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? All photos are mine.