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Sneek hardly needs an introduction: it is one of the "Friese Elfsteden" (Frisian Eleven Cities) and undoubtedly the water sports center of the province. Highlights of the water sports season are the final of the skûtsjesilen and of course the Sneekweek, which is opened with the traditional fleet survey.

But bustling Sneek has more to offer than just water sports: theatre, numerous shops, cozy cafés, good restaurants, music, theater and various events throughout the year. And all in a beautiful, historic ambiance. Everyone knows the famous Waterpoort, but the city has many other monuments. Museums are located in a number of them. The "Fries Scheepvaartmuseum" (Frisian Maritime Museum) offers a versatile picture of the history of Frisian shipping from the 17th to the 20th centuries. The "Nationaal Modelspoormuseum" (National Model Railway Museum) is located in the former railway station. Here you could also take the steam train to Stavoren until 2014. On the picturesque "Kleinzand" you will find the interesting shop of the famous distillery Weduwe Joustra.

Art lovers can indulge in various galleries, including Galerie Het Lam and Galerie Peter Bax. Also, have a look at www.kunstkast.nl if you are interested in arts and crafts.

Do you want to escape the relative bustle of Sneek? You will find an oasis of peace and quiet in the area east and northeast of the city! This area is sometimes referred to as the "Lege Geaën", the low areas. Enjoy the silence and the typical Frisian landscape with its beautiful views and impressive cloudy skies.

The proximity of the Snitsermar gives the area an extra dimension, in terms of landscape, but also for nature lovers. Together with the adjacent polders, it forms an interesting and rich nature reserve of around 1200 hectares. Among other things, it is of great international importance for many waterfowl.

Snitser Âldfeart winds straight through the area. Most villages are connected to this by means of so-called ’opvaarten’ (small waterway connections). Another characteristic landscape element is the "Griene Dyk" (Green Dike). This dike, which runs from Sneek to Jirnsum, was constructed in the 12th century to protect the low-lying area against flooding from the southeast.

Scharnegoutum, Gauw, Goënga, Loënga and Offingawier are also known as the "Snitser Fiifgea". Gauw, Goënga, and Offingawier are tranquil, authentic villages that briefly interrupt the vastness of the landscape. In Offingawier there is a gallery in a characteristic old building with a modern extension. Not to be missed if you drive through the village. To the east of the village, on the Snitsermar, is the popular De Potten recreation center.

The largest village of the Snitser Fiifgea is Scharnegoutum, which originated on the eastern shore of the former Middelsee. The village is beautifully situated on De Swette, which for a long time was the most important connection between Leeuwarden and Sneek and nowadays, as part of the Middelseeroute, it is especially important for recreational boating. On the flag and the coat of arms of the village is a five-pointed star, which symbolizes the five villages of the Snitser Fiifgea.

Loënga has almost been "swallowed" by Sneek. To protect this special enclave against the advancing urbanization, a landscape plan has been made and implemented. Part of this was the digging of a harbor and a sailing connection with De Swette.

The charming villages of Sibrandabuorren, Tersoal, and Poppenwier are located in the northern part of the Lege Geaën. The latter is a protected townscape and very picturesque. In Sibrandabuorren you can still find the former dairy factory "De Lege Geaën", which was in operation from 1891 to 1975. Over the Sibrandabuorsterfeart, the connection with the Snitsermar, lies a beautiful bridge from 1865. Tersoal also has a sailing connection with the lake. All three villages are connected to the Snitser Âldfeart via a smaller waterway connection. The abundance of water provides the yearly scene for the so-called "preamkeskowen", six villages in the area compete against each other in competition with characteristic sailing barges.

North of Dokkum is a beautiful and largely undiscovered area. The landscape is characterized by beautiful views, picturesque mound villages, ancient churches, different types of windmills, stately farms, meandering streams and old dikes.

The coastal strip is dominated by the impressive seadike. This was brought to Delta height in the 1970s (5 meters above sea level). With that, the fight against the water seemed definitively decided. But it is now clear that the dike will still have to be raised in the future. The salt marshes are situated outside the dikes, which are only flooded during storms and extremely high tides. Immediately behind the dike are the villages of Wierum, Paesens, and Moddergat. The fishing history and heritage is still clearly felt and visible here. There are two impressive monuments on the dike at Wierum and Moddergat that remind you of the great fishing disasters that took place here at the end of the nineteenth century. The ancient church of Wierum is almost against the modern, sleek seadike, which produces a beautiful contrasting image.

To the west lie Ternaard and Holwerd. A new dike was constructed here to the north of the old dike. A road runs over the old dike that offers a beautiful view of the old and the new land. The road from Holwerd to Dokkum leads over a few mounds with small villages on top. One of them is Foudgum, where the poet Francois HaverSchmidt, aka Piet Paaltjens, was a pastor from 1859 to 1863. The parsonage is now a Bed and Breakfast.

