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.
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.
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.
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.
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!