Enkhuizen is a city and municipality in the region of West Friesland, in the Dutch province of North Holland. The municipality is located on both the Markermeer and the IJsselmeer. 18,658 inhabitants live in the municipality on an area of 116.04 km² (of which 103.62 km² is water) (1 August 2020, source: CBS). In addition to the city of the same name, the municipality of Enkhuizen also includes the village of Oosterdijk and the hamlet of Westeinde.

Enkhuizen is known as the 'Haringstad' because of its past as a center for herring fishing. The city is an important tourist center (marinas, Fairytale Wonderland, Zuiderzee Museum), partly because of its extensive and well-preserved historic city center. In addition, the town has internationally renowned seed companies and horticulture, as well as a cluster of plastics industry. Enkhuizen is (to a lesser extent) spoken Enkhuizens, a West Frisian dialect.



Already in the Bronze Age there was a settlement near the later Enkhuizen. Archaeological excavations in 2009 include farms and a burial mound dating from 1575-1200 BC. However, there is no continuous occupation.

Middle Ages
Enkhuizen started its existence in the Middle Ages as a port and fishing village. On January 27, 1356, Count Willem V granted Enkhuizen city rights in a short document, based on the model of Medemblik, which had been granted city rights in 1289. This first certificate was drawn up in Dutch. The official confirmation followed on April 4, 1356, in a longer document in Latin, in which the full city charter was recorded.

When the city law was granted, Enkhuizen was officially united with the neighboring village of Gommerkarspel, the core of which must have been located approximately on the site of the current Wester or Sint-Gomarus church. Outside the dike was the "Oostdorp Enkhuizen", which probably drowned in the storm flood of 1421. In 1422 the residents were given permission to demolish the remains of the church outside the dike and build a new church inside the dike, the later Zuider- or Sint-Pancraskerk. Some time later the construction of the Westerkerk was also started, and in the race to build the largest and most beautiful church, it became clear how separate the fishermen of Enkhuizen and the farmers of the former Gommerkarspel were still separate communities.

The first harbor was also dug in the 14th century, of which the Zuider Havendijk remains. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the harbors were expanded and fortifications were built. After a major urban expansion at the end of the 16th century, these fortifications would take the form in which they are still clearly visible in the city.

Flowering time
The Reformation and the beginning of the Revolt were the prelude to the heyday of Enkhuizen. In 1572, Enkhuizen was one of the first Dutch cities to join the Prince of Orange. In doing so, the Calvinist 'hardliners' obtained a fairly large influence. On June 25, 1572, the Calvinist Beggars of Diederik Sonoy, who had just been appointed mayor of Enkhuizen, killed a number of Alkmaar Franciscans in Enkhuizen after torture and gruesome mutilations by hanging. This group would later be called the martyrs of Alkmaar.

As a reward for rallying behind the prince, Enkhuizen received the so-called pile-box right in 1573, which took over from Amsterdam, which was still royalist at the time. This lucrative privilege meant that Enkhuizen was allowed to take care of the buoyancy on the entire Zuiderzee, and in return was allowed to levy tax on all ships in the Zuiderzee.

The 17th century was the heyday of Enkhuizen. The city had the largest herring fleet in the Netherlands, and also had a chamber of the VOC. The West India Company was also represented in the city. Enkhuizen became rich through trade in the Baltic countries, England, West Africa and the Indies. The city had about 25,000 inhabitants, considerably more than the current number. In 1671 the road between Enkhuizen and Hoorn was completed, the first in the province of Holland, which considerably improved the connection with the hinterland.

It declined at the end of the 17th century. The wars with England, the silting up of the harbor mouth and the concentration of trade in Amsterdam ensured that Enkhuizen became one of the dormant quiet towns on the Zuiderzee. The population fell sharply due to the economic downturn. The urban expansion of the 16th century turned out to be far too ambitious, and large areas of the city within the fortifications remained undeveloped. Between 1650 and 1850 the population decreased from 22,000 to 5,400 inhabitants. Between 1750 and 1850, about 1,600 houses in the city also disappeared, causing it to shrink considerably; entire areas turned into pastures or vegetable gardens.

