City of earthenware and old establishments
Workum is earmarked by the long main street covered on both sides by stately rows of historic buildings. While Workum is not situated on the coast, it nevertheless participated actively in the sea trade. This was made possible primarily through the wide canal named ‘It Soal’, which connected the city directly with the former Zuiderzee (Southern Sea, now the Ijsselmeer). You reach the lock on the border of Workum exactly two kilometres after leaving the Ijsselmeer along It Soal. The stately old houses along the dike reflect perfectly in the canal water. Right by the lock is the old ship yard De Hoop. Ships have been built and restored here for more than three centuries. The ship yard remains a going concern to this day, and with a bit of luck you can get permission to come and have a look at the yard in action.
Downtown De Merk
Merk is the Frisian word for market. It is obvious then that this was the commercial centre for ‘Workumers’. The development of De Merk was practical and well thought out. The city council building, the city waag (a building were the weight of commercial goods was audited) the church, and the buildings housing the former secular and ecclesiastical authorities were built close together. You will also find old hotels and hostels, and the homes of rich merchants and prominent local authorities.