3 Best Sights in Hoorn, Netherlands


Hoorn's administrative historic heart is the impressive Rode Steen square, but to really understand this city's links with the sea you need to take a stroll around the harbor area, still filled with sailing boats (most of these are used for leisure rather than commercial purposes these days). Dominating the harbor is the imposing brick Hoofdtoren, originally built as a defensive tower in 1532. Its appearance was made all the more impressive with the addition of the clock tower in 1651. Having been completely restored in the 1990s, the interior now houses a café-restaurant (open daily from noon).

Museumstoomtram Hoorn-Medemblik

The Steamtram Museum is not a museum as such, but a journey through time. Kids aged 4 to 84 will love the 75-minute ride aboard the steam tram (effectively a train, but hey—what's in a name?) that first plied the 20-km (12-mile) route north from Hoorn to Medemblik in 1887. The engine huffs, puffs, and whistles its way creakingly forward as the fireman shovels in the coal to build up the steam. There are around six departures in each direction per day (more at the peak of summer), and your day pass enables you to ride as often as you wish. In Medemblik you can either return the way you came or switch to a steamboat for a cruise down the IJsselmeer to Enkhuizen, whereupon (for an extra €4.10) regular trains will bring you back to Hoorn. The embarkation station (Transferium) in Hoorn is directly behind the main line railway station.

Van Dedemstraat 8, Hoorn, North Holland, 1624 NN, Netherlands
sights Details
Rate Includes: €23.15, Mid-Mar.–mid-Nov., Closed Jan. Other departure days and times vary, check website

Westfries Museum

The Westfries Museum (West Frisian Museum) is housed in the provincial government building, dating from 1632, where the delegates from the seven cities of West-Friesland used to meet. The cities are represented by the coats of arms decorating the stunning facade, a testimony to the province's former grandeur. Inside, the council chambers are hung with portraits of the region's grandees, and the exhibitions explain the town's maritime history, its links with the Dutch East India Company (VOC), and the exotic finds of its adventurous sailors. There are also changing temporary exhibitions.

Rode Steen 1, Hoorn, North Holland, 1621 CV, Netherlands
sights Details
Rate Includes: €9, Weekdays 11–5, weekends 1–5

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