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Blokzijl; I had heard of the place. But what exactly there was to do and see, I had no idea. When we stay a few days in winter at Landal Waterresort Blocksyl, we are within walking distance of the town. A good reason to take a good look at Blokzijl. Because we already see that it is special when we drive through the historic center on our way to Landal Blocksyl. In this article I tell you about places of interest in Blokzijl and share tips for the area.
Blokzijl, pearl of the Zuiderzee
Pearl of the Zuiderzee, that’s how Blokzijl used to be called. For centuries Blokzijl was an important gateway to the Zuiderzee. And that this brought with it wealth can be clearly seen in the town. A town yes, not a village. Blokzijl received city rights from Prince William III in 1672. Two years later these were revoked, but in Blokzijl they say “once a town, always a town”. And although the old center of Blokzijl is only small, the beautiful merchant houses give you the feeling of walking around in a city.
In brief: the history of Blokzijl
In the 16th century, there was already much activity in Blokzijl, whose name was then written as Blocksyl. Peat from the hinterland (around Giethoorn) came by boat via the river Steenwijker Aa towards the sea lock in the Havenkolk of Blokzijl, which gave access to the Zuiderzee. From here, peat was transported to all corners of the Netherlands. During the Eighty Years’ War, Blokzijl was fortified, in part to serve as a base of operations for troops to stop the Spaniards.
A center full of (national) monuments
The historic center of Blokzijl is home to no fewer than 58 national monuments and 184 municipal monuments. Blokzijl is full of them! On the Bierkade and along the Brouwersgracht are beautiful merchant houses with ornate bell gables dating from the 17th century. Also in the picturesque streets you can see many national monuments. Very narrow buildings with rich stepped gables and beautifully framed front doors. But also larger, stately buildings with tight framed gables. If you like history and/or architecture, Blokzijl is the place to be.
Blokzijl highlights and tips
The national monuments in Blokzijl, along with the municipal monuments, are a sight in themselves. It is wonderful to stroll through the small, narrow streets and see all the historic buildings. One building is truly more beautiful than the other. In the harbor, there are high-water cannons on the quays, which used to fire warning shots when flooding threatened.
The locks in the harbor are also interesting to look at. You have the suation lock, which used to be used as a drainage lock. Today this lock can still supply the harbor with fresh water but it is no longer used for drainage. In the summer, it is fun to watch pleasure yachts accessing the harbor from the Noorderdiep via the lock on the other side of the harbor chamber. Right next to the lock is Café Restaurant Sluiszicht. From the narrow terrace you may have the best view of the lock.
Everything about the history of Blokzijl, the access to the Zuiderzee and the love-hate relationship with the water you will find out in Museum Het Gildenhuys. This museum can be found in perhaps the most picturesque street in Blokzijl, Kerkstraat.
The adjacent Brewer Street has a few nice stores including Blokzijler Brok. This is where the Blokzijler Brok of the same name is made, a kind of thick (sheet) speculaas that remains soft inside, allowing you to cut it into small cubes. Also beer brewery Klinkert is also located on this street, in a building where beer has been brewed since the 17th century.
Grand Café Prince Mauritshuis & Club Orange
Also on Brewer Street is the Prince Mauritshuis. The property served as an orphanage from 1873, and buildings before that time also housed orphans. Today, the building is attached to a former dock house and is used as a Grand Café. In 2019, the left part of the property, which also served as a church for a time, was converted into Grand Café Club Orange. The floor was broken away, revealing the 1928 church ceiling with beautiful light. I can definitely recommend Club Orange for drinks during a day in Blokzijl. Don’t forget to have a nice snack with your drink, especially the bitterballen are delicious here.
Restaurants in Blokzijl
In addition to the aforementioned Grand Café Prins Mauritshuis & Club Orange, there is a very well-known restaurant in Blokzijl: Kaatje bij de Sluis, in possession of at least one Michelin star since 1978. Now it is somewhat difficult to settle down at Kaatje during a day in Blokzijl. You often have to make reservations a long time in advance and a Michelin-starred restaurant is not for everyone. A lot more accessible is Auberge aan het Hofin the Kerkstraat. Still too chic? Then you can go for a bistro-style setting at Café-restaurant Sluiszicht. Something for everyone!
Fun places, villages and towns nearby
Blokzijl is not big, so you don’t need a full day to explore it. Not even with a nice walk through the former town. If you want to do something nearby, you could visit Giethoorn could visit, or the smaller Dwarsgracht. Steenwijk is also a nice place, here you can take a walk on the former city walls. Bad weather? Then you can visit the tropical gardens of the Orchideeënhoeve check out. Or to the movies in Emmeloord, where Movieskoop shows films in small movie theaters. Are you staying in this region for an extended period of time? Then be sure to take a hike or bike ride in National Park Weerribben Wieden. You can also go hiking on the Hulshorsterzand sand drift plain. Is an hour’s drive from Blokzijl, as are the Oostvaardersplassen. You can also get to Urk from Blokzijl in half an hour by car. Get a breath of fresh air, take a look at Urk’s lighthouse and eat fresh kibbeling.
New: Landal Waterresort Blocksyl
As you have already read above, we spent a few days in a cottage at the new Landal Waterresort Blocksyl. Luxury energy-neutral cottages by the water, with unobstructed views over the marshy meadows across the canal. In front of the park is an old farmhouse, part of which has been set up as a reception. There will also be a bicycle rental in the spring, as well as plans for sloop rentals. Very curious to see what this park will be like when it is completely finished! A swimming pool is not on the to-do list, and maybe that’s a good thing, because it doesn’t really fit in this area at all. People who still like to take a dip can visit the nearby outdoor pool during the summer months.
Rent a cottage at Landal Blocksyl
Would you like to stay in this region to discover spots in the area? Then I can definitely recommend a cottage at water resort Landal Blocksyl, even though the park is not yet ready. There may still be a lot of construction going on at the park; you won’t notice that at all in the cottage itself. A playground for the children is ready and you can enjoy the view from your terrace. Moreover, the cottages are currently still very nicely priced, probably because the park is not yet ready. I say: a fat excellent!