Marken and Volendam: tourist or identity?

Today, when we went to Marken, I thought a lot about the article we had read about the Marken society retiring their cultural dress and the onset of tourism. When we went to Volendam, I was expecting a small town on the lake across from Marken with their own economy. Little did we know, their whole economy was tourism. This beautiful, small village’s main dock is covered in tourist shops, small museums, and olde time photoshops. This, to me, ruined the quaint and historic experience of going to a small town like this.

When over in Marken, I couldn’t help but think about how we (as tourists) are getting enjoyment and entertainment out of their everyday lives. Tourism has taken free reign over the town, not just in one area. We were looking into people’s houses and walking all over their streets. It felt uncomfortable to be gawking at a normal persons home and life. At what point is it disrespectful or should the people of Marken be aware that this is a possibility when encouraging tourists? Does tourism help a culture/location stay preserved or does it exploit it? Where is the line? Are we encroaching on their lives or are we benefitting them by supporting their tourist-driven businesses? Going back to the article we read, how does the complete lack of traditional dress show the relationship of the Marken to the rest of the world? IMG_0308.JPGAll photos are mine.

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3 thoughts on “Marken and Volendam: tourist or identity?

  1. Marken was a lot different than what I thought it was going to be. I expected the small village and the houses. I also expected to see at least some people walking around in the traditional dress. I agree that Marken seems catered more towards tourists with the shops and restaurants lining the main port to be very touristy. Although I enjoyed the small village feel of Marken and it was refreshing to go there and move away from an urban area, it felt like most of the people in Marken were tourists or people working in the shops and restaurants. I feel like tourism has ruined the historic and cultural value of Marken.

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  2. I completely agree with what Jen said. It was really sad to me to see how the small, beautiful, little harbor town of Volendam had been completely taken over by tourism. In Marken my feelings were only amplified as I simply felt more and more uncomfortable the further into the village I walked. Not only was the main harbor completely taken over by tourism, but most of the village too. The locals who were out gardening in their front yards seemed to be completely unfazed by the people strolling up and down their streets gawking into their living room windows. I could help my self from asking, how do the children of the village feel about he tourists? This question was only amplified after we found out that some of the children still wear the traditional costumes periodically. If the article we read was correct, and tourism was he main reason why most Marken Villagers had abandoned their traditional dress, how does this translate to the younger generation?

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  3. I think that you could argue that this tourism industry helps preserve Marken, but is also helping destroy its unique and old identity. What I think happened is that as the tourism trade increased, Marken concurrently felt less and less real to the local Dutch population, and therefore created a new identity for itself. While this is sad, it follows this theme of Dutch adaptation that we have been talking about. If they did not have the tourism industry, it is unclear how this village would have transformed.

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