The Island of Marken isn’t an island at all, as it has been connected to the mainland by a peninsula since the 1950’s, but it is paired with Volendam by a water taxi service, which we decided to try out while on our trip to Volendam.
After walking through the streets of Volendam, we arrived in the harbour and made our way down to the ticket office, buying a couple of round trips for the taxi. The very helpful man in the ticket office checked with us that we really wanted to go, which was a little odd, but he explained that as it was already 4pm, there wouldn’t be much time for sightseeing.
That seemed strange as we could see the other side of the inlet across from the boats moored up in Volendam harbour, but we decided to go and see what happened.
Getting onto the boat, we made our way to the last couple of seats on the top viewing deck, and waited for it to head off. And waited. And waited. About twenty minutes later, the gangplank went up, and we chugged slowly out into the sea inlet.
The view was amazing, and with a fresh breeze into our faces we ploughed onwards towards Marken. It was then I realised that like many places in the Netherlands, it can be deceiving when it comes to distances and being able to judge them, as there are few landmarks in the flat landscape to work of off. So it was with our trip, which turned into a 45 minute ride across, taking in the boats that were making their way along under sail. With the sun beating down, it was a really beautiful trip over and well worth the ticket price.
When we got to Marken, the difference between this area and Volendam was obvious. The harbour was tiny, just a stopping and mooring point for boats, and fringed by a set of clapboard houses. The village itself now relies on tourists to pay its way, but used to be a fishing village.
The starkness of the place, with the wind whistling over the polders and through the long grass, was breathtaking. The island is actually 5 connected villages, the biggest housing the harbour, so we had a quick walk along some of the connecting streets until we realised that we needed to catch one of the last boats back – the ticket man was right, it took a long time to get over the sea and didn’t leave much time for sight-seeing.
Marken on its own isn’t a huge attraction, but like much of the Dutch coast, has a magnificence brought on by the bleak ruggedness of the coast. Combined with Volendam, it’s a place not to miss next time you’re in the Netherlands!