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The name of this region is derived from the former municipality with the same name, of which this area roughly formed the eastern half. Schoterland was also the name of one of the constituencies in Friesland in the nineteenth century. In 1888, this district chose Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis as the first socialist ever in the "Tweede kamer" (House of Commons). This pastor, freethinker, socialist and anti-militarist had made a special effort to improve the miserable living and working conditions of peat workers in the area. The extraction of peat soils has left an important mark on the (social) history of the area. And in today’s landscape, the imprint of the era is still very clearly visible.
In order to drain the peat, Heerenveen had started digging the Schoterlandse Compagnonsvaart in the mid-sixteenth century. Over the course of the centuries, this development was continued little by little to the east. Because of the landscape rising slowly, locks were needed. The first lock was situated near to the current village of Bontebok, the second to the north of Oudehorne and the third to the current Jubbega, which was designated as the "Third Lock" until well into the twentieth century. A regular system of smaller waterways and ditches and, in the higher areas, roads were created on both sides of the main access. When giving names to all those so-called "neighborhoods" (Wijken), the ingenuity was not the same everywhere: in the Hoornsterzwaagstercompagnie, the area east of Jubbega, people did not exceed the level of "1e Wijk", "2e Wijk" and so forth, up to and including "19e Wijk."
After the peat excavation has finished, the land was not immediately suitable for use in most places: in the lower areas it was too wet or even submerged underwater, and the higher sandy soils were not very fertile. The landscape looked rather desolate and many residents led a languishing existence. Bit by bit the land was cultivated, mostly by the residents themselves. Because of the small scale and slow development, nature was given the opportunity to recover.
The history of its origins has resulted in a beautiful, varied landscape in which on the one hand the influence of man is very clearly visible and on the other hand nature has again conquered an emphatic place. A straightforward infrastructure and systematic allotment, open grassland areas, small-scale lands surrounded by tree walls, woodlands, heathland. The landscape here has many flavors that can be "tasted" in several ways: by bicycle, on foot, on horseback, by boat or canoe.
The area has two "official" nature reserve areas. West of Nieuwehorne lies the Ketliker Skar, a very varied, more than 400-hectare nature reserve that consists of heathland, grassland, water, and cultivated forest. In addition to a few walking routes, manager It Fryske Gea has also constructed a circular wheelchair-friendly path of approximately 2.5 kilometers. Southeast of Oudehorne is the Kiekenberg and the Tolheksbos, both of which are part of the Tjongervallei nature reserve.
The villages of Nieuwehorne and Oudehorne organize annually, on the last Saturday of September, the so-called Flaeijelfeest (Flaeijel = flail). During this traditional harvest and threshing festival, all facets of past life in the countryside are presented. The event attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year.
This unique region with its socially eventful history, its structure entirely formed by human hands and hard labor, its tangible and visible cultural history and its landscape and natural qualities could actually have been summarized in one word: intriguing! Because who can restrain his curiosity and fantasy when reading names such as Bontebok, Spekpôlledraai, Belgian Quarter, Luxembourg, Prikkedaam and Sing Sang (a road between Bontebok and Jonkerslân).