Marken Tourist Attractions
Marken is a former island in the IJsselmeer which was separated from the mainland by a high tide in 1164 and is now linked with the Nes promontory by a 2km/1.25mile long dike built in 1957.
The dike is part of the ring dike round the future Markerwaard, the fourth area planned to be reclaimed from the Zuiderzee. Since the decline of the fisheries following the dyking of the Zuiderzee Marken's main source of income has been tourism. In 1232 there was on Marken a daughter house of the Frisian abbey of Mariengaard, which from 1251 to 1345 owned the whole island. Thereafter it was purchased by the town of Amsterdam, and as a result was frequently involved during the Middle Ages in the conflicts between Amsterdam and the ports on the opposite side of the Zuiderzee (e.g. Kampen). In the 17th century the shipping trade of Marken flourished. During the French occupation (1811) the island became independent. At the end of the 19th century there were 17 villages on Marken; now there are only seven in addition to the main village of Monnikenwerf. The principal tourist attractions of Marken are its characteristic old wooden houses and its traditional costumes.
The Marken Museum at Kerkbuurt 44-47 occupies four old lookhuisjes, which instead of chimneys have only an opening in the roof to let out the smoke. The museum gives a vivid impression of life on Marken as it was before the dyking of the Zuiderzee.
Traditional costumes are still frequently worn on Marken. The women wear a ryglyf, a kind of bodice, either dark blue in color or embroidered, part of which is allowed to show. The island is still very Calvinist, and visitors are unlikely to be invited to a traditional winter wedding. This is preferably celebrated on the frozen Zuiderzee, with traditional costumes, music and folk dances, including a round dance by women alone. At Easter there is a lively traditional procession.The costumes on this island, primarily those worn by the women, are a kind of silent language and identify the wearers as maidens, married women, grandmothers and widows. The wooden shoes are decorated for various occasions such as weddings, festivals or painted black for funerals.
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