The Netherlands: Volendam & Schoorl Klimduin

After spending a day in Amsterdam visiting family, we picked up our car and set off to do something else.  We thought about going to the De Zaanse Schans.

Not far from Amsterdam, located on Lake IJsselmeer, you’ll find the old fishing village of Volendam. It is known for its lovely harbor, the fishing trade, its authentic Dutch character with traditional costumes.  A fantastic destination for every season so that is where we ended up.   If you find yourself heading that way – check this site for events.



Volendam is well known for its old fishing boats and the traditional clothing still worn by some residents so they say.  We didn’t spot anyone wearing them as their normal attire – only the few women who worked in the Cheese Factory Shop wore them.  A big tourist attraction is to get dressed up in the gear and have a portrait done.  Oh and one place was running a special – get a photo, then you get a pedicure with kiss fish, which are hundreds of Gara Rufa fish who suckle and nibble on your feet. 

We took a quick trip into the Cheese Factory & Shop, where the kids pretended to milk a cow and carry cheese.  Had to do my utmost to rush out, before I bought the entire shop.  This visit reminded us of one of the kids favorite books – “Hendrica the Cow Who Fell Into The Canal.”   Highly recommend it!! 



There is a regular ferry which goes over to Marken, a peninsula close by where there is a museum about its history and clothing style.  I read that the town until 1957, was an island in isolation from the rest of The Netherlands, it developed an independent culture – its own architecture, dialect, dress & more.   We didn’t go over to the island as this day it was raining a bit when we were there.  Plus as all the restaurants were packed, so we chose to leave.  On the way out, we stopped at the Lumpia stand where we each inhaled one.  Oh and I discovered the shop Action!  Perhaps on a future trip to Holland, we’ll take the ferry over for the day to check it out. 

Our plan was to then head to klimduin in Schoorl, where Nils went as a child.

Schoorl is located directly on the dune area and is best known for the highest dunes and Het Klimduin where the children – and many a tough father or mother – run from top to bottom with great pleasure. Schoorl is situated in a varied environment. So you can enjoy the sea, beach, dunes, forest and polder landscape, in addition to the pleasant village center with shops, terraces and restaurants.

Schoorl offers hikers and cyclists long routes to enjoy the beautiful nature for hours on end. Every season has its own atmosphere and the experience of this changes time and again. Relaxing is what you do in Schoorl. And if you want to look up a bit more crowds, Bergen or Alkmaar is worth a visit.

Although there is always talk of the fact that Schoorl has the highest dune, it appears that the Schoorl forest ranger of Staatsbosbeheer has recently measured with the most modern and ingenious measuring equipment that a dune top, just behind the climbing dune of Groet, reaches higher than the dune in Schoorl . With 55.50 meters, Groet has the scoop to own the highest dune in the Netherlands.

From the ‘highest dune’ in Schoorl on the Klimweg you still have a beautiful view from 53.60 meters towards the sea and the polder.


Once we had a drink, the four of us slowly climbed up the huge sand hill and then took a small trail before heading back down. Both kids did some running down, as I held my breath hoping for no injuries or a face plant into the sand for Maebh. 






Even though it only looked like our family was here, there were other families going up & down. In the summer months, the cafes are full and dozens of families are running up and down.   The area is also the biggest camping area in Holland, so naturally families will be attracted to this area. 

Sadly our trip to the Netherlands ends soon so we’re off to Ireland but we’ll surely be back in the future for a visit!