You can experience present-day Volendam by strolling the streets, but if you want to immerse yourself in the city’s history, Experience Volendam offers three ways to travel in time.
As our concierge at the Grand Hotel Amrath in Amsterdam told us, “Every Dutch household has a family portrait in traditional Dutch costumes.” If that appeals to you, you can pull on a hul (a traditional Dutch lace cap) and wooden shoes in the famous Volendam stye, and pose for Experience Volendam’s eager photographer.
We skipped the photo op, but enjoyed the guide-led excursion through a high-tech mock-up of an historical household in Volendam. Vivid holographic images (starring local residents) demonstrate just how many people could be packed into those bedstede (Dutch closet beds).
Downstairs, there’s a virtual reality theater where visitors don an Oculus Rift headset, jump back in time to January 1916, and experience first-hand the deluge of Volendam. This was our first VR movie, and we’re happy to report the experience does not disappoint. Despite relatively low-definition graphics, we very much felt a part of the action, from the storm at sea to the rescue of our wife from the flooded city.
Kitschy? Touristy? Yes — but the high-tech elements and genuine enthusiasm of the guides make Experience Volendam worth the price of admission.