The coastal strip is formed by an old salt marsh. Due to the higher location, mainly arable farming takes place here. Further inland the land is lower and there is talk of animal husbandry. It is a beautiful, unspoilt terpen-landscape (terp = mound) where you can relax while cycling or walking. It is not for nothing that a Buddhist meditation center is located here, just south of Hantum. The building in the shape of an Indian "stupa" (temple) has an alienating effect in this environment and is worth a visit for that reason alone.

The river Peasens meanders through the area. In 1860 an "awesome great fish" was discovered in it. After a fierce battle that lasted two days, the 2.60-meter sturgeon was caught on the way to Niawier. The meat (and the caviar?) Was sold to a number of wealthy Kollumers. The skin of the beast was filled with straw and can still be admired today in the community center of Niawier.

The southern border region of Friesland is an area full of variety: open grass and farmland, wooded banks, forest, heathland, swamp, and water. The varied landscape goes hand in hand with rich nature and a very fascinating cultural history. Here, provinces Friesland, Drenthe, and Overijssel merge almost unnoticed. The point where the provincial borders touch each other lies ’in the middle of nowhere’ and can only be recognized by a (by the way not easy to find) border marker.

A sand ridge between Oldemarkt and Noordwolde is the oldest reclamation axis in the area. The series of villages along this axis was created centuries ago. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, excavation of peat soils began. For the drainage of the peat, waterways were dug from Steggerda, Vinkega and Noordwolde to the Lende. The highlight of the peat extraction was between 1650 and 1750; in 1800 the peat production around the villages was almost over with. Over time, a new source of income was found in the reed weaving mill, which developed into a serious industry at the end of the nineteenth century. The Rijksrietvlechtschool was founded in Noordwolde in 1912, which now houses the Nationaal Vlechtmuseum.

A long, straight road with the intriguing name of Vierdeparten runs parallel to the border with Drenthe and Overijssel. During the time of the peat excavation, a canal ran along that road connecting the Steggerdavaart, Vinkegavaart, and Noordwoldervaart. To make use of this Vaart-system shipping, a lease had to be paid: one-fourth part of the quantity of peat transported by ship.

In the nineteenth century, when peat extraction was finished, the land on both sides of the road was purchased by the "Maatschappij van Weldadigheid" (Society of Benevolence). This organization was established in 1818 to combat poverty, particularly in the major Dutch cities. Far away from those cities, in the border regions of Drenthe, Friesland and Overijssel, agricultural colonies were established where the "needy" could work, with the aim that they would eventually stand on their own two feet. The Vierdeparten was part of the Wilhelminaoord colony. A little further to the southwest, in Overijssel, the Willemsoord colony was founded.

The Society still exists and is located in the former colony of Frederiksoord. Nowadays she focuses on preserving the rich heritage, which consists of workers’ houses, farms, factories, schools, retirement homes, Etc. Museum De Koloniehof is also located in Frederiksoord. Another very special museum is the Miramar Sea Museum in nearby Vledder. In that village, you will also find Museums-Vledder, three museums under one roof: a museum for contemporary graphics, a museum for contemporary glass art and, unique in the world, a museum for fake art.

In addition to a rich and interesting cultural history, the area also has a varied nature. Immediately south of Noordwolde lies the 100-hectare Spokebos, which contains the Spokeplas recreational lake. Further south, in Drenthe and Overijssel, forest areas are interspersed with grassland, field, and heath. The Noordwoldermeenthe is a heathland north of Noordwolde. Between that area and the village lies the Jeudse Karkhof, a Jewish cemetery surrounded by oak trees, which stands out above the excavated surrounding area. Further to the west lies the Lendevallei nature reserve, a varied swamp area on both sides of the Lende. That river is perfect for a beautiful canoe trip. The area also offers countless opportunities for hikers and cyclists. If you are planning a route near Steggerda, we strongly recommend IJsboerderij De Saks (Ice Farm De Saks) as a place for a short or longer break. This typical Saxon farmhouse was built in 1731 and is one of the oldest farms in Friesland.

In this beautiful area you will find a lot, yes indeed, a lot of water, in addition to the Snitsermar itself, the countless waterways, canals, and pools around it. So in the first instance it is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts! But also for those who prefer firm ground under their feet, the area has a lot to offer. Beautiful views, entertainment, culture, cultural history, nature, peace, and quiet. A good way to discover the area is by bicycle. For example, you could do a Rondje Sneekermeer

Top en Twel is the local name for the villages of Oppenhuizen and Uitwelingerga, which in Frisian are called Toppenhuzen and Twellingea. The area around the villages consists of a maze of canals, ditches, and lakes. Compared with the nearby Snitsermar and the busy Prinses Margrietkanaal, it is an oasis of peace on the water here.

