Volendam, The Most Netherlands You Can Get

I will start this post by  asking, what crosses your mind when you think of the Netherlands? Tulips, canals, cheese, traditional costumes, wooden shoes, dam?

This place, Volendam offers all the Dutch clichés, beside tulips unfortunately, that is why I picked this city as the first one to be posted in my blog under this tag. It located only about 20 km away from Amsterdam and I will say that it is included in the go-to list whenever someone come to the Netherlands, especially if they come along in group(s). In the past, Volendam used to be a fisherman village, but now, although there are many people still fish, the place has become a popular tourist attraction with the locals selling souvenirs, opening restaurants and snack shacks, etc.

The Volendam waterfront is beautiful. The main street is so clean, the houses are patching to each other, small and colorful, just like typical Dutch environment. You can see the fishing boats and ferry boats are berthed by the marina. Along the streets, you can also find some benches where you can stroll and walk around and breath the fresh air. A personal tip from me, unless you visit Volendam in summer, bring a thin scarf or cardigan if you don’t want to catch a cold because trust me, the wind can get a little fierce.

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To be honest, during my three years of living there, I’ve visited this city for more than seven times – two times with my family, once with my big family from Indonesia when they visited us to the Netherlands, one time with the school, and the rests were when my family and I went there to accompany some guests of the family or the embassy. It is a very famous city for international tourists because there are many things that you can do here, and one of the highlight of Volendam is no other than taking pictures with the Dutch traditional dresses. Yes indeed, the Dutch klomp or the wooden shoes, and the costumes, you gonna wear it all. Although the number of Dutch residents wearing the clothing for daily life is low, but the people of Volendam noticed that it draws tourist attraction, thus many open a photography studio so visitors can have their pictures taken in traditional Dutch costumes.

There is one studio that is popular among Indonesian tourists though, the name is Fotograaf Zwarthoed. The studio’s marketing is really good as they placed pictures of Indonesian singer, actress and actors like  Nirina Zubir, Ruth Sahanaya, and Indonesian elites as well for instance the former presidents Megawati Soekarnoputri and Abdurrahman Wahid on the front display of the studio, and thus Indonesian tourists whom walking around able to see that.When you get there, you’ll have to wear the costumes and the shoes helped by the owner, and then get into the studio. There are three backgrounds in the studio that you can choose; fisherman houses, the sea, and Dutch typical living room. After visitors choose, the photographer will help to pose with fake tulips, fishes, nets, and she (in my experience, the photographer always a woman) will direct the pose by using English and some simple Indonesian words like kanan, kiri, maju and change ‘cheese’ into sate or tempe (Indonesian foods), which was interesting. No wonder many Indonesians choose this studio. After taking pictures, you can pay it at the cashier and the price of this is varied, depends on the amount and the size of pictures you want to have as the final result. You can check the website with the price list here if you want http://www.fotozwarthoed.com/prijslijst.html.

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Indonesian School in the Netherlands students & teachers
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SIN SHS Senior Year Class of 2013

 

Other than taking pictures in the traditional costume, there are also other things that you can do there. As the Netherlands is well-known with its good quality of cheese, if you are interested you can go to the Cheese Factory Volendam located nearby. Unfortunately, I haven’t paid a visit there, but I heard that this factory will please the visitors with its cheese making demonstration and tasting. There will also be a tour explaining where cheese comes from, how it was first made and how it is produced today. If you are interested with the popularity of Dutch cheese, you can visit the factory for sure!

At the main street of Volendam harborfront, there are many shops selling souvenirs, such as Dutch wooden clogs, postcards, keychains, t-shirts, colorful bags with Volendam or Holland written on it, mini porcelain replica of windmills, and many others. Somehow, some owners of the shops also speak a little of Bahasa Indonesia, I assume it because there are many Indonesian visited Volendam and buy souvenirs there (orang Indonesia kan terkenal dengan ‘bawain oleh oleh yaa’ :p ) so maybe they decided to learn some Indonesian for their marketing strategy.

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After take a look around, there are many restaurants there that you can go to grab some lunch, but for my family and I, we liked to have our lunch at a restaurant called Fish and Chips because the seafoods they have are really tasty and fresh. They offer kibbeling and lekkerbek which are battered and fried white fish, they also have other seafoods such as shrimp and calamari. I usually had a portion of patat – french fries and kibbeling with knoflooksaus – garlic sauce.

There is also an authentic wooden dutch windmill, only few kilometers away from the harborfront. It is nice to stop there and take some pictures, and you can get into the windmill if you want to. It opens everyday, and you’ll also meet a guide there. Other than windmill, you can also take a look at the Volendam Dike which is also nearby as you will pass it on your way to the Volendam waterfront. Tourists love to take pictures there, including me hehe. Too bad I cannot find my own collection of pictures of the dike.

Volendam is a beautiful city to visit. It offers the typical Dutch thing that you might have in your mind when you think of the Netherlands. Not to mention the scenery is also fascinating. It is definitely a place that you should visit if you come to the Netherlands, especially to get your pictures taken with the traditional costumes for your own memento, or to show off to some friends and family back home :p


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