Monnickendam is a town in the Dutch province of North Holland, surrounded by Marken, Volendam, Edam, Broek in Waterland, Purmerend, Zaandam, Amsterdam, the recreational area Hemmeland at the Gouwzee and the nature (bird) reserves Ooster Aa, Kerk Ae, De Leek and Waterland. It is a part of the municipality of Waterland and lies on the eastern seaboard of the coast of the IJsselmeer, about 8 km southeast of Purmerend.
Monnickendam was a separate municipality until it merged with Waterland in 1991. Nowadays Monnickendam has about 11.000 inhabitants. The built-up area of the town was 1.34 km² in 1991 and contained 3766 residences.
Nowadays Monnickendam is relying heavily on tourism. The town has attracted artisans and other professionals from Amsterdam, who opt to live in the heritage homes and surroundings. Newer neighbourhoods were built for commuters.
The main attraction is the old town centre with narrow canals, bridges, streets and alleys. The harbour is home to a small fleet and to recreational sailing.
Established in the 12th century by monks who built a dam in the Purmer Ee, Monnickendam was granted city rights on February 25th in 1355, by Willem the fifth of Bavaria, the earl of the Netherlands.
The city Monnickendam formed its own government with its own legislation, its own jurisdiction and its own governing board, evoking a further growth of the city by building new houses. A church was built on the Middendam, where nowadays only the Speeltoren can be seen.
In 1356 the big extension of the city was started and around 1400 close the current Large – or Sint Nicolaas Church a convent was built with the name Mariëngaarde. In 1575 the battlement of the city was replaced by a wall with four gates and four bastions. Near the bastion at the southern gate (Zuiderpoort) a Jewish cemetery was later arranged.
In the 15th and 16th the town began losing importance as a commercial harbour and gradually assumed the role of a fishing village. The town was ransacked by Frisian marauders in 1297; three centuries later, the Gueux plundered the town which had barely survived two devastating city-wide fires in 1494 and 1514.
Sights in the Monnickendam area
- Weigh House (17th century)
- 16th century tower (Speeltoren, originally part of a church) with a music box clock and figurines and a 18 bell carillon
- St. Nicholas Church dates from 15th century
- Old city hall from 1764, while the regional hall dates back to the early 17th century
- Museum Speeltoren with a collection of decorative tiles and majolica; historical finds and exhibition on local history
Famous sons and daughters:
Hermann Jung (about 1608-1678) was a famous Lutheran theologian and preacher in Monnickendam, a friend of Jan Amos Comenius and a correspondent of Philipp Jakob Spener. He was an early representative of the Lutheran pietism in the Netherlands.
Also known are the 19th Century politician prof. Jacob Domela Nieuwenhuis and 19th century zoologist prof. Coenraad Kerbert. Wendelmoet Claes daughter was the first female martyr during the reformation, who was burned on the stake in 1527 in The Hague.