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Around Bolsward is a beautiful area with a very interesting history. For many, this is Friesland to the fullest: breathtaking views, picturesque, tranquil villages with centuries-old churches on even older mounds, remains of old dikes, former natural sea inlets. The fight against the water is clearly felt and visible here. Incidentally, the sea was not just an enemy. Thanks in part to the sea, Bolsward was able to develop into a rich trading city. And the surrounding area also benefited from this bloom.
Where nowadays cars drive towards Afsluitdijk, ships sailed from Bolsward to the Zuiderzee 1000 years ago. And further: England, Scandinavia, the Baltic, Russia. The city lay on the southern branch of the Marneslenk, a sea arm that invaded the country north of the current Afsluitdijk. The southern and northern Marneslenk both ended up east of Bolsward in the Middelzee, a sea arm that invaded Friesland from the north. As a result, the city was actually on an island that was protected by a ring dike because of its low location. This made it one of the first larger areas to be diked: the so-called ’mother polders’. This is the largest of the four mother polders in Friesland: the polder runs from Hartwerd to Witmarsum and from Burgwerd to the A7.
Even after the Marne and the Middelzee had been silted up for a long time, Bolsward remained a major trading center for a long time. The city also literally had a central position, which is still visible on the map: waterways run from all directions into Bolsward, which used to be the most important connections with Makkum, Workum, IJlst, Sneek, Harlingen and a number of smaller towns in the area.
Therefore, you can also discover this unique area from the water. But you can of course also go by bike. Or walking. We only recommend the car in bad weather.