History: Already in existence in the 10th century, it grew into a prosperous trade and fishing port in the 14th century, when the town was given market and toll rights and a town charter, making it the ninth of the eleven Frisian cities.
In the 15th and 16th century, it was home to whaling ships, had a number of wharfs and it attracted potters from Flanders to set up shop in more serene regions.
The continued silting of its harbor and the connection (the 'Wijmerts') with the Zuiderzee led to the 18th century dredging of a ship lane but when that proved to be futile, its role as a coastal port ended. In 1875, the harbor was filled and since, most of its waterways met the same fate.

Workum is één van de mooiste Friese stadjes. Er is nog veel goed bewaard cultuurschoon. Langs de gedempte Wijmerts staan prachtige geveltjes en monumentale gebouwen, zoals de St. Gertrudiskerk, de Waag en het stadhuis. Workum is ontstaan langs de Wijmerts. Al in de 14de eeuw verlieten vele schepen Workum via de Wijmerts naar de Zuiderzee en ver daar buiten. Workum had daarnaast een vissersvloot en verwierf met de palingvisserij rechten aan de Theems in Londen

Present day: On the railroad connecting Stavoren (and Noord-Holland) with Leeuwarden and Groningen, Workum relies on tourism and recreation and its pottery industry. It also serves as a limited regional center. Many buildings and houses testify of early prosperity.
Main attraction: The old town core and the artisan's pottery: utility products in green or brown glaze.
Other features: A 17th century 'covert', of a semi-clandestine church; the 17th century Weigh House with heritage rooms and an exhibit on local history and customs; the imposing 16th century, unfinished St. Gertrudis Church and bell tower; the 16th century Town Hall, refitted in the 18th century; many other 16th and 17th century houses, most with step gables; the pottery of Sikke Doting; the historic wharf 'De Hoop'; the 19th century St. Werenfridus Church with the adjacent Museum of Church Art; the museum of local painter Jopie Huisman.