Watt walking tours
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.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Just sailing away !
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 !!Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Sailing and Boating
Sailing actions !
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 !!
My little favorite town
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 .....
Leeuwarden - Museum ‘De Grutterswinkel’
The shop is tucked between the ‘Waag’ and the ‘Oldenhove’ in a side street. The building itself dates back to 1596 and underwent several renovations. The history of the grocery store begins in 1901, when the property was bouight by the family Feenstra, who began as a wholesaler in colonial, grocery goods. Later it became a regular grocery store, which was in operation till 1973 by the daughters Feenstra.
Once we entered the shop, we stepped back in time. We are standing in a period shop with two counters and everywhere old fashioned goods; sweets from grandmother's time in glass jars, grits and peas and many nostalgic products and still having a regular checkout.
We had a cup of tea in the former living room, which was served in an old fashioned pot and kept warm on a tea-light. There are also local delights available. Of course, everything is decorated with period furniture, flower wallpaper and green floor tiles. The shop also sells original gifts and nostalgic toys.
Under the store is a 400 year old wine cellar, which like the shop can be visited for free. On the first floor are a few rooms decorated like a museum. One of the rooms - with many recognizable 'historical' objects - shows the circumstances in which people once lived. In addition there is a small alcove and a toilet with pieces of newsprint as toilet paper. In one room temporary exhibitions are organized. For this 'museum', a small fee is payable. The museum is operated by volunteers, who look like and act as very friendly grandmas.
See for opening hours their website.
There is a connection with the ‘Boomsma Museum’, where one can travel back in time to the distillery of the traditional bitters of Boomsma and can taste the famous ‘Beerenburg’.Related to:
- Museum Visits
Beetsterzwaag – one kilometer of nobility
Beetsterzwaag used to be a village of distinction where the Frisian nobility had their country-houses. As early as the 17th century Beetsterzwaag was defined as “a village with small patches of fertile farmland, with beautiful trees in abundance and a well-paved main street”.
Even up to now the village has preserved this character, with its at least three and a half-century-old main street. The splendidly designed gardens and ancient houses are the silent witnesses of the wealthy nobility of the 17th and 18th centuries.
We visited Beetsterzwaag (Beetstersweach in Frisian language) as part of a bike trip from Oranjewoud. As soon as we reached the village we stored our bikes and walked along the ‘Hoofdstraat’. This is the main street and showed us all the heritage of the past with a couple of country-houses and mansions like Lyndenstein, Eysingahuis and Lycklamahûs (nowadays part of the town hall). These houses are dating back to the 18th and 19th century.
(A little bit further away – we didn’t visit – lies the country house of ‘Lauswolt’, nowadays a well known hotel.)
Opposite Lyndenstein - across the street - is the so called ‘Overtuin Lydenstein’, an almost 200 years old English landscape garden, where we walked around one of the ponds. Lycklamahûs has also an ‘Overtuin’. Part of this garden is a complex of smaller greenhouses, known as "De Tropische Kas". This greenhouse is over 80 years old now and some of the plants accommodated in it are of almost the same age. We saw a varied collection of tropical plants and ‘Frisian’ flowers and got an explanation of a very friendly volunteer. There is no admission fee, although a donation is appreciated. See for opening hours and more info: http://www.tropischekas.nl/
The ‘Hoofdstraat’ offers on a length of one kilometer also a remarkable number of nice shops/boutiques, art galleries and restaurants. We made one short detour - through the ‘Van Lyndenlaan’ - to the village church, which is surrounded by a cemetery with old tombstones.
We finished our walk/visit on a lovely terrace of restaurant Baboeshka for a well deserved coffee with cake, before we had to bike back to our hotel.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Veenklooster and Fogelsangh State
The village of Veenklooster (or Feankleaster in Frisian) did arise on a spot of a 12th century monastery, called ‘de Olijfberg’. Nowadays it is located in very varied scenery with lots of trees and wooded banks. The village has a very nice village green and offers a couple of interesting sights, like museums and art galleries.
But by far the most important sight for visitors is the Fogelsangh State. This private country estate was bought in 1639 by the Fogelsangh family. Nowadays it is still private owned by inheritance by a member of the Harinxma thoe Slooten family. The ‘state’, which is a little bit yellow colored, with its annexes lies beautifully, surrounded by gardens and a forest.
We did get a leaflet (Dutch, don’t know if it is available in other languages) ands wandered around in the rooms, which were open for public. Kitchen, dining, living room, bedrooms and library had beautiful furnishings, a lot of (family) portraits, chandeliers, antique clocks and other exhibits.
As we did read the ‘museum’ became much more interesting lately, because it houses the so called ‘Iddekinge collection’ (to be honest we had never heard before). Especially the 250-piece hand painted Amstel porcelain is quite famous and exhibited in one of the rooms.
After a short look at the coach house, we went to ‘Galerie Noordvleugel, located in another outbuilding; a very nice and attractive mixture of an art gallery, picture-framer, (gift)shop and tea room, an ideal place for a cup of coffee or tea. (www.galerienoordvleugel.nl)
Fogelsangh State is surrounded by a large park - Veenkloosterbos - an outstanding example for a walk. We were quite unlucky with the weather and have to come back for a second visit and a first walk.
