When you’re looking for things to do in Enkhuizen, then a walking tour cannot miss on your itinerary. If you’re interested in exploring the city centre of Enkhuizen by yourself, then you’ve come to the right place. I’ve created the perfect self-guided and free walking tour in Enkhuizen for you. This way you will learn facts about Enkhuizen, see the best photo spots, witness magical views and get to admire Enkhuizen for the beautiful Dutch city it is.
Visiting Enkhuizen is a great idea, no matter what time of the year you’re thinking of travelling. The city is found in the province of Noord (North)- Holland, in the region of West- Friesland, and Enkhuizen is a perfect day trip from cities like Amsterdam.
Enkhuizen walking tour: Experience what to do and see in Enkhuizen
This self-guided and free walking tour in Enkhuizen is around 10 kilometres long.
We start one of the things to do in Enkhuizen at Kaasmarkt 8. This is where you can find the weighing house of Enkhuizen, also called a ‘Waag’ in Dutch. It was used to weigh all sorts of goods and dates back to 1559. Every city and town in The Netherlands has one of these weighing buildings. Now, walk to Waagstraat, Peperstraat, Westerstraat, Hoerenjacht, Karnemelksluis, Roopaardstijger and finally to Westerstraat 65.
This is the Paludanushuis, and it is said that the great medic and herbalist Paludanus who was from Enkhuizen lived here. The facade is mainly from the 18th century, with some 17th-century details. The proverb was added at a memorial of Paludanus in 1928.
Now walk to Van Bleiswijkstraat, Wegje, Vijzelstraat and Westerstraat 103. This is a former monastery, that was built int the 19th century. After that, you will go to Westerstraat 107. This is the Sint- Franciscus Xaveriuskerk, or church. It was built on the location of a former clandestine Jesuits church in 1905. In 1929 and 1930, the church was expanded, and the tower was added. In 2012, the church had to close its doors due to shortcomings.
Then go to Westerstraat 111. This is the old orphanage of Enkhuizen, which was part of a more significant complex that was found in 1551. Now walk to Westerstraat 128, where you can see the Eucheriuskapel. This chapel is the only remaining part of the Poor Clares monastery that was found in Enkhuizen in 1441. The entire complex, except for this chapel, was demolished in the 19th century.
Go to Westerstraat 134. This is the Westerkerk, also named the St. Gommaruskerk. The church was mainly built between 1470 and 1540. The eastern part of this church in Enkhuizen dates back to the 17th century. There are many important monuments inside this church, and interesting to know is that this Dutch church is one of the top 100 monuments in The Netherlands. They also have a 17th-century city library, called De Librije, which is the only library that is still in its original place.
The wooden tower is 20 metres high and dates back to at least 1519. The inside is made from unapproved ships’ masts. Since 1877, white-painted, wooden joinery was placed on the outside of the tower to cover the fact that the spire is crooked. During the summer months of July and August, you can visit this church and its library during the afternoon. Head to Westerstraat 136, which was the house of the ‘father’ of the church and built-in 1600.
Then go to Westerkerksteeg, Koltermanstraat and Westerstraat 125. This building in Enkhuizen is called ‘Westfriese Munt’ and is the only remaining building of that specific institution. It was built in 1611 and is named after when three West Frisian cities (Enkhuizen, Hoorn and Medemblik) decided to create their coins. From 1609 the place where coins were made changed every six years to one of the three cities. You can spot the coat of arms of both West- Friesland and Enkhuizen on the facade.
Head over to Dijk, Doelenstraat, Harpstraat, Torenstraat and Zuiderkerksteeg 3. This is the location of the Zuiderkerk, yet another old church in Enkhuizen. It’s creation started in 1423 after the inhabitants of Enkhuizen were allowed to build a church inside the protected area from the water. The Zuiderkerk was mostly completed in 1458, the top part of the tower was only finished in 1524.
There are murals to be seen in the Zuiderkerk that were painted in 1484. During the reformation, paint was placed over them, but during renovations, in the 20th century, they were rediscovered. Another part that is very special about this church is that it’s home to a carillon of 52 bells from Francios and Pieter Hemony and many others. Around 20 bells are dating back to before the 1800s.
Now walk to Nieuwstraat and then to Breedstraat 40. This Lutheran church dates back to 1843 and has some monumental items inside their church, like a pulpit that dates back to 1735. After admiring this church, we’re headed to the Stadsgevangenis or city prison of Enkhuizen. It was built in 1612, and the 17th-century cells are still found inside the prison, including torture devices. It can even be visited during the summer months, which is something that I can recommend everyone to do.
We’re going to continue our Enkhuizen free tour to Zwaanstraat and Breedstraat 53. This is where you can find the city hall of Enkhuizen that was designed by Steven Vennekool and built between 1686 and 1688. It was made when the most flourishing period of Enkhuizen had already ended, so it took loans, personal money and more to get the money together to create this town hall in Enkhuizen in the Dutch baroque architecture. People often say that it looks similar to the Royal Palace on Dam Square in Amsterdam. And, it’s entirely possible that Steven Vennekool got some inspiration from that as he was the son of Jacob Vennekool. That man assisted Jacob van Campen when building the city hall of Amsterdam.
