The Zuiderzeemuseum is an outdoor museum focusing on the maritime history and cultural heritage of the Zuiderzee, a Dutch inlet near Enkhuizen, north of Amsterdam. Best known for housing the country’s largest collection of wooden ships, the museum features much more, from old photographs to traditional regional clothing.
This 15-acre (6-hectare) museum features a mix of permanent exhibits and special exhibitions that are designed to engage travelers of all ages. A highlight is Ships Hall, which showcases beautifully preserved wooden vessels along with an audio-visual instillation of life on the open seas, projected onto an actual sail. The outdoor section features traditional buildings ranging from a fish-curing shed to a cheese warehouse.
Several tours of Enkhuizen and the Historic Triangle—Enkhuizen, Hoorn, and Medemblik—stop at the museum and may include a steam train ride, a lake cruise, and free time to explore the towns. Walking tours dive deeper into Enkhuizen’s rich history and top landmarks.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Zuiderzeemuseum is a must-visit for those interested in boats or maritime history. It’s also great for kids, as it has many interactive exhibits.
- Part of the museum is outdoors, and as it’s near the sea, sun protection and jackets are advised.
- Both the indoor and outdoor sections of the museum are accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
The museum is located in Enkhuizen, about a 1-hour drive north of central Amsterdam. If using public transport, take an Intercity train to Enkhuizen from Amsterdam Centraal and then walk about 20 minutes to the museum; the entire journey takes about 90 minutes.
When to Get There
The indoor part of the museum is open from 10am to 5pm daily, including public holidays (except for Christmas Day). The outdoor museum keeps similar hours, but remains closed in the autumn and winter months, reopening annually on the last Saturday of March.
What Was the Zuiderzee?
The Zuiderzee, or Southern Sea, was a shallow bay off the northwestern coast of the Netherlands until the construction of the Afsluitdijk Dam in the early 1930s. Just before then, the Zuiderzee was the site of the 6- and 8-meter sailing competitions in the 1928 Summer Olympics. Much of it was later reclaimed as land, which would become Flevoland—the last province of the Netherlands.