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.