Leeuwarden, the capital of Friesland has an historical citycentre. There are 575 national monuments like churches, mills, storehouses, parks, canals, walls and statues. The oldest monuments are dationg back to the 13th century, like the de Grote Kerk or Jacobijner church. From the Renaissance are the Kanselarij, the Waag, and the so called 'herenhuizen', mansions along the canals (picture 2).
The area has been occupied since the 10th century, though also remains of houses dating back to the 2nd century AD were discovered. Leeuwarden got a town charter in 1435. Situated along the Middelzee, it was an active trade centre, until the waterway dried out in the 15th century. Famous natives of Leeuwarden include stadtholder William IV of Orange.
Another place with an interesting church, part Romanesque and part Gothic. The walls show traces of many changes. The rest of the place is not spectacular but there are a few nice spots. And a windmill.
Traditionally the Frisians built their churches on top of artificial hills, called 'terpen', where people would stay when the sea flooded their land again. These terpen got bigger and eventually whole villages were built on them.
The highest terp that still exists is that of Hegebeintum, and on top you'll find this lovely little church. Elsewhere in this tiny village you can find the explanation for the mining equipment at the foot of the terp.
Afsluitdijk is a damb which connects Dutch provinces North Holland and Friesland. It separates North sea and its former gulf, IJsselmeer. When the damb was built, IJsselmeer was partially dried and the lands used for settlement (this is the 12th Dutch province, Flevoland). But this you do not see from the damb, you just look at sea from one side and sea from the other side.
In the south eastern part of this province is a great country side, especially close to the IJsselmeer (lake).
Government isn't too easy on the farmers, and decided that good farming land had to be turned into natural country side as it once might have been. Out of pride of their habitat they constructed this art frame.
It has a text next to it with on it : Farmers created the country side over many years, national government does not like the way they farm, local farmers fought fiercely against the new laws because they are proud of their country side and want to keep it the way it is.
The Netherlands are renowned for their water: rivers, lakes, canals. Nowhere is this more visible than in the northern province of Friesland (or, as the locals spell it, Fryslân). A must-see (rather: must-do) is a sailing trip on one of the lakes.
It is possible to rent many types of boats, from motor cruisers to sailing yachts in Friesland. But the most authentic experience comes when sailing on a so-called skûtsje. This type of boat dates back to the late 1800s/early 1900s, when the skûtsjes were used to transport dung, mud or other goods.
Of course nowadays the boats have been modified to include more modern comforts such as bunks, a tiny kitchen, a toilet, and an engine. But be prepared for the silence, when the engine dies down and the only sounds are the sail fluttering in the wind, the cries of birds and the splash of tiny waves against the boat.
Skûtsjes can be rent for half-days, weekends or weeks, and they come with a captain, or without if you are an experienced sailor. An example is the Skûtsje Verhuur Sneek who sails the Snekermeer. More info on this company can be found on their website (Dutch only).
Walks on the seabed? In the area of the North Sea the low tide drains in a constant regularity the most ample areas worldwide.
The area of watt, which appears at first sight bleak and empty is one of the mostly alive biotopes of the earth, habitats more countlessly of marine living beings of the tiny diatoms up to the bulky seal. Wandering on the tidelands are a successful excursion.
Sometimes you have to leave the boat and walk through little towns - typival dutch - like Woudsend.
See the typical houses - their churches and notice that a Honda Silverwing - in front of the picture is almost as big as the houses itself.
Is HONDA big - or the houses .....
Its a joye - but never sail alone or with unexperienced people - The weather and so the wind can change very fast - The water is like a road - but the evil lays sometimes under the water - the boatsman should know !!
Change clothes into comfortable sailing uniforms - (esp.Jacket - trousers and do not forget the boots!)
Sail away and trust the skipper or experienced bootsman.
Throw the anker - make your one food from time to time - just between friends - and go or better stop at the next station - for diner and a drink after !!
Especially when the weather is fine, it is great to go to Schiermonnikoog for a day trip. Here you can relax, biking, hiking and a lot of more other things. It is the great nature, which makes it !
Harlingen is a harbour town, wonderful old buildings and a lively center where the shopping is good.
Tweebaksmarkt 25-27, Leeuwarden, 8911 KW, The Netherlands
Good for: Couples
Strandweg 42, 9163 GN, The Netherlands
Good for: Business
37 Burg Van Heusdenweg, (formerly Golden Tulip), West-Terschelling, 8881 ED, The Netherlands
Good for: Couples