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.