Walk to Zuider Havendijk 25, to admire the former synagogue in Enkhuizen. It was built in 1791 and was in use as a synagogue until 1964. The Jewish community of Enkhuizen obtained the right to practice their religion at home in 1734. They soon after gained permission to create a synagogue at the Hoogstraat. Four years later, they got permission to create a Jewish cemetery, and they also requested whether they could use two houses next to the synagogue and change them to create a more prominent synagogue in 1789. Later on, they built this synagogue.
After the French occupation of The Netherlands, the number of the Jewish community in Enkhuizen was decreasing, which took until the 20th century. Luckily, during the Second World War, most people could hide. From the 54 Jewish inhabitants, 52 survived the war. They were supported by mayor Haspels who refused to remove Jews from public schools. The synagogue in Enkhuizen also survived the war. The Jewish community left the synagogue in 1967, due to not having enough members. Nowadays, it’s a Christian church.
Head to Boekbinderstraat and then walk to Breedstraat 82. This neo-gothic church in Enkhuizen is called the Gummarus en Pancratiuskerk and was built in 1906. It was a replacement of a church that was built in 1869. Before that time, a hidden church was visited by these churchgoers.
Walk to Hennegat, Oosterhavenstraat, Karseboomstraat, Breedstraat, Waterkeringpad and then to Bocht. The street is named ‘curve’, as it has a sharp bend. It’s mostly filled with 17th-century buildings, and these houses are the most famous in Enkhuizen. The back of these houses in this street in Enkhuizen is most photographed for its porches in their backyard. It is also said that the 1779 dysentery epidemic started in the Bocht.
Then go to Zuiderspui 1. Here you can find the so-called Spuihuisje in Enkhuizen. This is the building that was made on top of the Spui sluice, which connects the water of the Zuider Havendijk with the IJsselmeer. From this building, this sluice in Enkhuizen was operated. It dates back to the 17th century and has the coat of arms of the city of Hoorn, Enkhuizen and Medemblik. Plus the coat of arms of Prince Maurits of Orange, and the West-Friesland region.
Now continue your Enkhuizen tour to Zuider Havendijk. This is both a street and harbour in Enkhuizen. It’s the remaining southern part of the first harbour that was dug in the city of Enkhuizen. It was created in the second half of the 14th century. It wasn’t a big harbour, but more a place where small ships could lay. This little harbour in Enkhuizen had two entry points: Noorderspui and Zuiderspui, but only the latter remains in its original form.
In 1550, a part of this harbour was filled, which is now the Kaasmarkt street. Then in 1727, the remaining portion of the Northern part was also filled. It might’ve sounded like a great idea at first, but after the canal in Enkhuizen was filled, the still-standing water became smelly very quick.
After that, you’re headed to Paktuinen 1. Here you will find the so-called ‘Drommedaris’, or Ketenpoort. This city gate was part of the city wall in Enkhuizen and built in 1540. It also was a defence tower that looked over the harbours of Enkhuizen and the former Zuiderzee.
Ketenpoort refers to a specific area south of the city of Enkhuizen that could be reached through this gate. At that location, they evaporated seawater to create salt, which was then used to conserve herring.
The nickname ‘Drommedaris’ comes from dromedary, and it is said that this building has been named like that since the beginning. The Dutch word for dromedary is ‘dromedaris’, and people aren’t sure where the second ‘m’ comes into place and why it’s found in the nickname. Some say that the defence tower in Enkhuizen was named after a Dutch East India ship that was used by Jan van Riebeeck when he ‘discovered’ Cape of Good Hope and that ship had the name ‘Drommedaris’.
In around 1649, the Drommedaris was increased in height, as it was only half of the height of the current building before. People aren’t sure why this happened, but it’s suspected that it had something to do with the (nowadays) very famous carillon. When the economy of Enkhuizen worsened, many houses and buildings in the city were decayed and eventually torn apart, and the bricks were sold. The Ketenpoort was also threatened, but it that luckily has never happened.
Over time, this part of the Enkhuizen city wall served as many things, such as a prison, storage space, the first telegraph and postal office in Enkhuizen, a cafe, an inn, but it’s been in use as a cultural centre since 1959.
Interesting to see is also the side of this tower in Enkhuizen where you can spot two anchors. It is said that these anchors come from troops from the Duchy of Gelre after they tried to attack Enkhuizen in 1537. The people of Enkhuizen saw the five ships of Gelre at night, and the vessels had to leave immediately, so the troops of Gelre cut the lines of the anchors to go as soon as they possibly could. The anchors that were left were picked up and hung onto the Engelse Toren. This tower was demolished in 1829 when the anchors and the commemorative stone were placed onto this defence tower.
