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Rond de Dokkumer Ee
The Dokkumer Ee, which runs from Leeuwarden to Dokkum, consisted of two separate drainage streams long ago. The artificial, dug connection between the two streams is still recognizable in the straight part of the (otherwise curvy) Ee between Burdaard and Tergracht. The name of the latter neighborhood also indicates the artificial origin of this part of the Dokkumer Ee. After connecting the two parts, the shipping function became increasingly important. For the sake of shipping, people had to "slat" the waterway regularly (dredging, deepening). To this day, the Dokkumer Ee, as part of the upright mast route between the Frisian Lakes and the Wadden Sea, forms an important connection, especially for recreational boating.
On both sides of the Dokkumer Ee is the characteristic mound landscape: vast meadows, seemingly randomly placed mills, scattered farms, here and there some trees and of course the many picturesque terp (mound) villages. A number of them west of Dokkum are known as ’Flieterpen’: Lichtaard, Reitsum, Ginnum, and Jannum. The Church Museum is located in the thirteenth-century church of the latter village. The collection of medieval sarcophagi is one of the largest in Europe. A little further north lies the mound of Hegebeintum, the highest in the Netherlands (8.80 m above sea level). At the mound there is an information center.
Several monasteries used to be in the area. Just west of Sybrandahûs was Klaarkamp, the first Cistercian monastery in the north of the Netherlands, from where numerous other monasteries were founded. At Bartlehiem, the illustrious village on the "Eleven Cities Route", stood the Bethlehem monastery, from which the village takes its name. Nothing remains of the monasteries themselves. In some cases, the monastery grounds are still clearly recognizable in the landscape. This applies, for example, to Klaarkamp and Foswert, a former monastery south of Ferwert.
The area around the Dokkumer Ee has a lot to offer for anyone interested in the history of churches and monasteries. Due to the many small roads, it is also an area that can be explored by bike. But perhaps you will experience the beautiful, wide landscape with its mounds, mills and church towers best on foot. Landschapsbeheer Friesland has also described a number of beautiful walking routes in this area under the name "Historische Wandelpaden" (Historical Walking Paths).