will also learn here why it sounds so false! You can see it up close as you climb the tower.

The Waegh and the Speeltower in the centre of Monnickendam
You can see it up close as you climb the tower.

The tower has been converted into a museum and has a permanent collection of paintings of Monnickendam. These are painted by an artist who was born and raised here: Dirk Oosterbaan. And you can see that, he knows the city like the back of his hand.

There is no better place than the Markermeer to find out everything about 2000 years of development of Water & Land in the Netherlands. You can learn about the origins of our little country right down to the smallest nooks and crannies in the museum.

Read all about the museum hereand reserve entrance tickets.

2. The Great Church of Monnickendam

In contrast to many towns and villages, where the church is often the centre of the centre. The Great Church or St. Nicholas Church of Monnickendam is situated on the outskirts of the city. This ensures that the imposing structure can already be seen from afar. Concerts, exhibitions and guided tours are regularly organised. Read all about the Great Church of Monnickendam here.

3. Museumhouse Timmerman

A visit to museum house Timmerman is a dive into the history of Monnickendam.

Just like house Bonck in Hoorn and house Bartolotti in Amsterdam, the Hendrik de Keyser association was responsible for the preservation of this house. The house has been completely restored to its original state. In this way, visitors can really get a taste of what life was like all those hundreds of years ago.

Museumhouse Timmerman

Read here all about House Timmerman and the other museum houses in different cities in the Netherlands.


4. See by drive Monnickendam

The municipality of Waterland, to which Monnickendam belongs, is also known as Amsterdam’s backyard.

All the more reason to discover it! And all the more reason to be careful with this piece of nature, what better way to do it than exploring it with an electric scooter or car? Book a complete scavenger hunt if you like. Decide for yourself how long and get a delicious lunch on the way. Completely Corona proof.

View the offer here

5. Monnickerdammer Fishing days

Of course, Monnickendam, like many of the surrounding places, lived from fishing. That is why this topic will be at the heart of the fishing days. All kinds of old crafts are carried out on the streets again, such as fining nets, making clogs and smoking eel.

A traditional flat-bottomed ship sails to Volendam three times a day to collect fresh fish. This is sold at the old fish auction and as a visitor you can imagine yourself to be a trader and make an offer.

The specially organised local market sells fresh local produce such as fish and mussels. Various types of wine, beer and fresh juices are also sold.

There is also a lot to do for children, there are Old Dutch games and there is a stall with authentic Dutch sweets.

The Monnickerdammer fishing days are every Friday from the third Friday in July until the third Friday in August.

For more information:


Food & drink in Monnickendam

Of course in the centre of Monnickendam you don’t have to look long for a cosy pub or nice restaurant.

We have listed a few for you:

7. The Waegh

As the name suggests, this brasserie is located in the former Waag building. Once one of the most important buildings on the daily market. This one too has a striking appearance, just like those in Hoorn and Amsterdam, for example. Meat & fish are central on the menu and they like to serve a matching wine.


8. The Bierderij

Beers are brewed here with names like ‘the Monnicker Moker’ and ‘the Marker Virgin’. Visit the tasting room and try for yourself how beer brewed on the Gouwzee tastes. Also delicious with the simple dishes served here. Everything prepared with local, fresh and seasonal products.

9. The Koperen vis [the Copper fish]

Located in the Havenstraat overlooking the harbour and the water, the Koperen fish is a delicious place to have breakfast, lunch or dinner! On the menu there is something for everyone on and from the cosiest places in the heart of Monnickendam.

Restaurant de Koperen vis in the heart of Monnickendam with a cosy terrace at the waterfront.
The Koperen vis on the water in Monnickendam

10. Sleeping in the harbour

Are you coming in your own boat, or by car, but would you like to spend the night in comfort in the harbour? Then the apartments of Bed & Breakfast Waterland Monnickendam are the solution. If you come with your own sailing boat, please let it know. You can moor it in front of the door.

During the restrictions for the hotel and catering industry regarding Covid-19, all of the above restaurants offer take-away menus. Definitely worthwhile during one of the activities mentioned above!


If you feel like visiting Monnickendam, then combine this with a day or multi-day sailing trip via the Zaanse schans and experience Holland as Waterland at its best.

For more information about sailing trips on the Markermeer, IJsselmeer and the Wadden Sea area, check our homepage.