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Photo: Madelon Dielen
Photo: Erik en Petra Hesmerg
Telling the story of a rich culture TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: ZUIDERZEE MUSEUM
What was life like around the Zuiderzee – now IJsselmeer and Markermeer – between 1880 and 1930? How did the people on the shores of the former inland sea work, eat, and live? The Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen answers these questions by bringing the fascinating story of this region’s former inhabitants alive. “When the Afsluitdijk (IJsselmeer Barrier Dam) was built in 1932 and residents of the area had to move elsewhere, their culture seemed likely to disappear,” begins Bianca van Putten, marketing and communication advisor at the museum. “The Zuiderzee Museum has preserved and revived this rich culture, passing on the history of its people.” The Zuiderzee Museum comprises an Outdoor and Indoor Museum. The openair section covers 15 acres and accommodates authentic buildings from the former Zuiderzee region, allowing you to literally take a walk through history. There is a church, a fish-curing shed, a mill, a
cheese warehouse, and dwelling houses from the surrounding fishing villages. “The buildings were transported – some as a whole, some in fragments – from the little villages at the Ijsselmeer. They are the real buildings in which people worked, prayed, and slept.” At the Outdoor Museum, visitors can help craftspeople in the harbour making nets, give the housemaid a hand, or have a conversation with the ‘inhabitants’ from the former island of Urk. Emphasising its focus on traditional trades and crafts, the Zuiderzee Museum allows visitors to develop their creativity and artisanal skills at its ‘Handmade’ workshops dedicated to skills such as sailmaking, forging, making baskets, or smoking fish. There is also space for modern design among the historic settings: a number of presentations offer a modern interpretation of the traditional crafts, materials and themes. The Indoor Museum is the treasure chamber of the Zuiderzee. Temporary exhibitions present the rich collection of the museum, while the exhibition Journey around
the Zuiderzee displays highlights of the personal stories of life in villages around the former Zuiderzee. With history, photography, traditional costume, design and a fun and educational family exhibition, the Indoor Museum speaks to all. As part of the Handmade theme, the museum organises special craft weekends, with a weekend each month being devoted to a specific craft. The steam weekend (16 and 17 September) will bring the oldest, and still-functioning, steam locomotive to the Zuiderzee Museum. As if you needed yet another reason to discover this great piece of history and heritage.
Photo: Frank Bedijs
Issue 45 | September 2017 | 45
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.