MONNICKENDAM - DURGERDAM (20 KM)
The fifth stage of the Zuiderzeepad starts at the Bernhardbrug stop in Monnickendam. You start walking from the signpost that stands next to the big old church in this rustic village. This is also the largest place that you will encounter during this hike. Through a landscape in which water plays a major role: Waterland.
The Zuiderzeepad is a path that extends over 490km around the former Zuiderzee, nowadays better known as the IJsselmeer. In this stage of the long distance hiking path land literally comes together with water. Villages are protected from the water but the landscape also embraces its benefits.
After walking a few hundred meters in a straight line from the church you are already on the edge of the village. Here the first dike is waiting for you. The view from the dike is beautiful, especially if you get up early and see it around sunrise. While walking on the dike, the day literally awakens before your eyes. Slowly the sun creeps up on the horizon, a sign to get your camera out of your pocket.
Take your time to enjoy this incredibly beautiful natural phenomenon, you are not able to see such a sunrise every day. When the sun begins to warm the earth with its soft rays you can start walking further. From the dike you continue your journey into the meadows. First on winding roads between farms, but later the route leads you through the meadows. This already feels more like a journey of discovery and also requires a little more attention.
Keep your map near because you will pass some narrow bridges over ditches and you will have to climb over some barriers that will block your way. These are probably open in spring but not yet at the beginning of the year.
The middle of Waterland
Just before you reach the next dike you will be welcomed by a couple of sheep in the hamlet of Uitdam. A tiny village on the edge of Waterland. Walking across the dike you look out over the IJmeer and you can even see Almere in the distance between the windmills. You then descend from the dike to walk through an alternation of pasture and road to Holysloot. An isolated village in the middle of Waterland with a small cute white church at the center. It is so quiet here that you can easily absorb the sounds of nature. What a relief compared to the bustle of the city.
The last part of the tour takes you back to the dike, which ends at the village of Durgerdam. A small old Dutch village right above Amsterdam. Where all the houses are arranged neatly in a row along the water. All with a raked garden at the back and a boat at the front. Boats that, incidentally, are just as neat as the houses, row by row in the water. You don’t have to travel that far from the city to imagine yourself in a different world.