The name Medemblik probably comes from the river Leeck or Middel-Leeck; as early as the 10th century, a stream is called the Medemalaca. Medemblik is the smallest, but also the oldest city in West Friesland on the former Zuiderzee. Excavations have shown that Medemblik already existed as an inhabited place for a long time, when Floris V set up his forced castle against the West Frisians to be subjugated. Medemblik received city rights in 1289 from Count Floris V, who according to tradition built Radboud Castle on the remains of a castle founded in the seventh or eighth century. The castle has endured many an enemy attack. In 1426 the castle was a battle scene for the Hoekse and Kabeljauwse Twisten. The first port in Medemblik was dug parallel behind the east-west running seawall. The Oosterhaven was dug in 1599 and the Westerhaven around 1632. Wharfs, ramps and a naval yard were built on the West Island, which later became a training institute for the navy. In 1850 the training institute was moved to Den Helder and the building, which is still called Landswerf, became a state mental institution. Now it is in use as a youth housing building. In 1872, the Pekelharinghaven had largely silted up and the municipality decided to fill in the remaining part. The port was initially used as agricultural land, in 1930 it was decided to convert the port into a sports field and in 1989 the port became water again for water sports.
In the 16th century Medemblik was hit by many disasters. In 1517 Grote Pier came to Medemblik to loot and set fire to the city. In 1555, a huge city fire broke out in which the church, apart from the tower, the nearby monasteries and the city archives went up in flames. In 1572 Alva tried in vain to encamp his soldiers in Medemblik, but the city was eventually forced to surrender. In 1588 the city was besieged again. In 1799 the Batavian-English war was raging. When the English retreated, the ships were set on fire in the harbor. The city was threatened by the sea several times. In 1929 there was a big change in the population. The construction of the Afsluitdijk and the draining of the Wieringermeerprovided a lot of work for young men from all over the country. Many of them continued to live there. However, this period did not bring the economic growth that was expected. Nowadays the focus is mainly on strengthening the position of Medemblik by promoting tourism. Medemblik is known worldwide as a water sports center.