Along the road that leads through both villages is a work of art that symbolizes ’the three giants’, which, according to legend, are responsible for the creation of three canals in the area. Top en Twel also has a lot to offer non-water sports enthusiasts: a gallery, a number of artists whose work you can view (by appointment) at their home and a cooking studio. Also very nice is the preserved tram house in Uitwellingerga, which belonged to the long-gone tram line Sneek-Joure.

To the east of the Snitsermar are the Lege Wâlden: the Low Lying Woods. Due to its low location, it was long an impenetrable, swampy and woody area. The local peat was excavated from the tenth century, but until well into the nineteenth century the area was still underwater every winter. As a result, so-called blue grass fields developed. The ’Blaugerzen’ east of Akmarijp is the largest contiguous area of ​​blue grassland in the Netherlands. The closeby "Ooievaarsdorp-Akmarijp" is also worth a visit.

A little further to the east lies the rather isolated village of Vegelinsoord, which was previously called Stobbegat and only got its current name in 1955. The village is named after the noble Vegelin family, who played an important role in the development of the area north-east of Joure. Vegelinsoord is located in the northern part of the Haskerveen polder, which was only cultivated in the first half of the twentieth century.

Goïngarijp is a water sports village that is popular because of its beautiful location on the "Goïngarijpster Poelen" (pools) named after the village. The Goïngarijpster Poelen are in direct connection with the Snitsermar and are part of the competition waters during the famous Sneekweek and the boating season. Peace and quiet dominate the rest of the year.

The quiet and friendly Terkaple also has its ’own’ pools called the Terkaplester Poelen. Terherne is located on the northwest side thereof. In addition to being a water sports center, this village is also known for the Kameleondorp Adventure Park. Another classic in this pleasant village is the Classic Ships Harbor. It goes without saying that Terherne is also fully geared to tourism with regard to terraces, restaurants and accommodation options.

To the northeast and east of Leeuwarden is a very special area. Hardly anywhere in the Netherlands can you see such different landscapes at such a short distance from each other. Forests, reed swamps, meadows, peat lakes, tree girths: the Trynwâlden offer a lot of variety.

According to legend, the area takes its name from a rich widow, Tryntsje. She left her seven sons a farm with a lot of land. According to the story, the sons each built their ’own’ village around their farms. Âldtsjerk (Oudkerk) was named after the eldest son, Oentsjerk after son Oene, Gytsjerk after Gieke, Roodkerk after Rode, Ryptsjerk after Rype, Tytsjerk after Tiete and Wyns after Wynse. Opposite the village café in Oentsjerk is a work of art that depicts Tryntje and her seven sons.

The six ’church villages’ lie on a narrow, north-south-facing sand ridge. This wooded area used to be popular with the nobility, who had their country houses built there. A number of them have been preserved: De Klinze, Stania State and Vijversburg. All three are surrounded by a 19th century park in the English landscape style, designed by the renowned Lucas Pieter Roodbaard.

In a westerly direction, the enclosed landscape abruptly changes into a vast polder landscape. Here, participants of the Elfstedentocht (Eleven cities Ice skating tour) cover their final kilometers before they finish on the Bonkevaart, which runs right next to the western access road to Leeuwarden. The bridge over the Ouddeel has been transformed into a unique monument for the ’Elfstedentocht’.

South of Giekerk lies the De Grote Wielen nature reserve, which consists of ponds, reed marshes, and low-lying meadows. An ecological connecting zone has been created between this area and the Ottema-Wiersmar nature reserve further to the east: the Bouwe Pet, a marsh-like area.

To the east of Oenstjerk, the transition from forests to the open peat fields area is much more gradual. Here forest plots are interspersed with open spaces, which results in beautiful views from the small country roads, sandy paths, and bridleways.

It will be clear: the Trynwâlden actually have everything to offer for a pleasant stay. A beautiful, varied landscape, varied nature, water and a rich cultural history. And all within cycling distance! But in addition to cycling, the area is also ideal for hiking and is a paradise for riders and (small) water sports.

It is often said that Friesland actually ends at the Tsjonger river: to the south of it are the Stellingwerven, an area with its own character and culture. Here one does not speak Frisian but "Stellingwarfs", a Dutch Saxon dialect that is also spoken in the adjacent part of Overijssel and Drenthe. You can find everything about the history of this special area on www.stellingwerven.dds.nl.

The Tsjonger (Kuunder in Stellingwarfs) and the Lende are two rivers that contribute to the drainage of the Drents Plateau. Exactly between these streams, where the land was higher and therefore drier, a number of villages have emerged. The lands belonging to the villages (the ’village areas’) extended in a northerly and southerly direction to the aforementioned rivers. In the Eighty Years’ War, both rivers together formed the Lende-Kuunder Line, which was part of the Frisian Water Line that runs through Southeast Friesland. To the southeast of Oldeberkoop, near the Stuttebosch, was the Bekhofschans, the contours of which were made visible again in 2007.

