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Battle over the Noarderleech

(36.2 km)

What actually happened during WWII in the coastal area of Friesland? In particular: the air battle in the coastal and Wadden area. On this extensive cycling route along the Noarderleech, you'll discover the unique events that took place in this region. Travel through time and discover Friesland during wartime. 

This more than 33-kilometer long cycling route starts at SeedyksterToer in Marrum. It's here that your journey begins heading towards the Noarderleech bunker. You'll pass many interesting places along the way, each with their own special story. The construction of a training site for the German occupants, war graves of unknown soldiers and crashed American fighter planes. Curious about what you’ll encounter? You'll find a handy overview below or, even better, just hop on your bike and go explore this unique part of the Wadden area.

Note: …

What actually happened during WWII in the coastal area of Friesland? In particular: the air battle in the coastal and Wadden area. On this extensive cycling route along the Noarderleech, you'll discover the unique events that took place in this region. Travel through time and discover Friesland during wartime. 

This more than 33-kilometer long cycling route starts at SeedyksterToer in Marrum. It's here that your journey begins heading towards the Noarderleech bunker. You'll pass many interesting places along the way, each with their own special story. The construction of a training site for the German occupants, war graves of unknown soldiers and crashed American fighter planes. Curious about what you’ll encounter? You'll find a handy overview below or, even better, just hop on your bike and go explore this unique part of the Wadden area.

Note: you are not allowed to ride your bike outside the Zeedijk so you'll have to go a bit on foot, for example when walking from the Kweldercentrum to the bunker or during the last part of the route. 

Sights on this route

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Fully sustainable accommodations on the Zeedijk in Marrum.

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Noarderleech Visitor Centre

If you plan to hike through the Noard-Fryslân Bûtendyks salt marshes, be sure to start at the Noarderleech Visitor Centre to make the most of your visit. The centre informs visitors about the nature and history of the coastal landscape of North Friesland.

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Noarderleech Bunker and Training Base

The famous Noarderleech bunker is situated near the coastal dike in Hallum. The training base for bombers that the Germans set up here was part of the military air transport command at the Leeuwarden air base.

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VIJFHUIZEN AIRMAIL

In the autumn of 1940 a watchtower was built at the Vijfhuizen on the seawall to watch out for enemy planes. The sentries stayed in a barrack that stood on the land of P. Porte.

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Begraafplaats Hallum

Op de begraafplaats van de Hervormde kerk van Hallum bevinden zich drie oorlogsgraven van militairen uit de Tweede wereldoorlog.

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Neergestort Amerikaans vliegtuig

Bij Herjuwsmawei 2 stort op 24 augustus 1944 een Amerikaanse B17 neer. Ontdek hier het bijzondere verhaal.

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Visitor's Center 'Terp Hegebeintum'

Hegebeintum, a small village in North East Friesland, known for its high mound. Activities around and in the village are announced here.

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Harsta Hoeve

Fraai gelegen op het landgoed 'Harsta State' in Hegebeintum, vind je in de Harsta Hoeve een gastvrij onderdak, waar je ongestoord kunt genieten van een goede nachtrust na bijvoorbeeld een stevige fietstocht.

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Bij De Pastorie Boutique Hotel

Bij De Pastorie Boutique Hotel near Dokkum. Charming church hotel in Reitsum. Book a hotel suite and enjoy how special it is to sleep in a luxourious refurbished church! Also coffeebar and terrace, shop with dishware by Emma Bridgewater/ Bunzlau Castle.

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Rustpunt de Jister

Rustpunt de Jister,  Rustpunt de Jister is gevestigd in een terpdorp te Reitsum. Hier wordt nog actief melkvee gehouden. In 2022 zijn we van twee locaties naar een gegaan en melken nu 150 koeien...

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Camping de Blijer Wadden

Hartelijk welkom op minicamping De Blijer Wadden, onze camping bestaat uit 18 ruime kampeerplaatsen en 3 ingerichte camping pods ( trekkershutten ). De camping is voorzien van een mooi nieuw verwarmd sanitair. Gelegen in het prachtige waddengebied!

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Rustpunt Oan de Flappe

Rustpunt oan'e flappe is gelegen te Farebuorren in het terpenlandschap van noord oost Friesland. Het is gevestigd in een traditionele kophalsromp boerderij, die in het jaar 1774 is gebouwd. Na diverse...

