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Cruising Through History and Tradition

The old Zuiderzee coast is rimmed with historic villages, towns and cities. Some have been modernised, such as Naarden with its new town hall completed in 1601.

Many of the towns have historic harbours filled with lovingly-maintained antique fishing boats. Here, in Spakenburg, there are several dozen antique wooden botters, jols and bons dating from the late nineteenth century, all in full sailing trim. These former fishing boats are now used for pleasure and racing.

Also in Spakenburg, some of the women still wear the traditional costume.

Everywhere there are ancient wooden boats, such a in this small harbour in Hardewijk. But there are also many of the old windmills which had been used to pump water from the areas beyond the dikes, converting the marshes into below-sea-level farm land.

Old town walls still stand, and many of the gates remain in fine condition. This fourteenth-century main gate in Elburg has become a symbol of the town.

And everywhere, the Dutch pride and sense of orderliness is obvious. Here, rows of townhouses in the lane backing on an old town wall.

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