Oldeberkoop, the capital of Weststellingwerf in the first half of the nineteenth century, is not only literally the center of this region; the beautiful village, radiating a certain grandeur is also the tourist center. It is located in the middle of the 340 hectare nature reserve Tsjongervallei of Staatsbosbeheer. It Fryske Gea also has a number of nature reserves in the Oldeberkoop area: the Meulebos, the Delleboersterheide, the Diakonievene, and the Bekhofschaans. Hiking routes have been plotted from the village to the various nature reserves. Descriptions of a walking route through the village and a number of cycling routes in the wider area are also available at the VVV brochure point.

The very active village has a large number of events. To name a few: the spring fair, a ’strolling weekend’ at the end of June, an Art and Viewing Route for four weeks in the summer and an annual fair on the last Wednesday of July. There is also an international school for textile technology, art and design (with a gallery; see www.hawar.nl) in the village, a gallery that specializes in ’dog and horse art’ (Nimrod), a chess museum, a deer park, a cheese farm, and a ’1000 animal farm’.

The landscape between the Lende and the Tsjonger is a typical coulisse landscape that is characteristic of most of the Stellingwerven: elongated grass-covered plots of grassland and fields, interspersed with heaths, water, and forest. A beautiful setting for walking, cycling or horse riding. But the area can also be explored from the water. The Tsjonger, part of the Turfroute, is navigable by motorboats and is connected to Oldeberkoop, where there is a passers-by harbor. The Lende is suitable for canoeing. For example, you can rent a canoe at the Oldeholtpade campsite, which is owned by the "Vereniging van Plaatselijk Belang" (Local Interest Association). Three walking tours have been plotted through that association in the area of ​​the village. For the route descriptions, including interesting information about the area, go to www.oldeholtpade.com. In the area north-west of Oldholtpade, the peat excavation began around 1840. The so-called "Holtwolder akkerturf", named after the villages of Oldeholtwolde and Nijholtwolde, was reportedly of exceptional quality. Makkinga is located in the northeast of this region, which is known for the flea market which is held every March from October to the last Saturday of the month. This open-air market is also referred to as "Waterlooplein of the North", referring to the notorious Waterlooplein flea market in the city of Masterdam. "Museum Oold Ark" is located in the village, where all kinds of hand tools from the olden days are exhibited. In this museum, a route description is also available for a cultural-historical walk through the village. More information about the flea market and the museum can be found on the site of the VVV-Makkinga.

The region between Veenklooster and Veenwouden is a unique part of Friesland. Nowhere in the province can you find so many village and regional names in such a small area that refer to the (original) landscape. The area lies largely on the ’zwaag’ of Kollum (Kollumer-zwaag), a keileem (a geological layer consisting of small boulders and clay) ridge on the border of a higher area and lower peat areas north and west thereof. Veen (Dutch for peat) forests were created in that peat area on a higher sand ridge. Zwaagwesteinde (now called De Westereen) is located at the western end of the Zwaag. Slightly southeast of it is Zwagerbosch and south of that is Twijzelerheide (heide = heath). The name Zandbulten (Sandbump) also doesn’t leave a lot to be desired for clarity. All the way to the east lies Veenklooster (klooster = monastery).

The name Veenklooster refers to a women’s monastery that was founded here in the thirteenth century from Dokkum, It was called "De Olijfberg". In the seventeenth century, the Fogelsanghstate monastery site was built and a large park laid out. The farms and service homes around the state originally also belonged to the estate. The village is one of the very few in Friesland without a church. The structure of the village is also extremely rare in Friesland: you almost imagine yourself in a Drenthe village (Drenthe is a neighbouring province). All in all, this undiscovered tourist gem is more than worth a visit.

To the west of the wooded area of Veenklooster lies the scenic landscape of the "Noordelijke Friese Wouden" (Northern Frisian Forests): a small-scale, half-open landscape where the plots are bordered by alder girths and so-called ’dykswallen’. Here and there are still the characteristic, miniscule ’wâldhúskes’, which gradually replaced the turf huts of peat cutters at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The railway from Groningen to Leeuwarden runs through the area, which was commissioned in 1866. The train stops in Veenwouden, which is definately worth a visit. The Schierstins, built around 1300, is a fortified stone residential tower. It is the only preserved medieval tower stins in Friesland.

And if you are in the area, take a look at the picturesque Veenwoudsterwal, which was created just to the southwest of Veenwouden as a peat colony. The atmosphere of the nineteenth century has been preserved here. The trip through the village is the border between the municipalities of Dantumadeel and Tytsjerksteradiel. The village is a great base for canoe trips in the peat area north of Veenwouden.

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