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Omgeving Heegermeer en Brekken
The area to the west and north-west of Heeg is sometimes referred to as the ’Little Lakes area’. Here, surrounded by green meadows, there are fifteen lakes and pools that are connected to each other via wider or narrower channels. This is perhaps the ultimate Frisian landscape: water, meadows, waving reedlands, monumental farms, here and there a windmill, a church tower or a belfry and above all that typical, breathtaking vastness.
The Little Lakes region is a paradise for those who are looking for peace, space, silence, and nature. Large parts are only accessible to small water sports. The area is ideal for canoeing. Multiple routes are available at the tourist information offices in Heeg, Gaastmeer and Oudega. But even if you do not like boating, you can experience the unique character of this region: it is also a wonderful place for walking, cycling or rollerblading. And not only in the summer, but actually in every season. A nice route, for example, runs along the north bank of the Oudegaaster Brekken. The water, the reed collars, and the underlying polders form a beautiful backdrop with the name Muntsebuorsterpolder.
Oudega and Gaastmeer lie directly on the waterfront and are busy, but nevertheless quiet, water sports villages. Idzega and Sandfirden are quiet and idyllically situated hamlets consisting of a few farms and a church. The church of Sandfirden, where cultural activities take place on a regular basis, has its own jetty. The hamlet is located on the north bank of the "Hop en de Ringwiel" also forms a nature reserve.
Every now and then, until 2014, the peace was pleasantly disturbed by the steam train that ran between Sneek and Stavoren until then. Nowadays there are five pools in the area north of the railway line. The three western form combined nature reserve the Blauhúster Puollen. Most of the lakes here were drained from the seventeenth century. An example is the Sensmeer east of Dedgum. Hieslum, nowadays between the meadows, was once surrounded by water.
The meandering Hemdijk protected the already wet land against the water of the Middelzee. Blauwhuis is located on and around this ancient dike. The famous architect P.H. Cuypers built a neo-Gothic cross basilica here at the end of the nineteenth century, which together with the parsonage, the garden, the fencing, and the cemetery form a beautiful ensemble. The tower dominates the landscape to this day. A tad to the southwest lies the picturesque Greonterp, where renowned writer Gerard Reve lived and worked for a number of years. The village has a unique bell tower.
For more liveliness you can go to Heeg, which is a bustling water sports village from May to September. The distinguished buildings and the compact character give the village a certain grandeur and a small-town character. Thanks to its direct location on the Heegermeer and at the crossroads of major waterways, the village has become one of the most important water sports centers in Fryslân. But Heeg also has plenty to offer non-water sports enthusiasts: nice shops, an array of restaurants, and pleasant terraces. Lovers of nautical and maritime art can indulge in the "De Scheepskamer van Heeg" gallery. And in "Houtbouwmuseum De Helling" you get a nice picture of the traditional Frisian wooden ship types and the rich history of the village.
With Gaastmeer and Woudsend, Heeg formed the center of the Dutch eel fishery and trade from the last quarter of the seventeenth century. The eel was shipped to England, among other destinations. Until 1938 there was even a free berth for the Frisian eel barges on the banks of the Thames in London. With the eel trade, the type of ship (Palingaak) also vanished after the Second World War. However, in the summer of 2019, the Palingaak KYII, after much preparation and restoration of the beautiful ship, made the trip to London all over again. Look at www.palingaaklondon.nl for a report of this special trip and the opportunity to sponsor this public initiative.
Since 2009, Houtbouwmuseum De Helling has had a newly built eel barge at its disposal, with which day trips can be made. For those who prefer a sailing trip on a skûtjse, there is the turning ferry Heeg-Woudsend-Balk. You can take your bike on board!