Enkhuizen is an ancient port on the Zuyder Zee that was cut off from the sea by the completion of the enclosing dam (Afsluitdijk) which created the Ijsselmeer, in 1932. It is linked by a road across the dyke to Lelystad in Flevoland.
The museum follows the tradition established at Skansen by Artur Hazelius (1833-1901), portraying through artefacts and re-erected buildings many details of the life of those who lived at the interface between land and sea around the shores of the Zuyder Zee before its enclosure. The museum was founded in 1948, but its open air section was only opened to the public, after many years of preparation, in 1985. The indoor section includes large collections of artefacts reflecting the material culture of the area, chiefly between 1880 and 1932. Twelve sailing vessels, used for carrying cargo, herring fishing and whaling, are displayed on the ground floor of the Peperhuis, an East India Company warehouse of the 17th century. There are many models, including a replica of the small port of Marken, and a section on cartography.
There are about 130 buildings and other structures in the open air section, now called the park. Visitors are able to see the crafts particularly associated with the region, including shipbuilding, sail-making and coopering. There are fishermen’s huts, smoking kilns for herring, a steam laundry and a windmill. The superbly-restored buildings include a toy shop and a tiny grocery shop.
The symbol of the museum is a trio of limekilns on a peninsula extending into the Ijsselmeer which serve as a landmark for boats bringing in visitors.