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When you think of Friesland, you immediately think of a number of attractions such as the Elfstedentocht, Skûtsjesilen or Fierljeppen. Indeed, these are events with a long and a legendary tradition. They have thus assumed almost iconic proportions and are of great importance for the image of Friesland.

But Friesland has many more interesting and important attractions, some of which are also widely known, but some are also much less known. For example, the eleven fountains that were realized in 2018 in the context of Leeuwarden Cultural Capital. These fountains have since become a popular destination. View and experience all eleven by bike or by car.

Or think of the magnificent Woudagemaal in Lemmer. Think of it as the ultimate bad weather facility in Friesland. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, and with good reason. It's called a cathedral of steam. This is certainly true when the pumping station is put into operation at high water levels. We hope to regularly inform you about this via the events menu. We would also like to touch on the hundreds of medieval churches and monastery chapels in this introduction. Piece by piece silent works of art and echoes from a distant past.

Actually, there is too much to mention. Take a look around in the summary below to which we will soon add a few special museum attractions.

The IJsselmeer forms an impressive border of land and water in the west of Friesland. The former Zuiderzee, definitively closed off from the Wadden Sea by the Afsluitdijk since 1932, is still impressive in all weather types in terms of vastness and nature.

The Frisian IJsselmeer coast is characterized by beautiful old fishing towns such as Hindeloopen, Stavoren, Workum and Harlingen. But there are also picturesque villages such as Cornwerd, Gaast and Piaam, not to mention the larger Makkum. The latter is, together with Harlingen, the base for many charter ships that take to the water with groups of tourists or staff associations. The fishing towns bear witness to the rich history of the area. The world seas were sailed from Hindeloopen, Stavoren, Workum, and Harlingen for trade. Harlingen also played an important role in whaling.

The coast has also played an important role in the defense of Friesland. For example, the Battle of Warns on 26 September 1345 was the most important battle in the Frisian-Dutch War between Count William IV of Holland and the Frisians. The Frisians won with force majeure. This battle is commemorated annually at the monument on the Rea Klif near Warns. The words ’Leaver dea as slaef’ are written on the monument. Nowadays, the IJsselmeer coast is a popular destination for both culture-tourists and water sports enthusiasts. In strong winds, the coast is a perfect location for wind and kite surfing. There are several surfing schools where this active sport can be learned.

Tip: While you are in the area, take a look at one of the smallest ports in Europe, you will find this one in the village of Laaksum.

The leaning tower of Pisa is a household name but the Oldehove in Leeuwarden is almost as skewed. Yet the latter is a lot less known. The current Oldehove has a special history.

On the square where the Oldehove now stands, there was a tuff church around 1100, which would be replaced in the 13th century by a larger church built from red cloisters. However, they did not get any further than the construction of the foundation When the villages of Oldehove, Nijehove and Hoek were merged in 1435 and the city of Leeuwarden came into existence, there soon became a need for a larger church. This is how a three-aisled basilica dedicated to St Vitus was established.

But the Leeuwarders wanted more: They wanted to have just as high a tower as the Groningers in the neighbouring province had built in the years 1469-1482 with the Martini tower. So action was unleashed and the money poured in from all over Friesland. After an energetic start it soon became apparent that the geology was not really designed for the enormous weight of the tower, whose walls at the base are meters thick. Immediately intervened by taking the subsidence into account during construction. To no avail, a crooked, half-finished tower remained.

With the Oldehove, Leeuwarden has definitively lost the battle with the city of Groningen and their beautiful Martini tower, but what a beauty of a monument the city of Leeuwarden has been left with. The Oldehove can be viewed and climbed. Look for the opening times at https://www.oldehove.eu

The Wadden Islands - suppliers of island feeling

The Wadden Islands are the proverbial 'pearls' of Friesland. Four, or actually five in a row. Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog. Texel is unfortunately left out on this website because it belongs to the province of North Holland and this website is about Friesland.

One Wadden Island is even more beautiful than the other. They have a few important and popular features in common, the immeasurably long golden sandy beaches.

A few special phenomena occur when visiting one of the Wadden Islands. At times, It can be very busy at departure and arrival and on the boat, but once you are on the island, the crowds spread out over the island and you experience peace and space. All the more when you arrive at the beach. There you have kilometers of sandy beach all to yourself. Another phenomenon is that you recognize the faces of the boat on the island, on the bike path, or on the terrace. You see the same people over and over again. This makes the Wadden Islands appear large and small at the same time.

Although the Wadden Islands all contain the same basic ingredients, such as villages, dunes, and beaches, they are also different from each other in a special way. One island has more forests, the other has more heathland. One more cranberry fields, the other more meadows, and farmyards. One is car-free and the other is not. They all have many kilometers of hiking and biking trails. Youths especially appreciate Terschelling. Ameland attracts families. Nature lovers and bird watchers frequent Schiermonnikoog. Vlieland has a more exclusive character and is popular with celebrities.

One phenomenon remains unspoken, "island feeling". You must have been there to recognize this phenomenon. It starts as soon as the boat has released the ropes and ends when you set foot on the mainland again in Holwerd, Lauwersoog, or Harlingen on your return. Books have been written about it. As far as I know, you only have this island feeling on the Frisian Wadden Islands!

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