Springtime in Holland

Day 4 - Hoorn, Rode Steen and Grote Nord

Some of the C16th and C17th buildings in the Rode Steen and Grote Nord area of Hoorn

Hoorn is about 15 minutes drive from Enkhuisen and a courtesy coach was provided for people wishing to visit Hoorn.

In the C17th Hoorn was a very wealthy town and one of the ports used by the Dutch East India Company, which traded all round the world. The brick houses built at the time reflect the prosperity of the merchants. Many have small decorative carvings on the walls.

Hoorn    Hoorn

Hoorn’s fortunes declined during the C18th and it relied on the fishing fleet for its prosperity. Following the Napoleonic Wars, it turned its back on the sea and focused on agricultural produce and cattle, becoming the market centre for the surrounding area. After the completion of the great  dyke across the Markermeer and Ijsselmeer, it lost its access to sea borne trade. The harbour areas are now used as a marina for sailing ships.



During the 1960s, Hoorn was designated as an ‘overflow’ city and is now a commuter town for Amsterdam, with a lot of modern development around the edges of the town.

The town centre is compact with many C16th and C17th buildings around Roode Steen, the main square.  This is dominated by De Waag, the weighing house built in 1609 and where the cheese was weighed.



Opposite is the Statencollege, the former town hall, built in 1632 and now part of the Westfries Museum next to it.

Hoorn  Hoorn

There are some lovely old houses along the streets radiating out from Rode Steen. These are on Grote Nord, which is one of the main shopping streets.


Hoorn Hoorn Hoorn

The houses were built on wooden piles sunk through teh clay soil to firmer ground below. Over the years, some of the piles have begun to subside leaving many buildings looking decidedly lopsided as can be seen in the picture on the right.

Ramen running between Grote Nord and Nieuwstraat is mainly residential, as are Kuil and Acteron, the streets behind the Westfries Museum.




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