Marken is an island in the IJsselmeer Lake, the Netherlands, located in the municipality of Waterland in the province of North Holland.
A storm surge in the 13th century separated the village from the mainland. The local people are a close-knit community. The main reason
for this was their centuries-long isolation. The typically Marken houses and the traditional costume are reminiscent of the past. The
dike which was constructed in 1957 once more links the island to the mainland.
It is easy to get there from Amsterdam (via Volendam) and is a nice daytrip if you want to see a traditional Dutch fishing village. If you visit
Marken as a daytrip from Amsterdam you will feel you are in a different world and century. Marken is most interesting for its green painted
houses on the Dyke, its traditional religious isolationisme, its strong football team and its expensive tourist shops.
The village seems like a postcard. They say in summer it can be too touristy, with
some inhabitants wearing their costumes as a claim more and many tourists
stralling the streets. In the month of March, when I was there, tourists were few, and most
townspeople were singing inside the church, since it was was a Sunday morning.
Marken houses were built on artificial platforms raised largely during the XVth century. This type of construction allowed the inhabitants to be safe
from flooding. When most of the high terrain of the island was occupied by housing, construction began on piles of wood, as they allowed water
to pass under the houses without causing problems. When the dam was built fixed and drained the water, the wooden stilt
houses ceased to be useful, so it was gradually closing.
Well worth the walk to the lighthouse. We see that the island is almost completely flat, surrounded on its perimeter by a dike that
protects against possible rises in water level in the lake outside. In March, the island was completely full of ducks, as seen
in the photos, as well as sheep ready for shearing. To learn more about the island and its history you can read this page.