Modern time
After the completion of the Amsterdam - Zaandam - Enkhuizen railway line in 1885 (which also created the ferry service Enkhuizen - Stavoren to Stavoren and the Leeuwarden - Stavoren railway line), the city flourished again. With the construction of the Afsluitdijk in 1932, the herring fishery was lost, although other species could be fished for a long time in the then-created IJsselmeer. After the Second World War, the population increased again and the buildings of Enkhuizen were expanded for the first time outside the 17th-century walls.

The Ketenpoort was demolished for the construction of the railway line, where the Ketenwaal industrial estate was created. In 2017, the remains of the foundations of the Ketenpoort were uncovered once in preparation for new construction on the Ketenwaal. The new construction will not damage these foundations.

The city receives (water sports) tourists and has a flourishing seed culture and flower bulb trade.



Inner city
The inner city of Enkhuizen is bisected by canals and lies within ramparts that date from the 17th century and are well preserved. During a city walk through the historic city center you will pass several authentic buildings. Well-known are the Drommedaris (1540; raised in 1649 and provided with a tower) with carillon by Pieter Hemony, dating from the years 1671-1677, the late Gothic Zuider or Pancras church, from the 15th and 16th century, with a tower in the accompanying tower. chimes of the Hemony brothers, the Western or Sint-Gommarus Church, from the 15th and 16th centuries, with attached librije, with a 17th-century interior and the town hall (1686-1688), designed by Steven Vennecool.

There are also the water gates Oudegouwsboom and Boerenboom (both dating from the 17th century), the city prison (1612), the Waag (early Renaissance) from 1559 and the Snouck van Loosenhuis from 1786.

The Snouck van Loosenpark, dating from 1897, is one of the first social housing projects in the Netherlands. This was financed from the estate of the last heiress of a well-known Enkhuizer patrician family from which the park also takes its name.

Part of Enkhuizen is a protected cityscape.



Peasant Tree (1593)
Buyskeshuis (1732)
Café van Bleiswijk
Drommedaris (1540) (spire 1657)
Koepoort (1730)
Old Gouwsboom (1593)
Pepperhouse (1567)
Snouck van Loosenhuis (1786)
Snouck van Loosenpark (1897)
Spuihuisje (17th century)
City Hall (1688)
City jail (1612)
Staverse Gate (1615)
Train station (1885)
De Vriesstichting
Weigh house (1559)
Orphanage (facade 1616)
Wester- or Saint-Gommarus Church (1470-1516)
The West Frisian Mint (1611)
Saint Francis Xavier Church (1906, not a national monument; closed)
Seawall (1608)
South or Saint Pancras Church (1524)



Bottle ship museum
Zuiderzeemuseum/Zuiderzee Museum (outdoor and indoor museum)
Enkhuizer Almanac Museum on the harbor next to the former fish auction.
Saints Sculpture Museum


Art in public space

In the municipality of Enkhuizen various statues, sculptures and objects have been placed in the public space, see:


Enkhuizen has a number of large and smaller events, some of which are mentioned below.

The Enkhuizen Jazz Festival has been organized in May / June since 1974. Many international jazz bands perform for four days. From Thursday, traditional Jazz can be experienced in various places. On Saturday there is an outdoor program, among other things.
The Smartlappenfestival has been organized in the spring since 2002.
In the summer, concerts take place on a number of Saturday evenings in the Zuiderkerk around the historic Freytag organ.
Even in the summer months, the Oud-Enkhuizen association organizes city walks through the historic city center on Wednesday evenings.
The third Thursday in September is the Enkhuizer Harness Day with a short track trotting and fireworks. Since 2014, there is no more fun fair in that week.
In December there is an evening of lights in 't Suud (Vissershoek) and surroundings. Walk-in concerts are given in the City Hall, the Lutheran Church, the Wapen van Enkhuizen, the Drommedaris and the Zuiderkerk.

Enkhuizen is famous for its Hemonycarillons that have automatically sounded every quarter of an hour over the city for many centuries. In addition, the city carillon player regularly plays the carillon of the Zuidertoren and the carillon of the Drommedaris.

Summer evening concerts are held in the city, during which (mainly through guest performances) one of the two Hemonycarillons in the city is played. The concerts are usually (except for one) on the Zuidertoren and are organized by the Enkhuizer Klokkspel Vereniging in collaboration with the municipality and the City carillonneur.