Classic Dutch Town Reflects Past, Embraces Present

Hoorn is a little Dutch town in North Holland about 35 kilometers out of Amsterdam. Founded in 716, Hoorn was a major harbor town and center of trade during Holland’s Golden Age of the 17th Century. Still honoring its rich history, much of Hoorn looks like it did a century ago. We stopped by for a visit and found Hoorn to be one of those places where visitors feel like capturing a photo in any direction they look.

Hoorn’s original claim to fame came from being a home base for the Dutch East India Company. Its Hoorn fleet of tall-masted sailing ships traveled the world, returning with exotic spices, sold at a great profit. As the home to skilled traders, Hoorn mariners had a good reputation for traveling far and returning with precious commodities. Profits from the spice trade served the local economy well when other areas struggled.Today, Hoorn harbor looks much like it may have hundreds of years ago. Still a seafaring town, on any given day, ships clog Hoorn’s harbor. But today, mixed in with facades dating back to the town’s beginning are mixed in modern transportation options, pubs, shops and museums that celebrate its memories.

Throughout history, Hoorn has been a center of activity for the region. A good example of a classic Dutch town on one hand, Hoorn also embraces the present, hosting annual fairs, exhibits and a first-run movie theater.

Not far from Hoorn are a bunch of other places popular with travelers visiting Holland. The historic city of Volendam, the railway station in Purmerend and the city of Zaandam are all close by. But Hoorn has some new attractions of its own too, as we see in this video.

[Image credit – Chris Owen]