Hoorn. Once a thriving port and trading city from which the world was discovered, now a cosmopolitan city by the water where one can enjoy life. Whether you’re looking for culture, nature, shopping, or good food, you can find it all in Hoorn.Its rich history dates back long before the “golden” 17th century, and you can still see that in the cityscape today. Nowadays, Hoorn is a popular tourist destination because of its historic buildings, not to mention its beautiful harbors. Start your visit to Hoorn at the central square, the Roode Steen, where the city originated in the 13th century. There, you can still find the impressive Statencollege and the Waag from the 17th century, with cozy terraces where you can enjoy a drink while overlooking the square. Next, take a stroll along the harbor where the “bruine vloot” (traditional Dutch sailing fleet) is moored at the Houten Hoofd. Enjoy the panoramic view over the Markermeer, formerly known as the Zuiderzee. According to many sailors, Hoorn is the most beautiful city to sail to because of its skyline and fantastic location on the Hoornse Hop. Want to experience it yourself? Take a boat trip with the Watertaxi and enjoy the stunning view of Hoorn and its surroundings. Alternatively, explore the surrounding West Frisian landscape on foot or by bike, where you’ll come across idyllic villages with characteristic “stolpboerderijen” (traditional Dutch farmhouses) in the typical West Frisian landscape. But the city of Hoorn also offers the contemporary world. Make sure to visit the brand-new city beach, which will become the largest city beach in the Netherlands in the coming year. Immerse yourself in Hoorn’s renowned music scene (it’s no coincidence that we’re the birthplace of Tim Knol and S-10). Visit the museums. Shop till you drop. Enjoy a specially brewed Hoorn beer in the cozy cafes. Dine out in one of the quality restaurants. And, most importantly, check out this event calendar to see what else is happening in the city. Because Hoorn is bursting with cultural offerings, as you’ll discover in this city guide. This is how you can truly experience the best of Hoorn.
The oldest remnants of Hoorn’s buildings date back to the 13th century. At that time, Hoorn was still a small settlement of fishermen and farmers in a corner of the Westfriese Zeedijk. Its sheltered location made it a busy port for Danish and German merchants. The city thrived. In 1356/57, Hoorn bought the right to have a gate and received city rights. Hoorn is now economically independent. The city gets monasteries, churches, a town hall, a weighhouse, and a fortification with four gates. By 1500, Hoorn had 5,000 inhabitants, and overseas trade was booming. During the Eighty Years’ War, the Dutch fleet, with the help of the people of Hoorn, defeated the Spanish under the command of the Count of Bossu. Free trade over the Zuiderzee with the rest of the Netherlands and Europe ushered in a period of great prosperity. This was further reinforced by Hoorn merchant Liorne, who designed the fluyt ship. With this type of ship, the Dutch became the cargo carriers of Europe. In the 17th century, chambers of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and the Dutch West India Company (WIC) were established. Hoorn’s Jan Pieterszoon Coen, on behalf of the VOC, obtained a monopoly on trade in Asia. This brought even more prosperity to Hoorn, but the downside was that it came at the expense of the populations in the colonies. Around 1650, prosperity declined, and the economy deteriorated rapidly. However, the regents and wealthy merchants continued to live comfortably in their grand houses. The French entered Hoorn in 1795, the population declined significantly, and roughly 1,600 houses and warehouses were demolished. The naval shipyard on Oostereiland became a poorhouse. In 1884, the first train ran between Hoorn and Zaandam. Hoorn adapted its infrastructure to accommodate the increasingly busy traffic. Hoorn became a service center for the West-Friesland region. When Hoorn was designated as an “overflow municipality” in the 1970s, its population grew from 18,500 to 50,000 residents in 15 years. The old historic Hoorn is now surrounded by many new neighborhoods, and the city has about 75,000 inhabitants. Hoorn has 1,100 distinctive buildings and approximately 800 national and municipal monuments. With its location on the perpetually splashing water of the IJsselmeer, Hoorn is a city for all times.
Exhibitions & Museums
Kunstcentrum De Boterhal is located in the former Sint Jans Gasthuis (St. John’s Hospice). Because this monumental building from 1563 served as a butter market for some time in the 1920s, it is colloquially known as De Boterhal (The Butter Hall). Since 1982, the Hoorn Artists Association and its surroundings have been carrying out their activities in this beautifully restored building. Program from June 2023: • Until June 25th: Sexual Orientation. Queer Art Productions Foundation organizes the exhibition “Festival Sexual Orientation” to give visibility to the queer community. • July 1st – August 6th: Members’ Exhibition with the theme of Hope. Every association member can participate in the members’ exhibitions in the impressive exhibition space of De Boterhal. • August 13th – August 20th: Intermezzo: Surprise Week. • August 26th – October 1st: The Human. Members and non-members of De Boterhal contemplate the human being in all its facets: vulnerable, raw, lonely, painful, but also chaotic, joyful, intimate, and serene. • October 7th – November 20th: In Memoriam. In Memoriam is an exhibition featuring works by Gerrit Meijer, who passed away in 2021, and Peter de Rijcke, who passed away in 2022. They were highly esteemed fellow artists.