Opening hours: 30 April – 31 October, Tuesdays through Sundays 1.00 pm – 5.00 pm.
Park all year, except during breeding season 15 March – 15 June.
Admission fee (2013): adults € 5,00. Park € 1,00Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
Workum and Jopie Huisman Museum
Workum is one of the eleven Frisian cities; it became city rights in the year of 1399. But the town is much older and was already mentioned in 907. Characteristic for Workum is the ribbon building along a canal, which ran in the middle of a long street. Despite the fact that Workum is not situated directly by the sea, it fully participated in the overseas trade.
The center of Workum is concentrated around the ‘Merk’. This market square is surrounded by a couple of beautiful building: the town hall (15ht century), a weighing house (1650), nowadays housing the tourist information office and a small local museum and the St. Gertrudis Church (1480) with a remarkable detached tower. We had a nice cup of coffee on one of the sidewalk cafes on the ‘Merk’.
Opposite the weighing house stands 'It Pottebakkershûs', a mixture of a cafe/restaurant, pottery, shop and on the first floor a small - free - museum. They also sell typical 'kerfsnee (carved) pottery' (http://www.itpottebakkershus.nl/).
Just 50 meters from the market square you will find by far the most important sight of Workum: Jopie Huisman Museum. For us it was more or less the reason of visiting Workum. The museum is located in a building, which looks like a couple of sheds. It was the wish of Jopie Huisman to expose his work in a simple building, built out of materials as rougher wood, bricks and steel.
Jopie Huisman was a dealer in second-hand goods and scrap metal merchant, who taught himself to paint. Often his second-hand merchandise was subject of his paintings. The museum offers a lot of his paintings, self portraits and drawings. We were absolutely surprised by the beauty of his work; most of them are absolutely realistic and show unbelievable details.
The museum has a café and a shop. It was not allowed to takes pictures inside the museum.
See for opening hours and admission fee: www.jopiehuismanmuseum.nl
!! Looking for a nice gift: consider buying a piece of the characteristic ‘Workumer Aardewerk’; pottery with a warm brown colour and yellow decorations !!Related to:
- Museum Visits
- Arts and Culture
Hogebeintum – church/mourning panels
For a visit of the church of Hogebeintum (officially in Frisian Hegebeintum) you First have to stop at the Visitor Centre. After paying our entrance fee we could join a (very) small group for a guided tour. Together we ‘climbed’ the highest mound of the Netherlands, which reaches till 9 meters above sea level.
(Mound - in Dutch ‘terp’- is a man made hill, protecting people and cattle against floods.
The old Romanesque church, dating from the early 2th century and built of tuff, stands on the top of the mound. It offers great views over the surrounding flat landscape of Friesland. We passed the graveyard with old tombstones and reached the entrance door.
Once inside the interior took our breath away: it turned out to be completely different from the usually sober interiors of other protestant churches. The walls are richly decorated with many so called ‘mourning panels’ and a nice carved pulpit.
The guide told us that ‘his’ church has the largest collection of these memorial panels in the Netherlands. The panels, in memory of the deceased local aristocracy, are dated from 1689 to 1906. They are quite different in size and design; some are highly decorated with symbolic carvings, whilst others are quite simple. We got an extensive explanation of the different ‘death’ symbols.
Opening hours church: March - October, every hour from 11.00 am till 4.00 pm
November - February, for groups only and on request.
Admission fee (2013): adults € 3,50Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Franeker - St. Martin's Church
The present St. Martins Church (Martinikerk) is dating back to the year of 1421, although there was already a church on the same spot dedicated to St. Martin as early as 1085. The church is the only medieval church in Friesland with a choir aisle.
As St. Martin’s was originally a roman catholic church, the prohibition of roman Catholicism in 1580 brought major alterations in the interior. Anything reminiscent of roman catholic times was removed and/or destroyed. Paintings on the columns - probably from the first half of the 15th century – were covered on a layer of whitewash. They came out during a restoration in 1940.
St. Martin’s Church in Franeker is easy to find, as it is signposted and located in the heart of the city on a ‘terp’ (man made artificial hill). Although built with large medieval local bricks the outside of the church is not that impressive.
But once we entered the building we were really surprised by the measures and brightness. It is a so called pseudo basilica, which means that it has a nave and two aisles. The nave and aisles do have a beautiful wooden vault. The church does look (and is) very bright due to the many large windows.
For us most remarkable were the columns of the nave and around the choir. Many of them do have splendid frescoes of saints. The front wall is almost completely covered by a nice organ; not the original but one of 1842. The sculptured pulpit - made by a local craftsman - dates from 1622 and has a lion, holding the Franeker coat of arms.
The floor of the church is covered with hundreds of tombstones; other are placed against the walls. Although we tried to read the names on it, most of them were completely unknown for us. Most probably they were from the nobility of Franeker.
The church has a small ‘shop’ for souvenirs, booklets, dvd’s and a cd with music of the organ.
