Information and history of Marken
Marken, referred to by the locals as "Mereke", is a peninsula reaching out into the Gouwzee and Markermeer lakes. Today it is possible to travel overland to Marken , but until 1957 Marken was an isolated island, situated first in the former Zuiderzee and later in the Ijsselmeer lake. In the thirteenth century the island of Marken was first populated by monks from Friesland, who supported themselves by tending cattle and farming. However, the low-lying island of Marken regularly fell victim to the sea water of the Zuiderzee. For that reason the villagers decided to build their houses on high man-made mounds of earth, called "terpen", which afforded safety at high water.
Living with the threat of floods
The terps on Marken are also given the name "werven". At the moment, there are still twelve old terps on Marken , eleven of which are occupied, the twelfth is used as a graveyard. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the growth of the population went hand in hand with the emergence of a new source of income, namely fishing. New houses which were needed at that time were no longer built on terpen, but on wooden pillars. This type of building can still be seen in Marken today. At least, if you really look for them ... some houses which were built on pillars now have an extra storey built under the existing house. This came about as a result of the construction of the "Afsluitdijk" in 1932. This dyke had an immense impact on island life. The sea was indeed tamed and the danger of flooding was encapsulated, but it also meant the beginning of the end for the flourishing fisheries of Marken.
Connected but still apart
The year 1957 was also another noteworthy year for Marken. The dyke which was constructed in that year connected the formerly isolated island to the rest of the Netherlands. In spite of the connection to the rest of the world, Marken has retained its authentic character. Strolling around Marken, you can almost imagine that you have gone back a whole century in time. You can see residents in traditional costume, wooden houses built on pillars, terpen and narrow alleys beside which clothes are hanging out to dry in the gardens. The lighthouse at the far- eastern corner of the island named "the Horse of Marken" still bears witness to the history of the island's fishermen. Marken does not only breathe history, it is living Dutch history.
Download a map of Marken
Download a map of Marken by clicking on underneath picture! At this map you will find several points of interest in Marken and Volendam.