Now walk to Dijk and Dijk 34. Here you can find the Snouck van Loosenhuis; this is the former house of the noble family Snouck van Loosen which dates back to around the 18th century. This noble family started at Jacob Snoeck, who was the secretary of the city of Gorinchem and passed away in 1466. Centuries later, in 1885, the last daughter of the entire noble family died named Margaretha Maria Snouck van Loosen. She left almost nine million Guilders, which were all placed in a foundation: Snouck van Loosenfonds.
With this money a hospital was built (in 1900), as well as the Snouck van Loosenpark with 50 workers’ residences in 1897. The former home of the Snouck van Loosen family was used as a retirement home for the wealthier ladies and was in use until 1998. This is the only building that is still part of the Snouck van Loosenfonds today. The park was sold to the municipality of Enkhuizen, and the hospital was closed and sold years ago.
Then make your way to the Sint Janstraat, Veledie and Dijk 72, where you will see a historic Dutch building dating back to 1646. Now walk to Dijk 80. This is an old warehouse which possibly dates back to 1565. After that, you’re headed towards Paktuinen and Paktuinen 75. Here you can find an old courtyard, called Hofje van Dirk Glas, that was build in 1792.
Now head to Waaigat and the Snouck Van Loosenpark. This park in Enkhuizen was one of the first social housing projects in the area. It was opened on the 5th of July in 1897 and existed out of 50 houses and one steward’s house. It was built with the money of the Snouck van Loosenfonds. These houses were rent to families, who were behaving correctly, that didn’t have much money.
After that, we’re going to walk to Zuider Boerenvaart, Hoornseveer, Vierbeentjes, Prinsenstraat and Westerstraat 158. This is the house of the market regulator and dates back to 1617. Then, go towards Noorder Boerenvaart, Kwakerspad, Waterkeringpad and to the Koepoort. The Koepoort is a city gate in Enkhuizen, construction started in 1649 and was finished in 1654. The Koepoort is also called Westerpoort and was for centuries the Western entry point of the city of Enkhuizen.
The gate wasn’t very well maintained and decayed rapidly. In 1730, the gate was renovated, and a dome with a clock was added. The bell in the dome was made in Amsterdam by Claes Noorden and Jan Albert de Grave in 1708. It says SIT NOMEN DOMINI BENEDICTUM AMSTELODAMI 1708.
The busiest street in Enkhuizen, Westerstraat, ends at the Koepoort. In 1936 and 1937, the bridge over the canal to the Westeinde was replaced. That is also when traffic stopped going through the Koepoort and was only allowed to go around it. Since 1987, you can see the statue of the ‘Stedenmaagd’ holding the coat of arms of Enkhuizen at the city side of the Koepoort. A ‘Stedenmaagd’ is a virgin which helps to create the personification of a city; this has been happening since the old Greek time.
Now, we’re headed to walk on the ramparts of Enkhuizen. This path is named ‘Vest‘, and you will walk to Waterpoort (watergate) De Boerenboom. This one dates back to 1593 and could be closed with a wooden compartment, which turned it into a sluice. It was built when the fortifications of Enkhuizen were expanded. De Boerenboom is placed over the Noorder Boerenvaart, which is found in the Boerenhoek, or farmer’s corner. This refers to the time when there were living tons of farmers (with complete farms) within the protected city of Enkhuizen.
Continue your walking tour in Enkhuizen to Hemeltje and Oude Gracht 75. This building was part of an estate that was found in Enkhuizen in the 18th/19th century. Now, walk to another water gate called Oude Gouwsboom. This gate also dates back to 1593 and connects the Oude Gouw river with the city of Enkhuizen.
Up next we’re walking to Noordergracht and Handvastwater 26. This is an 18th-century teahouse that was part of an estate, but currently a beautiful home. For the final part of our Enkhuizen free walking tour, we’re going to walk towards Heiligeweg, Vissersdijk, Wilhelminaplantsoen and Staverse Poortje. In 1615, this was originally the only opening of the sea wall that can be seen on your left. The little gate started to decay and was rebuilt in 1833.
Then go to Waterkeringpad and Wierdijk. When you’re walking on the Wierdijk, you can see the old sea wall, which protects the eastern part of the centre of Enkhuizen. It was built in 1608 on top of a lower dyke from 1567. It stands on an original wierdijk or dyke that was made with seagrass. The wall has been damaged countless of times during harsh storms; the last time was in 1916. Currently, this sea wall still protects Enkhuizen and is being managed by the water board of Noord- Holland.
To end your Enkhuizen self- guided and free walking tour, you’re walking to Eiland. See a beautiful view of the Ijsselmeer lake and its surroundings. Enjoy the way the water flows and look at the boats that are leaving and entering the harbours of Enkhuizen.
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I hope you enjoyed this article and will add it to your ‘free things to do in The Netherlands’ bucket list. Trust me, Enkhuizen is more than worth visiting and it’s very easy to explore by foot. Going on a (free) walking tour is one of the best activities and things to do in the city centre of Enkhuizen. Beyond admiring the most beautiful streets, you will enjoy the picturesque spots in Enkhuizen, learn history of the city and so much more. So yes, visit Enkhuizen, you won’t regret it. Share this post!