Treasures of Hoorn, a waterfront town in The Netherlands

Boats of Hoorn, The Netherlands

If you ask us, every town we visit has treasures of its own. But since we had never heard of Hoorn, we weren’t expecting the historic and nautical treasures awaiting us in this small town about 45 minutes from Amsterdam.

Entry to Hoorn, The Netherlands

When you’re on a Viking tour — well, maybe any river cruise for that matter — you stop where it’s convenient to add a stop. At times, we’ve disembarked to see only one major cathedral or town hall or windmill, as it were.

Flying Dutchman, Hoorn, Netherlands
Our guide jokingly referred to this weathervane as the “flying Dutchman” but we think the name fits quite well!

But not this time. Hoorn (pronounced “hor-en”) exceeded all expectations and it’s a stop we’d add to anyone’s itinerary when traveling through The Netherlands.

Named for its horn-shaped harbor, this charming 17th century town sits at the edge of the IJsselmeer, a lake filled with vintage and new sailing and fishing boats as well as shops, residences, and historic buildings.

For us, the real treasure is the architecture, those step-gabled rooflines and brick facades adorned with small vignettes, signs, and interesting doorways. We found ourselves alerting each other with “Oh, look at this one” or the combination of jabbing and pointing to share yet another find.

We listened closely to our tour guide as she pointed out other notable sights, but, per usual, we’ve forgotten much of what we heard. Today, we look longingly at the photos and wish we could have a do-over in this sweet town by the sea.

Speaking of the waterfront, a second category of treasures to be savored lies in the assemblage of historic seaworthy vessels. The phrase “they don’t make ’em like that anymore” came up more than once, as we took turns pointing out nautical gems we didn’t want to miss.

Masts in the waters of Hoorn, The Netherlands
Looking through the masts at the charming town of Hoorn
Hoorn, Netherlands: waiting to sail
Ready for a day of sailing

If you’re visiting Holland, put Hoorn on your list of places to see for authentic Dutch architecture and a museum-like harbor. It’s worth at least a half-day or full day, especially if you like sitting outside or strolling leisurely while taking in the view.

Travel Holland,

Rusha & Bert

Note: Thanks to all of you who sent messages concerning my rotator cuff surgery and resulting time off from blogging. I’m much better but confined to using my left hand mostly as I regain strength and begin therapy four weeks from now. I’m connecting this post to Aletta’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #206 this week since this town fits the category well. But go to her site to see more entries on what people love. For us, our time in The Netherlands was some of the best we’ve spent abroad, mainly because of the architecture, art, harbors, and people. It’s a country we could return to again and again.

This post is one in a series prompted by a recent trip to The Netherlands and Belgium. Thank you to Viking cruises (Holland & Belgium 2022) and our travel agent, Lauren Gunnels of Ortelius Travel Advisors, for the arrangements and free time to enjoy the scenery!

12 thoughts on “Treasures of Hoorn, a waterfront town in The Netherlands

  1. WanderingCanadians

    It’s neat that they even designed the harbour to be in the shape of a horn. The buildings look beautiful. They definitely don’t make houses or boats like that anymore! P.S. Glad to hear that you’re feeling better from your surgery. All the best with the recovery.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks so much. I’m getting better each day. Glad to be able to type, etc. with my right hand!
      Hoorn was a surprising find, and so indicative of all we had thought Holland would look like. Would enjoy a long weekend there!

  2. Toonsarah

    What an attractive small town – I would have such fun taking photos here! Glad to hear you are recovering well from the surgery 🤗

  3. Leya

    Looks great! I have been quite some times in Holland, but never in Hoorn! On my list now. Loved the ships and the flying dutchman! Happy to hear your surgery went well too – speedy recovery.

  4. Aletta - nowathome

    Rusha and Bert thank you for sharing this lovely gem of a town you have visited! I love the architecture and the historic seaworthy vessels. I had a good laugh at the flying Dutchman too! 😀 PS: Glad your rotator cuff surgery went well and that you are on the way to full recovery!

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