The Zuiderzee Museum (The Netherlands)

I’m nearly there with my Dutch trip.  But we made one more trip before we took the Eurostar back to London.

This time we made our way by road, train and sea to the northern region, to visit the Zuiderzee Museum.

The Zuiderzee Museum was founded in 1948. The decision was made to develop an open air museum at the end of the 1960s and the Museum Park was completed in 1983, with the goal of providing an image of how people used to live and work around the Zuiderzee between 1880 and 1930, the period which preceded the completion of the IJsselmeer Dam in 1932.  It’s not dissimilar to Strawberry Banke in New England, USA or Beamish in the North of England.

We set off from Delft by road, passing the northern canal fields, where many of the windmills (used to drain the field) still survive.

Next, we took the steam train from Medemblik – passing the fields of tulips that were just coming into flower – then a boat to the fishing village.

Stopping at Medemblik we boarded a steam train.

We ordered small pancakes and gobbled them up, before going to stand in the breeze as we passed Dutch villages and collected more passengers, a mix of small boys and train fans.

Onto the boat

We disembarked and were met with silence, a small village on the horizon.

We were a little skeptical of whether it would be interesting and not kitsch, but the weather was beautiful and the whole site was fascinating.

With no stewards of room guides around, we were free to explore the homes, all of which recreate a particular atmosphere, of times long gone.

Spy the bed in a cupboard in the wall, the usual set-up for the houses in the village.

The village includes a church, shops, workshops and even a greenhouse.

And there was indeed a cheese shop.

Grand houses, humble abodes.

There was also a special exhibition demonstrating the devastating effects of flood on Dutch villages – most below sea level before the sea was held back with massive man-made structures, creating a fresh water sea, limiting the vulnerabilities of low-lying fishing villages.

When visited: April 2016

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