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Theetuin Kleine-Lijn

De theetuin van Kleine-Lijn. Goede koffie of verse thee met een heerlijk stuk huisgemaakte taart. Aandacht voor het interieur en de tuin. Een prachtige winkel met producten uit eigen atelier. Handgemaakt en van natuurlijke materialen.

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Kerkhof Nicolaaskerk Blije

Tussen Stationsweg 3 en 4 kunt u het kerkhof bereiken waar een onbekende RAF vlieger is begraven. Op dinsdag 14 juli 1942 spoelde een onbekende Sergeant van de RAF (Engelse luchtmacht) aan op de kwelders bij Ferwert.

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Vegotel

Welcome to Vegotel, an environmentally friendly hotel that serves an all-day vegan breakfast, Dutch, Full English or French. Located in a farmhouse build in 1885 on the Zeedijk next to the beatiful Wadden Sea area. Peace and space to enjoy.

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De Duitsers en de mist

Boven op de dijk ziet u het wadden- en kweldergebied waar bemanningsleden van de Stirling van 7 juni 1942 zij geland met hun parachute.

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Gezinnen De Roo & Andrae

In het huis wat stond bij Zeedijk 13 Ferwert woonde de familie De Roo. Zij hadden een Joodse onderduiker. Bij het opruimen van het vliegtuigwrak van de B17 daar vlak bij werd een Duitser bij hen ingekwartierd.

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DOBBEPAARDEN PHOTO ARTWORK

Discover the reclining photo artwork in the middle of the Ozingadobbe, the place where the horses got trapped in 2006.

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Fully sustainable accommodations on the Zeedijk in Marrum.

Directions

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Fully sustainable accommodations on the Zeedijk in Marrum.

Turn left from the SeedyksterToer terrain onto the Zeedijk.

  • Walk with your bike on the Zeedijk heading west.
  • You'll pass the new pumping station De Heining with a fish passage and the transition area between fresh and salt water outside of the dike. Be sure to pop into the Kweldercentrum to learn more about it! German dummy bombs were found outside of the dike when the waterway to the Wadden Sea was being built.
  • After 270m turn right onto Noorderleeg.
  • After approximately one kilometre you'll see the It Fryske Gea Kweldercentrum where you’ll find information about the Atlantic Wall and the air battle in the Wadden area.
  • Note: the following item is not mentioned on the route map featured above but is accessible.
  • Park your bicycle in front of the It Fryske Gea Kweldercentrum. There are no sheep or any other traffic that might be hindered this way.
  • From the Kweldercentrum you can cross the sea dike towards the entrance gate to the Noarderleech. The map on the information panel shows the walking route to the bunker.
  • You can reach the bunker by following the marked posts along the walking route through the field. All visitors must abide by the opening rules of course.
  • Note: the following item is not mentioned on the route map featured above but is accessible.

Read the story ‘Bunker and training field Noorderleeg’.

  • After visiting the ‘bunker’ turn back via the dike crossing near the Kweldercentum.
  • From the sea dike go west towards Noorderleeg.
  • After 1 km turn right onto Noorderleegster entranceway.
  • After 90 m make a slight right onto the bike path on the inner dike.
  • Cycle along the bike path heading west.
  • After 750 m make a slight left onto Vijfhuisterdijk.
  • Cycle along the Vijfhuisterdijk heading south.

Read the story ‘Airmail Vijfhuizen’.

  • Turn left onto Roodschuursterlaan.
  • Cycle along the Roodschuursterlaan heading east.
  • You'll pass cycling hub number 4.
  • Continue straight onto Doniaweg.
  • Cycle along Doniaweg heading east.
  • Just before the N357 you'll pass the railway tracks of the former Dokkumer Lokaaltje. On your right the former railway station buildings (now a garage) depict a train. During WWII the railway and the train were shot at and bombed on multiple occasions.

  • Cross the N357.
  • After 200 m (cycling hub number 5) take Langebuorren.
  • Cycle along Langebuorren heading east.
  • After 90 m make a slight left onto Rondweg.
  • After 150 m turn left onto Miedpad.
  • After 60 m continue straight on along the path to the cemetery.
  • Read the story ‘Hallum cemetery’.

