Urk is a small village in the Netherlands situated next to the IJsselmeer, the biggest lake of the country. Historically the village was situated on a island in the Zuiderzee (Southernsea). The entire population of the island lived from fishing at the Zuiderzee. After the Dutch government reclaimed land from the sea Urk was no longer an Island. When the great Enclosure Dam seperated the newly formed IJsselmeer from the Northsea, the fishing culture got threatend. But the industry innovated and changed to bigger ships which were able to fish at the Northsea. Slowly ships kept modernizing and growing and nowadays Urk has the biggest fishing fleet of Europe. A lot of the ships are in fact so big they can no longer anchor in the harbour of Urk. They are mostly situated in the major sea harbours.
Although Urk is no longer an island it still has the characteristics of it. The population has it’s own dialect and cultural habits. Also the population is very religous, the town has over 20 churches for only 20.000 inhabitants.
the village center is located around the harbour which has a recreational part but also a very busy industrial part. At the edge of the former island is a white and red lighthouse which is still operated to warn ships for the shallow shore.
Other highlights of Urk
Urk has a lot of sightseeing opportunities, here are some of them. For more information visit the tourist information site
The Ommelebommelestien is a giant boulder in the shallows of the coast dropped their by the ice in the ice age. The story goes that all baby’s of Urk come from this stone. To become a father you should row to the boulder and knock. At that point a door in the stone will open and you will be handed a newly born baby.
The fishers monument
in the history of the village a lot of lives were lost at sea. At the fishers monument all the names of those whom died at sea are engraved in marble plaques. At the center of the monument a statue of a woman is looking over the sea waiting for her husband to return home.
Church near the sea
Across the street from the fishers monument is the oldest church from the village. The so called church near the sea is a beautiful building located on a amazing location in near the sea. In the past it had to be relocated because the badgering water made the island shrink.