Good food, a glass of wine and the sound of water lapping around you. You don't need more to feel happy and content. And the hospitality in Medemblik is included for free! So step on board, take off your coat and stay for a while. Cosy!
"Wie heb ut". This West Frisian statement is perfect for a day like this. We are on board the Fortuna owned by skipper and harbour resident Paul Kruisbrink. His guests wholeheartedly agree that Medemblik has it. Or to put it more strongly: "Medemblik has it all," says Marcel Hanenberg, slightly mesmerised, as he gazes across the water in the Oosterhaven.
Marcel is harbour master of the Regatta Center and is enjoying a drink today with his colleagues Peter Vroonland from the Westerhaven and Ivonne Kirschbaum from Stadshavens Medemblik, which also includes the Oosterhaven and Pekelharinghaven. Our city has no fewer than six harbours. They enable thousands of boats to moor here every year. You get to choose here: are you going for the view of the IJsselmeer? Then the Regatta Center is ideal. If you are looking for a cosy atmosphere, drop anchor in the historic city and opt for the Westerhaven, Oosterhaven or Pekelharinghaven. We never feel competitive towards one other because each port has its own charms.''
Without wanting to sound glib, Marcel admits that the ports actually strengthen each other. “We have guests who like to be with us during a certain period and then prefer to be in the city later (the Regatta Center is outside the dike). I understand that. And why not, because you have that option here.''
Then René Waldram turns up on his bike. 'Harbour Master René' is in his red overalls, his trademark. He cheerfully joins in the toasting for a while and is clearly very proud of his workplace. “People love to return here. That's because you feel like you’re coming home. We know our guests personally. Permanent berth holders are stored in our phone contacts." He receives immediate support from everyone, but when Michel Meijer comes on board with oysters, the attention quickly shifts. Attack! Michel owns restaurant Meijers 2.0 at the Oosterhaven and brings a delicious treat.
“Enjoy!” He says toasting with Joey Brakeboer. Yes, he of the eponymous legendary brown pub in the Oosterhaven. Where time has stood still and where his father Jack can always be found enthusiastically standing behind the bar. Joey is the café's third generation of innkeepers who, with no exaggeration, enjoys worldwide fame.
“Every sailor knows Brakeboer. We have guests who come to Medemblik especially for us." Joey has fond memories of the Brown Fleet in particular. The ships for group travel are regulars at our pub during the summer.
"I really miss them when the season is over.”
This season is getting longer and longer. With a tentative start in April until well into October. As the summer temperatures continue to last longer, the ports stay open longer. Events are more spread out over the year as well, such as the Bokkentoer and the Beurtveer race in October. Parties, markets, festivals, concerts: there is something to do in the town almost every week.
Ivonne: “That is also really appreciated. Just like clean toilet facilities and WiFi." Before long, the trays are empty and the drinks are finished. Everyone leaves for their own workplace, but as Ivonne says: this is definitely the most beautiful place to work in the Netherlands.
"Take off your coat and stay for a while!"