Volendam is one of the former fishery towns along the IJsselmeer lake (formerly called Zuiderzee). In 1932, what was once the sea, was closed off with a long dike (the Afsluitdijk). From then on, the water was called the IJsselmeer, and the Volendammers could no longer live off fishery.
Ever since, they made a successful living with tourism: especially in the weekends, the street Haven in Volendam is packed with tourists from all over the world. They are usually brought by tour buses, but you can also go there on your own.
Especially along the water front, everything is about tourism. Souvenir shops abound, and if you buy something to eat, chances are you are being served by a lady in traditional Volendam costume. Yes, on wooden shoes.
The main things to see: the town itself, along the water front. This is lined with the typical wooden houses, making a nice picturesque view. At the back of these houses, behind the dike, you can find the remnants of a maze of narrow streets.
Second, hotel Spaander is worth having a look at. It has a large collection of old paintings, collected in its history of letting artist pay with a painting, if they didn't have the money to pay the bill. Spaander is still a hotel, and you can also have a drink and something to eat inside.
Third, Volendam has a museum, showing the history of the village. Located at the back side of the row of houses along the Dijk, it is a lot quieter. It is worth a look - here you can see old interiors, traditional costumes and some old film footage about Volendam. This includes a short piece of film showing American superstar Josephine Baker visiting Volendam, dancing on wooden shoes, in traditional Volendam Costume.
Souvenir shop in Volendam
The Haven in Volendam