This is one of my favorite day trips from Amsterdam. I’ve been 3 or 4 times in the last 6 months! I’ve seen a lot of the Netherlands, but never anything quite like Urk.
Urk is a fishing village centuries old with an unusual tale. This village lays a short 45 minutes drive from Amsterdam. Perfect for one of your day trips from Amsterdam and is truly worth it.
Up until 1939, Urk was a secluded island in the Zuiderzee (South Sea). The Zuiderzee was a shallow bay of the North Sea and it had a history of being a violent body of water killing tens of thousands of people. A statue in Urk called “Urker vrouw” remembers lost fishermen. “Urker vrouw” is a woman gazing out at sea, longingly anticipating the return of her husband and sons.
Completed in 1932, the Afsluitdijk (Enclosure Dam) shut the Northern Sea off from the Zuiderzee. However, the Zuiderzee was no longer a sea and it was renamed to Ijsselmeer and Markermeer.
The Urk locals still hold to most of their traditions. Because it was a secluded island, Urkers spoke a unique dialect of Dutch and it is still spoken to this day.
Things to do in Urk
1. Visit the Lighthouse
It is a small lighthouse compared to others I’ve been to, but it has wonderful views. Built in 1844, it is the only lighthouse in the Markenmeer and Ijsselmeer (formally the Zuiderzee) with a turning light.
2. Museum Het Oude Raadhuis
This is a museum that shows the history of the local area including how the island was attached to the polder and how the Urkers battled the sea. Click here to read more and click here for the website (Dutch).
3. Eat some Fish
Our favorite restaurant on the island is de Kaap. Plus they have some of the best apple pie ever.
4. Take a Stroll along the water
There is a road that runs pretty much along the coast and it is absolutely beautiful.
Would you visit Urk?
xo, Erin Kay