Hoorn makes an attractive day trip from Amsterdam because of its colorful history and charming village atmosphere.

Hoorn was mightily enriched because its harbor was a key hub for the Dutch East India Co. The company's men circled the globe, and one, a Hoorn native, named the tip of South America for his hometown; we know it as Cape Horn.

Visitors can stroll around Hoorn's quaint harbor and along canals for a good look at redbrick, gabled row houses; the oldest date from the late 16th century.

A few historical churches are on view, too, as well as museums. There is a 1609 weigh house and a 16th-century tower called Hoofdtoren. The remnant of old fortifications, the tower still guards the harbor entrance, just not in the military sense. Both buildings are restaurants now.

Founded in 1357, Hoorn is still one of the Netherlands' richest ports.

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