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The history of the Volendam Marken Express

In about 1920 the story of the Volendam-Marken  Express began with three men from the fishing port of Volendam. Their names were Jan Kwakman , Piet Veerman and Bruin Veerman. (The last two were not related, in spite of having the same surname.)  Together, these three men managed to make a virtue out of necessity. The necessity was the declining income from the fishing trade. The virtue was the increasing number of tourists wishing to visit the island of Marken.

It wasn't until 1933 that the three men ,who in the meantime had become friends, would set up a business together, the boating company Veerman and Co. That was the official beginning of the Volendam-Marken  Express.

Pioneering and making do

In the early years, the company would sail with two open boats of about 7 metres long between the fishing ports. Sailcloth that was fastened to the side of the boat served as advertising. They made do because there was an economic crisis. The crossing was certainly no fun in when it was raining or if there was a heavy swell. In order to save petrol, the skippers would turn the engine off on reaching the harbour mouth.  That was pioneering and making do.

Liberators became tourists

Tourism increased rapidly after the Second World War. Certainly because the American and Canadian soldiers wanted to visit "the real Holland "in Volendam and Marken. They came to see the wooden houses, the clogs and traditional costumes, and the little shops selling low-priced souvenirs. This was the boost which would  really put  the Volendam-Marken  Express on the map.

Business runs in their blood

Nowadays Volendammers are known for their business acumen and work ethic. The Volendam-Marken  Express is also an example of this. The money which it earned was reinvested in the business. New ships were acquired: the first ,enclosed by a roof!, were suitable for about 20 passengers. Later, in 1947, the "Tourist" was added to the fleet. At that time, the " Tourist "cost an absolute fortune - 35,000 Dutch Guilders. But you got a lot for that money - a motor ship with room for 50 passengers.

A blessing in disguise

The strong point of the Volendam-Marken  Express has always been its ability for cooperation and expansion. Over the years , competitors have been annexed or bought over. However, in 1957, it seemed as if disaster had struck. The island Marken was to be connected to the mainland by a dyke. The Volendam-Marken  Express  feared the end of the ferry service. This proved to be far from the truth! Tourists from home and abroad continued to prefer the crossing to the awkward overland journey to the peninsula of Marken. In the 1980s the company, because of the increasing number of visitors, decided to gradually replace and modernise the entire fleet. The jewel in the crown was the acquisition of the MPS Volendam in 1990. The ship cost one million Dutch Guilders, but it did have room for 90 tourists below decks and another 185 on the upper deck. In 2011, the current flagship, the MS Jan Smit, was taken into service. This ship cost € 1.7 million and has room for 275 passengers.

Always innovative

Today, 80 years after its emergence, the Volendam-Marken  Express is still developing and renewing its services. As well as using the trusty ferry service between Volendam and Marken, it is possible to come on board- to order- in practically every harbour town in the area. From Muiden  to IJmuiden and from Amsterdam to Enkhuizen. Private and party cruises, celebrations, conferences and company parties.