Hotel Maria Kapel
Hotel Maria Kapel [HMK] is an artist-in-residence, exhibition space, and cinema for contemporary visual arts, aiming to support emerging and established artists from both the Netherlands and abroad in the production of new work. Through its public program, consisting of exhibitions, workshops, lectures, and other events, HMK explores the societal urgencies in our shared future. Program:
• June 16/23/30: ‘Queer Clay Club’ workshop series by Sijben Rosa. Join and become more aware of the material world around you while kneading!
• July 7-23: Anniversary exhibition celebrating HMK’s 20th anniversary, ‘Bubbling Under,’ featuring Jawek Kwakman and others.
• August 24 – September 9: Residency program on accessibility by artist Raffia Li.
• October 12-21: An Indonesian Perspective on Hoorn by artists Dito Yuwono & Mira Asriningtyas.
Pop-up Museum Expoost
Pop-up museum Expoost is located in the beautiful centuries-old Ceciliakapel, part of the Statenpoort complex. The chapel, with its three floors, is a great place to display exhibitions and serves as a fantastic meeting place to introduce the public to a remarkable building in the heart of the city. Expoost showcases highly varied exhibitions in all disciplines, from photography to painting, from glass art to cartoons. The beautiful inner garden is also freely accessible and is a wonderful place to enjoy tranquility in the middle of the city. Expoost is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 13:00 to 17:00. Free admission. Address: Nieuwsteeg 42 Program from June 2023:
• June 2 – July 2: Grafiekgroep Bergen and Stichting Grafein: Graphics / Arte Grafica.
• July 7 – August 16: Textiel in beeld: Textile art at its best.
• September 1 – October 8: Hoornse Editie#2: A selection of Hoorn-based artists showcasing their work.
• October 13 – November 22: Slag op de Zuiderzee: Photo exhibition with a maritime theme.
Discover the story of Hoorn. The starting point for your exploration of the city. Experience the multimedia show ‘Discover the story of Hoorn’ at the Statenpoort on Nieuwstraat: the temporary museum location of the Westfries Museum. Then, walk through the monumental richness of the city with the accompanying podwalk or walking guide and immerse yourself in the eventful history of Hoorn. The Westfries Museum is closed for extensive restoration but continues to tell the story of Hoorn and West Frisian culture. Follow it through the online newsletter, westfriesmuseum.nl, and social media.
Temporary museum location address: Statenpoort, Nieuwstraat 23, 1621 EA Hoorn.
Opening hours: May to October: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 16:00.
November to April: Wednesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 15:00.
Museum of the 20th Century
Exhibition ’90 Years of LEGO’ in Hoorn: a celebration of nostalgia in an old prison. At the ’90 Years of LEGO’ exhibition, the Museum of the 20th Century showcases a unique collection spanning the entire history of the toy manufacturer. From the first wooden toys to the first plastic bricks, from building sets from past decades to successful themes like Star Wars, Ninja, and Harry Potter, as well as numerous trains, airplanes, and cars. There are impressive constructions such as the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower, as well as many pirates, lots of pirates that sometimes move or sing. There is a large building and play area where everyone can work with Duplo and LEGO. The Museum of the 20th Century is enjoyable for both young and old and is located in the former prison on Oostereiland near the harbor of Hoorn. The permanent collection is a true journey through time, featuring old interiors of houses and shops, toys, and audiovisual equipment from the past, as well as the development of computers. Free audio tours and treasure hunts are available.
Come and visit Huis Bonck. This house, built in 1624, has been a home and workplace for 400 years. The front room is five meters high, and that’s no coincidence. It allowed a lot of light to enter. The more light, the longer you could work. The domestic life took place in the inner room, with cooking at the hearth, dining at the table, and then cozy sleeping in the bedstead. Have you ever stepped from your bed straight into the kitchen? In Huis Bonck, you can try out the bedstead yourself! Or take a seat in merchant Bonck’s ‘hanging room.’ Nowadays, you have a view of a peaceful marina, but in the 17th century, it was different; ships loaded with merchandise anchored here, and the quay was bustling with activity. Children can discover this unique house through exploration and coloring activities.