Opening hours: Tuesdays through Saturdays - 11.00 am – 5.00 pm, Mondays 2.00 pm – 5.00 pm.
Admission: there is no entrance fee; at the exit is a box for a donation.
Tours: there are no tours available - volunteers will give information. There are also leaflets in Dutch and (at least) English.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
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.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Adventure Travel
Schiermonnikoog, or sometimes also called 'Schier' by the Dutch people, is a beautiful little island. The Wadden island are at the north of The Netherlands and are a series of small islands in a row in front of the coast. Schiermonnikoog is the smallest inhabited Wadden Island. It is only 10 miles long an 2½ miles wide and it has one village (which is also called Schiermonnikoog. The village dates back to 1760.
I love this island, it really is beautiful and perfect for a daytrip or for a stay of a few days. The main part of the island is natural landscape : dunes, beaches,woods and also shallows and a polder.
The thing I love about it is that there are no cars allowed on the island. The only ones than are allowed to use a cars are the island residents. So in fact it means no traffic at all on the island, except for the bicycles. It's really a paradise for people that love to make a relaxing bicycle trip or enjoy hiking. Over the whole island there are little bicycle path which lead you through the beautiful dunes and landscape of the island.
Don't worry about bringing a bike yourself though, as you can rent a bicycle on the island. But if your not in the mood for an active vacation, you can also be lazy and lay down on the beautiful and huge beach :-)
More about this island on my Schiermonnikoog page:
- Hiking and Walking
Leeuwarden, historical capital of Friesland
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.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Oranjewoud – beautiful ‘royal’ forest
In 1664 the Frisian Nassau’s bought some heathland east of Heerenveen known as ‘t Wold’. The ‘village’ became its name Oranjewoud (Orange Forest – Orange is the colour of our royal family) in the year of 1676, when Albertina Agnes, Princess of Orange Nassau, after the death of her husband Willem Frederik van Nassau - Stadtholder of Frisia - bought an existing country estate.
Early 18th century her daughter-in-law Henriëtte Amalia van Anhalt-Dessau modernized the manor by (landscape) architect Marot (well known for the construction of Palace Het Loo nearby Apeldoorn). Marot designed two new wings for Oranjewoud, but the central building was never built. The architect also planned the gardens and park around the manor. During the French occupation, both wings were demolished and the property was sold. Two estates were built where the Stadtholder's country house had once stood: Oranjewoud at the site of the old castle and Oranjestein where the home of the steward had been.
Various generations of the Oranje-Nassau family spent their summer at Oranjewoud.
Nowadays Oranjewoud is a very scenic area with lots of woodland, meadows, wonderful estates surrounded by gardens in landscape style. The village of Oranjewoud - attached to Heerenveen - has lovely (farm)houses and a school still named after princess Albertine Agnes. You will not find a ‘centre’ or shops. The only café/restaurant is Hotel Tjaarda.
That is also the best spot to start a visit to the area. Best ways for exploring are on bike or foot. Just in front of the hotel start several signposted walks through the woods of Oranjewoud.
We did it on a bike (as part of a longer ride) and passed the country houses Klein Jagtlust and Prinsenhof before reaching ‘Huize Oranjewoud’ itself. This white plastered house is surrounded by a beautiful garden and a moat. It is private owned and it can not be visited. Opposite of the house is the entrance to the so called ‘Overtuin’, a lovely garden/park in English style, where we made a nice walk.
Behind ‘Huize Oranjewoud’ lies the modern building of Museum Belvédère, museum for modern and contemporary art by Frisian artists. After a short stop at the manor Oranjestein we reached the hamlet Brongerga, which ahs a cemetery with lots of (very) old tombstones and two mausoleums of well known Frisian nobility families. The cemetery houses also an nice so called ‘klokkenstoel’, a separate wooden bell tower, which is typical for Frisia. Nearby stands - on a little hill - the concrete watchtower 'Belvédère', with great views of the area.
Then head to Katlijk; the village has a small church, for us a kind of hidden gem, dating back to early 16th century, located on a 'terp' and surrounded by an old graveyard. The church doesn't have a tower, but also a 'klokkenstoel' with two bells.
On your way back you could stroll around the Ecocathedral in Mildam, which is constructed by Louis Le Roy and volunteers. We found a kind of entrance along the Yntzelaan.
- by bike: just bike along the lanes and enjoy the landscape and country houses, use a map or follow a tour. See for instance a map on the website: http://www.oranjewoud-dorp.nl/pageid=75/Fietsroutes.html
- on foot: walk along the major sights or take one of several signposted walks starting in front of Hotel Tjaarda.
- when staying in Hotel Tjaarda, the hotel has walking or cycling routes; the hotel also has rental bikes.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
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.
Provincie Friesland Hotels
Rengerslaan 8, Leeuwarden, 8917 DD, nl
Good for: Solo
Strandweg 42, 9163 GN, The Netherlands
Good for: Business
37 Burg Van Heusdenweg, (formerly Golden Tulip), West-Terschelling, 8881 ED, The Netherlands
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Couples
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