This captivating and amazing museum consists of two parts: the open-air Buitenmuseum, with more than 130 rebuilt and relocated dwellings and workshops, and an indoor Binnenmuseum, devoted to farming, fishing and shipping. The two parts lie about 300m from each other. To relieve congestion visitors are encouraged to leave their vehicles at a car park (€5) off the N302 at the south edge of town. A ferry (fare included in your ticket; every 15 minutes April to October) links the car park with the train station (look for the red and blue flags by the VVV) and the Buitenmuseum. Plan to spend half a day for an unhurried visit to both sections.
Worth the trip alone. Opened in 1983, it was carefully assembled from houses, farms and sheds trucked in from around the region to show Zuiderzee life as it was from 1880 to 1932. Every conceivable detail has been thought of, from the fence-top decorations and choice of shrubbery to the entire layout of villages, and the look and feel is certainly authentic. An illustrated guide (in English), included in the ticket price, is an essential companion on your tour of the entire museum.
Inhabitants wear traditional dress, and there are real shops such as a bakery, chemist and sweet shop. Workshops run demonstrations throughout the day. Though varying in character, the displays join seamlessly: lime kilns from Akersloot stand a few metres from Zuidende and its row of Monnickendam houses, originally built outside the dykes. Don't miss the Urk quarter, raised to simulate the island town before the Noordoostpolder was drained. For a special postmark, drop your letters at the old post office from Den Oever. The Marker Haven is a copy of the harbour built in 1830 on what was then the island of Marken. There is a fun playground at the entrance.
Note that while the grounds are open all year, there are activities here only from April to October.
Occupying a museum complex adjoining the Peperhuis, this indoor museum is in the former home and warehouse of a Dutch shipping merchant. The displays include a fine shipping hall: paintings, prints and other materials relating the rise and fall of the fishing industry, and the construction of the dykes. Here too are cultural artefacts, such as regional costumes, porcelain, silver and jewellery, that indicate the extent of Holland's riches at the time. It is a 300m walk from the rear exit to the Buitenmuseum.