Together with the spring coming slowly into the country, we are also starting to leave behind the commodity of staying inside and want to go out more and more. As we have a deal not to work on our birthdays, yesterday we had a day off in order to celebrate D’s 35th birthday. We’ve decided to visit Hoorn, as it is not that far from Haarlem. It wasn’t the first time we’ve stopped at this train station, but back then it was to enjoy a ride with the motor train towards the North of the country (about this here).
The city center is just 2 minutes away from the station and immediately you find yourself on pedestrian routes, able to roam as you please on each way. Small shops and even smaller restaurants are open since 9 ’till 16:30 so in case you are planing to visit the city the mid of the day it’s the perfect time. Almost at each corner a bakery exists – small local places to enjoy nice food and friendly people.
Hoorn it is a rich city almost since its beginnings and this is easily seen in the houses which are composing the old city center. It was one of the six cities with a chamber of VOC – Dutch East India Company, known as one of the first corporations in the world, which existed for almost 200 years (between 1602-1796). VOC is not known only for good things, because if we try to remember a little bit of history it was the company which colonized many countries in Asia and Africa, without any remorse in using violence. Going back to our town, Hoorn had an explosion of harbors in the moment of becoming an active part in the company and it seems like “Cape Horn” is in fact named after 2 ships from Hoorn, which were the first to sail around the South of South America.
It is not only from books/wiki you can find that the city has a lot of history. The old city center is assembled by many old buildings – small or big, fresh renovated or not, but what I’ve liked most are the 3 towers which are still standing near water. What impressed me is that if usually the towers are like cylinders, in Hoorn the towers are in fact straight on one part. The most known is the Hoofdtoren or Main Tower, which is located in the historical harbor and it is used as a restaurant nowadays.
Following the river from the east gate a sunny day will offer great reflections in the water:
And if you look on your right side a building with a special window architecture will be visible through the houses. The school seemed deserted and the gates opened only by half will send some chills even on a sunny day:
Walking around the city it is impossible not to observe the horse with a unicorn horn at almost each old house or monument. This is the coat of arms of the city and it is formed by the horse itself and and the horn of a bull which lost it at the city gate.
In case you are tired and want to be closer to nature, right close to the harbor a big park awaits for travelers. Exactly at the sea, JulianaPark has multiple routes, but pay attention – there are a lot of dogs too. If you aren’t frighten by dogs without a leash than it’s a perfect spot to admire the sea or the harbor.
As used in parks, there’s an area with deer and birds, where you can enjoy a moment of being closer to sweet and friendly animals.
And hey, spring is almost here: you can hear it from the birds, you can feel it from the wind, you can smell it from the flowers!
Some other pictures taken which I hope will make you choose Hoorn for a day trip, there’s also a direct train from Amsterdam Centraal so you shouldn’t miss it!