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 is the largest city beach in the Netherlands. 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.



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Hoorn harbor concerts
Every year, in the first weekend of September, the Hoornse Havenconcerts are organized at a beautiful location with a spectacular stage: the Abel Tasman. The program is a mix between light classical music and light music, with a starring role for Hoorn’s youth talents. Don’t forget to bring your cushion, chair or stool to the quay of Karperkuilhaven on Saturday, September 7, or better yet: come with your boat, it promises to be a fantastic evening. Entrance is free!

Discover the story of Hoorn
History comes to life in ‘Discover the story of Hoorn’. First discover the historical highlights of this 17th century port city in the multimedia show (+/-15 min). Then walk past the monuments in the city center of Hoorn. You can walk the city route (1 hour) and/or harbor route (1.5 hours) with your own telephone (pod walk) or walking guide. The Dutch story in the multimedia show is narrated by actor Gijs Scholten van Aschat. In the pod walks, presenter Edson da Graca is your audio guide. ‘Discover the story of Hoorn’ is the inspiring starting point for discovering the city. (Available in Dutch, German and English.)

Welcome to the renovated theater Het Pakhuis
Theater Het Pakhuis is running at full speed again. Visit the theater and discover the magic of Theater Het Pakhuis. After four years of operating with restrictions, the theater can open fresh again after the renovation. And you can again enjoy local makers, youth performances, the comedy evening ‘Hoorn Lacht’ and the Open Podium. In addition to the program, young people have the opportunity to organize something themselves in the theater, they take over the hall in the Youth Theater Take Over! Keep an eye on the website and social media for the latest news!

Hoorn Culture Weekend
On September 6, 7 and 8 it is time again for the largest art and culture event in Westfriesland: the Hoorn Culture Weekend. Including a theater tasting from Theater het Pakhuis, outdoor film from Cinema Oostereiland, on Saturday of course the Hoornse Havenconcerten and on Sunday the largest Art and Culture Market in the Netherlands. Tens of thousands of visitors come to Hoorn every year during the first weekend of September to enjoy the wonderfully peaceful atmosphere and the countless activities in the city center of Hoorn.

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.

Water Taxi
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.

Museum Steam Tram Hoorn-Medemblik
The Museum Steam Tram Hoorn-Medemblik tells the story about the steam tram in the Netherlands. It is the largest mobile museum in the Netherlands and it has its main station in Hoorn! In addition to making the Most Exciting Time Journey with the steam tram to Medemblik and the connecting boat to Enk-huizen, Hoorn also has a complete museum site. Here you will experience the story about the steam trams and before you start your journey you can discover everything about the locomotives and the restoration of the old trains and trams.

Enjoying theatre and the most beautiful view of Hoorn
Schouwburg The Park is located on the edge of the water of the Markermeer, right next to the new city beach. The spacious rooms are equipped with every comfort for an evening of enjoying theater, music, musical, cabaret or dance. The program consists of a nice mix of well-known names and up-and-coming talent. It is also the place where many children come into contact with theater for the first time.

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Oosterkerk: a vision on glass
A lot has happened to the windows of the Oosterkerk in the past five centuries. Much of the original stained glass has been lost, sold or destroyed. But in recent years there has been a remarkable turnaround: no fewer than four new stained glass windows have been added within ten years! Designed respectively by Dorleijn (2015), Joost Swarte (2022), Frans Van Leeuwen (2023) and this year Sefanja Nods.
It is worthwhile to consult the Oosterkerk website to admire the windows. Not only the four recent acquisitions but of course also their centuries-old predecessors. On many Wednesday and Saturday afternoons in the summer the church is open to the public, there is a book market and guides walk around.

Cinema Oostereiland
At Cinema Oostereiland you can see the most beautiful and current films at a unique location in the Hoorn harbor. From fine audience films to vulnerable arthouse gems, and from new talent to urgent documentaries in one of the three beautiful halls. During the Hoorn Cultural Weekend on September 6, 7 and 8, there is Oosterslag: film in the courtyard. And on November 1, 2 and 3 there will be the Hoorn Film Days again.

Hoorn City festival
The second weekend of June (from 14 to 16 June), the city center of Hoorn is the setting for one of the largest, free festivals in West Friesland, namely the Hoornse Stadsfeesten. For three days you can enjoy live music, dance and theater. The program is broad and varied, with around 100 acts spread over approximately 10 locations, making the Hoornse Stadsfeesten a festival for young and old.

