On the coast of the former Zuiderzee, picturesque fishing villages such as Volendam, Marken, Hindeloopen and Enkhuizen can be found. These villages have become tourist attractions. In the harbours the old fishing boats can still be seen with which in bygone days people earned a living, often under difficult circumstances. Now most of them have been converted into pleasure yachts.
The image of these fishing villages as 'typically Dutch' came into being at the end of the nineteenth century, when artists started to search for untainted rural life. In their works they idealised life on the Zuiderzee coast and thus strongly influenced the image of Zuiderzee culture. The fishing villages became synonymous with Dutch traditions and traditional costumes.
Utensils from the regions around the former Zuiderzee are shown, as well as local costume jewellery, embroidery samplers and polychrome painted pottery. And of course traditional costumes, which are also depicted in prints and a collection of picture postcards.
Paintings illustrate how artists and art collectors imagined the picturesque villages and their inhabitants.