Empty Museum, Full Program
The Westfries Museum is closed due to extensive restoration. In 2023, the empty museum on Roode Steen will host regular pop-up activities with and for the city. Check the website and social media for updates.
The two theaters in Hoorn have significant differences but share a love for theater. The Parkschouwburg is located on the edge of the IJsselmeer water, right next to the new city beach. The spacious halls are equipped with all the comforts for a delightful evening of theater, music, comedy, or dance. The annual program consists of a mix of well-known names and emerging talent. Theater het Pakhuis is situated in the old city center of Hoorn, in a VOC warehouse. This small and intimate black box theater is open to all forms of amateur performing arts and often serves as a stepping stone for groups and theater makers towards the professional circuit.
MUSIC, from pop to classical
When it comes to music, Hoorn offers a variety of options. You can enjoy live music in the many cafes that Hoorn has to offer. Additionally, there are fun, cozy, and beautiful performances and concerts every month at Huis Verloren. In the antique theater hall with its wonderful acoustics, it is very pleasant to listen to one of these performances. Manifesto is Hoorn’s pop venue. Its program includes concerts by both national and international bands, as well as dance parties and events for teenagers. A completely different program is offered by the over 100-year-old Concertstichting Johan Messchaert. Every year, the foundation organizes a beautiful series of Sunday afternoon concerts at the Park Theater. The Oosterkerk also has its own concert series in addition to various activities, which is dedicated to the Rachmaninoff year this year. Several renowned musicians have been booked to perform Rachmaninoff’s works.
Coastal Art Route
Enjoying sculptures along the coast of Hoorn is a double pleasure. You can enjoy the beautiful surroundings as well as the art. During this captivating walk, you will come across around 24 sculptures by different artists/sculptors, created in various styles. During a walk along Westerdijk, Visserseiland, and the Haai headland, you can peacefully appreciate this art in the public space curated by Stichting In den Beginne.
In 2023, the guides from Vereniging Oud Hoorn will take you on six walking tours. Please refer to the event overview on the following pages for the dates. In the association’s building, you can also purchase a printed walk with route description for a small fee. If you want to take a walk through Hoorn with an experienced guide, whether in a small or large group, Local Guide Hoorn is the right address for you.
Film lovers won’t be disappointed in Hoorn. The city has two cinemas with three and five screens. At Cinema Oostereiland, you can watch the most beautiful and up-to-date films in a unique location in the Hoorn harbor. From crowd-pleasing films to delicate arthouse gems, and from emerging talent to urgent documentaries, all in one of the three beautiful screening rooms. Vue Hoorn is located on the A7, on the outskirts of Hoorn. Together with the Van der Valk Hotel and Jack’s Casino, Vue Hoorn offers all the ingredients for a pleasant afternoon or evening out. Vue Hoorn has five screens, all equipped with the latest cinema technology and very comfortable seats. Each screening room is also equipped with VIP seats. Three of the five screens can show 3D movies, all screens have Dolby 7.1 sound, and the largest screen also offers the spectacular Dolby Atmos sound experience. Steam Tram Hoorn-Medemblik The Museum Steam Tram Hoorn-Medemblik tells the story of steam trams in the Netherlands. It is the largest operating museum in the Netherlands, and its main station is located in Hoorn! In addition to taking the Exciting Time Travel with the steam tram to Medemblik and the connecting boat to Enkhuizen, the complete museum site will open at Tramstation Hoorn this summer. Here, you can experience the story of steam trams and explore everything about tracks, locomotives, and the restoration of trains and trams that are sometimes over 100 years old before starting your journey. Check the website for information, timetable & tickets.
With the Water Taxi, you can easily sail from, for example, your parking spot to the city center or Oostereiland. There are eleven different boarding points to choose from. In addition to these relatively short trips, you are also welcome for a nice cruise through the Hoorn harbors. This can be done privately with your own group or with other guests. The luxury sloops have easy access and are 100% electric, allowing the skipper to guide you along the many monuments that Hoorn has to offer.
Center for Sailing Heritage
In the Hoorn harbors, there is a string of beautiful historic ships from the fishing and cargo sailing industry. This collection tells the rich story of Hoorn’s maritime past and present. Some of the ships at Varend Erfgoed Hoorn on Oostereiland are available for rent with a crew for short or longer voyages. On these beautiful old ships, you can momentarily feel transported back in time. With all that water at its doorstep, Hoorn is an excellent starting point for a boat trip.
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