Broek in Waterland was originally a fishermen's village, and for that reason its church is dedicated to St. Nicolas, the patron saint of seafarers. From the mid 16th century, however, this economic activity was rapidly replaced by stock farming and the production of dairy, for which many houses were extended with an adjoining stable on the back side. The dairy products were transported to Amsterdam by boat. The harbour thus remained vital for the village, and is still characteristic of Broek en Waterland. In the 17th and 18th century, this town was a wealthy place where many impressive houses were built for local families.
For centuries, the picturesque nature of the village was known even outside the Netherlands and it was praised for its cleanliness. From the 17th century, the town was a popular tourist destination for people from nearby Amsterdam but received foreign guests as well. Napoleon famously came to visit here. Much earlier, Joseph II, the Holy Roman Emperor, visited the village but was refused to enter a farm, allegedly because the woman of the house had no time.
The village itself is small and best explored on foot. A bike tour is a good way to explore both the town and its direct surrounding. To rent one, go to Bike shop van der Sarre, Laan 44, ☏ .
Just wandering around the village will reveal most of its charm to any traveller. More than 80 of its traditional houses have are listed as National Heritage Sites, although most are still in use as family houses.
- [formerly dead link] Sint-Nicolaaskerk (Church), Kerkplein 1. The old village church was built in 1628, after a previous structure had been destroyed in the Eighty Years' War. Thorough renovations in 1989 revealed long lost fresco's of cherubs and fruit guirlandes on the ceiling. The church doubles as a gallery, with modern art for sale.
- Het Beroemde Huis (The Famous House), De Erven 10-14, ☏ . This place has beautiful 17th century wall paintings, which for many years were hidden under layers of paint. Unfortunately, tours are available for groups only, but calling ahead might give you a spot on them.
The large majority of visitors come here just to enjoy the looks and feel of this cosy village. The main activities of course reflect that goal.
- Biking or hiking through the village and the flat surroundings. The tourist information office has information on a good number of marked bike-routes and walking tracks through the region, many of which pass through or even start in Broek in Waterland.  [dead link]
- Canoeing & boat tours are another fun way to see the area. There are routes available online or from your boat rental agency. If you're interested, rent a canoe or small electric boat from Broeker Bootverhuur, Drs. V. Disweg 4, ☏ . From €10 per day for a canoe to €17,50 p/h or €50 p/4h for a small boat, cash only.
- De Drie Noten, Parallelweg 3, ☏ . A small bistro-style place with a limited menu and simple but tasty dishes for a good price. Dishes include entrecote with sauces and salad, chicken madras curry and monkfish with spicy tomato-sauce. mains from €11.
- De Witte Swaen, Dorpsstraat 11-13, ☏ . A pancake restaurant with some 60 different sweet and savory pancakes and the typical Dutch poffertjes (thick, mini-pancakes). However, if you'd rather eat something else, there's a range of salads, fish and meat dishes as well. €5-15.
There are a few lodging options, some of them offer a night in a traditional bedstede, a bed in what looks like a closet and served as a mini room-within-a-room and thus better preserving the warmth.
- Bed & Breakfast De Schaapskooi, Molengouw 34, ☏ . Clean rooms with good private bathrooms and a nice view. Breakfast is served in your room and included in the price. from €90 for a double.
- Bed & Breakfast De Bedstede, Laan 38, ☏ . Here you not only stay in a monumental building, but you'll feel you've stepped back in time. Rooms are simple but have lots of antique furniture and decorations, the beds are traditional closet-style beds. €75 for a double.
- Camping de Leek, Overlekgouw 8, ☏ . A bike ride out of town, this camping is a good place for nature lovers. There's no electricity or luxury facilities.
- Postal services, Havenrak 33. Tu:8AM-12.30(noon), Mo, Wed-Fri: 8:30AM-12.30(noon), 1:30PM-6PM, Sa:8AM-4PM. Inside the Spar supermarket there's a postal service point where you can buy stamps. For more complex services, you'll have to go to a larger destination in the area, e.g. Amsterdam.
Nearby destinations include:
|Routes through Broek in Waterland|
|Hoorn ← Edam ←||N S||→ Amsterdam-Noord|