Chamber music festival
Discover at beautiful historical locations how versatile chamber music can be, how moving, how relaxing, how exciting. Experience music from then and now, for young and old during the CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL HOORN 2024
September 27 to 29 and October 4 to 6. Choose what suits you or be surprised during a musical journey of discovery.

The Oosterkerk: Living room of Hoorn
What is it like to have a church as a workplace? A ‘living room’ of over five hundred square meters, where all kinds of things happen? Manager Mark Sijm: “I’ve been doing this for about three years now and I haven’t been bored for a single day. Many beautiful things happen here, literally from funeral to wedding and from singer-songwriter to rock band with church organ. That variety sometimes makes it complicated, but always fascinating. To me it’s actually more of a theater than a church. And what a theatre. Such a five-century-old building ‘does something’ with the artists and with the audience. And of course the acoustics are great. At the same time, there is always something going on, including this summer there will be work that inevitably involves scaffolding. There is always work in church, but we just play around it.”

Huis Bonck
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.

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.

Museum Expoost
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.

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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The countdown has begun…
Saturday 10 to Monday 19 August: HOORN FAIR!
The 578th edition of Hoorn Fair will start again in the second weekend of August. The most beautiful attractions are in the city center of Hoorn. The Energizer, the Power Surge, the Bon Voyage Ferris wheel and the Airborne are coming to Hoorn this year! Also because of the spectacular and very enjoyable overall programme, Hoorn Fair 2024 will be a party for everyone. For example, the Opening Spectacle, the Fair Mass and the Senior Citizens’ Day are on the program as usual, as are the Stimulus Fair and the Family Day. On Friday evening, August 16, it will be a blast again with the most beautiful fairground fireworks in the Netherlands from 10 p.m. on the Westerdijk. On Monday, August 19, it is finally time for the day of days again with the traditional Lappendag! You’ll come too right?! Check the website kermis-hoorn.nl and keep a close eye on the Social Media channels for the latest news.
Intangible Cultural Heritage
In 2014, Fair Hoorn was placed on the National Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory. With this appointment, the value of this historic event is recognized at national level and the fair gets an extra festive touch. The municipality of Hoorn has conducted research among the population into what they consider the most valuable Hoorn traditions. The fair and the rag day were number one. The folk festival is more than 550 years old and is therefore part of the soul of the city. It is important to be careful with this and ensure that this historical tradition is honored. Accession to the National Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory is therefore an additional guarantee that the fair is honored.

Experience the ultimate cinema experience!
Fancy a fun outing with your friends, family or partner? Look no further, because at Vue Hoorn you’ve come to the right place for the ultimate cinema experience!
Come in and enjoy the most exciting blockbusters, romantic comedies or cheerful family films with delicious fresh popcorn in the nicest chairs! Discover it all at Vue. Including a movie experience like never before, with the best sound, image and comfort using the latest technology. You have to see it to believe it!
So what are you waiting for? Buy your tickets, bring your friends, your date or the whole family and experience the best movie night at Vue Hoorn!

Boedijn Music School” Be inspired by music
“Our whole brain skips along to the rhythm of a beautiful song. Music touches our hearts, makes us healthier and has a connecting effect.” Erik Scherder, professor of Neuropsychology.
Be welcome at Boedijn Music School!

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.

Experience music in the Hoorn pop temple
Manifesto pop venue will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2024! On September 9, 1999, the Hoorn pop venue opened its doors for the first time on the Holenweg. The anniversary will be celebrated with artists and bands from Manifesto’s history.
Manifesto will of course continue to organize great concerts all year round. A sneak peek: the West Frisian band Oôs Joôs will visit in May, the LA Blues band will celebrate its 20th anniversary, pianist and composer Marlies du Mosch will give a special concert and in the autumn there will be shows by blues guitarists Danny Bryant and Julian Sas .

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The Hoorn City Beach
Welcome to the largest city beach in the Netherlands on a lake! The Hoorn city beach is located between Schouwburg Het Park and the Galgenbocht. You can swim, SUP, play and exercise, or just lie on the sand.
The first part has a large ship where children can play. There is a large fitness/calisthenics park and a volleyball court. On the second part you will find a beach volleyball court, a football field, playground equipment, 600 meters of extra sandy beach and from June a swimming jetty and a boat jetty. All sports and play areas are accessible free of charge.
The beach is part of the new bank dike, a sand dike that is necessary for dike reinforcement. This means that the residents of Hoorn, together with the 1.2 million people in the North Holland hinterland, are assured of dry feet for the next 50 years. And everyone can swim and recreate at the Markermeer.

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