A sea that was no longer a sea. Water that became land.
It happened in 1932. With the inauguration of the barrier dam or Afsluitdijk that year, the Zuiderzee (Southern Sea, in Dutch) was finally cut off from the North Sea and as of that moment, it ceased to be a zee (sea, in Dutch) and became a meer (lake, in Dutch); the Ijsselmeer was born.
|The Ijsselmeer, former Zuiderzee, seen from Enkhuizen.|
|Arriving at the outdoor part of the Zuiderzee Museum by boat.|
After a lot of planning and hard work, the Zuiderzee museum became a reality in 1948.
In the beginning, only the indoor section of the museum was open to the public. The outdoor section -an ambitious project to recreate a typical Zuiderzze community with a fishing village, a city canal with its typical houses, shops and important buildings; a polder, and a harbour- took many years to complete and it finally opened in 1983.
First, water had to become land, and a peninsula was created in the Ijsselmeer by piling up sand on the seabed. Then the village had to be designed and built, and the people of the Zuiderzeemuseum had to search high and low to find the appropriate houses and buildings that would recreate not only the geographical and architectural, but also the social environment typical of the region.
|The ferry boat that takes visitors from the jetty to the peninsula where the museum is located. In the background, the chimneys of the lime kilns (ovens) of the museum.|
The process of recreating the lifestyle and culture of the former Zuiderzee region took much more than just transporting old houses from cities like Kampen or Harderwijk for example, and reassembling them at the museum site.
Old plans of towns and villages around the Zuiderzee were used to recreate as accurately as possible, a typical community at the turn of the 20th century. Ditches and canals were digged, streets were paved, neighbourhoods were built and important historical buildings that could not be taken apart in their original location -like the school from Kollum or the boathouse, for example- were replicated. Every section of the new living village was carefully planned and even a polder was created between the town canal and the fishing village.
Today the Zuiderzeemuseum consists of two sections: the buiten- (outdoor) and the binnenmuseum (indoor museum).
|Very young "cheese-makers" were having trouble loading the cheese to be transported.|
|With my dad at the cooper's, trying some barrels on. I chose an oversized one and my dad a very small one - it was so snug that I was afraid he'd not be able to get out of it!|
In the outdoor section of the Zuiderzeemuseum you can stroll down the streets of a typical town with its characteristic buildings, like the church, the school, the post office or the farmers' bank; there are craftsmen's warehouses such as the sail maker's, the blacksmith's and the barrel maker's.
A number of typical turn of the century shops were replicated too; there is a photography shop where you can have your photo taken in the typical attire; there are also a sweet shop, a barber's and a chemist's.
Visitors can go into the different buildings or houses and admire period furniture and see old machinery at work. Volunteers from the museum often do demonstrations of the different crafts that were traditional in the region, to give an idea of what life was like in a typical Zuiderzee community.
|One of the relocated houses in the museum. Real families lived there for generations.|
|A typical dining-room set for lunch at the boat-maker's.|
|Fish curing was a traditional occupation in the Zuiderzee region.|
|The greenhouse of one of the relocated farm houses in the outdoor museum.|
|A vegetable garden of a typical Zuiderzee farm.|
There is a fast-food restaurant -the Amsterdam House- and a pub, -café Hindelopen- where you can have a drink or have a quick lunch if you get hungry.
Take into account that the outdoor section of the museum is not open during the winter period. This year (2012), it will be open from 31 March to 28 October.
The indoor part of the museum, on the other hand, is open all the year round, from 10:00 to 17:00. You can buy the tickets online from their website if you want; the entrance ticket includes the ferry boat trip from the harbour in Enkhuizen to the outdoor museum.
|A classroom in the style of the early 20th century.|
|The hallway of the school with the children's wooden shoes lined up outside the classroom.|
|There had to be a windmill in the outdoor museum, of course.|