  • Return to the Miedpad.
  • After 60 m turn left onto Rondweg.
  • Cycle along Rondweg heading east.
  • After 95 m make a slight right onto De Trânse.
  • After 90 m continue straight on to Jouwsmabuorren.
  • Cycle along Jouwsmabuorren heading northeast.
  • Between Jouwsmabuorren 2 and 6 a house was located where two wounded American pilots were brought on 11 December 1943 and who were later deported by the Germans. Their plane crashed by the sea dike near Ferwert.
    Near Jouwsmabuorren 9 you can see part of the engine from a B17 that crashed near the Herjuwsmawei south of Marrum on the birthday of the former occupant of no. 9, 25 August 1944.

  • At (cycling hub number 81) turn right onto Herjuwsmawei.
  • After (cycling hub number 72) continue straight on the Herjuwsmawei.

Read the story about the American plane that crashed here.

  • Cross the Nieuweweg heading east.
  • You'll pass cycling hub number 9.
  • After 190 m turn left onto It Kleaster.
  • After 1 km turn left onto Kleasterwei.
  • After 700 m turn left onto Hegebeintumerdyk.
  • You'll pass cycling hub number 7.
  • After 180 m make a slight right onto Hoofdstraat.
  • After 55 m turn left onto Vrijhof.
  • 3 American crew members were once buried at Ferwert cemetery. They had crashed near the sea dike at Ferwert on 11 December 1943. They were later reburied at the American cemetery in Margraten. The war monument on the Vrijhof also mentions the name of Joeke Andrae. He was executed for taking things from the B17 of 11 December 1943. His story is featured further down the route at Zeedijk 8 Ferwert, the house where he once lived.

  • Cycle along Vrijhof heading south.
  • Make (cycling hub number 7) a slight left onto Hegebeintumerdyk.
  • After 980 m continue straight on to the bike path.
  • After 40 m continue straight on to Hegebeintumerdyk.
  • After 500 m continue straight on to Harstawei.
  • After 210 m turn left onto Meester Boeleswei.
  • After 220 m turn right onto Underom.
  • After 230 m turn right onto Pypkedyk.
  • In the upstream you passed just before Hegebeintum Bouwe van der Woude's freighter was shot by Allied fighter planes in the Jislummer on 9 February 1945. That afternoon approximately 70 English Spitfires and Mustang fighters from Fighter Command, who’s task was to escort American bombers, attacked occasional targets along the way, including a 50-tonne ship in the vicinity of Leeuwarden. This may have been Van der Woude's ship, as he had moored his ship between Jislum and the Bolle Holle to prevent confiscation. His ship, the Nooitgedagt, was a 36-tonne steep bow freighter. The ship was painted green and had its sails raised to dry that day.
    Around 3 pm 4 fighter planes started circling the ship and then shot at it with their machine guns. The captain was fatally wounded while his 16-year-old mate Keimpe Struiksma survived the attack. Bouwe van der Woude is buried in Burdaard.

  • After 55 m (cycling hub number 13) make a slight left onto Vogelzangsterweg.
  • After 150 m make a slight right onto Harstawei.
  • Follow Harstawei and turn right after 250 m.
  • Cycle along Harstawei heading south.
  • Cycle along Harstawei heading south.
  • You'll pass cycling hub number 16.
  • Cycle along Harstawei heading east.
  • After 180 m turn left onto De Houwen.
  • Cycle along De Houwen heading east.
  • After 35 m turn left onto Heskamperweg.
  • After 1 km turn left onto Mieddyk.
  • After approximately 100 metres you'll find an information panel on the shoulder about the Short Stirling that crashed here on 7 June 1942. All of its crew members survived both the crash and the war.

  • Cycle back along the Mieddyk heading west.
  • After 1 km (cycling hub number 15) continue straight on to Farebuorren.
  • After 350 m continue straight on to Farrewei.
  • After 530 m turn right onto the tracks of the former Dokkumer Locaaltje Stationsweg.
  • After 400 m you'll reach the former Blija station where exhibitions are held on a regularly.
  • Continue on Stationsweg heading north; along the Stationsweg you'll find traditional textile printers Atelier Kleine-Lijn that also serves beverages.

Read the story of Blija cemetery.

  • Exit the cemetery through the main entrance on Voorstraat.
  • On Voorstraat turn right and after 85 m turn right again onto Hoofdstraat.
  • You'll pass cycling hub number 75.
  • Make a slight left here onto Unemastraat.
  • After 490 m continue straight along the N357 onto Unemaloane.
  • Here you'll cross the Van Historische Terp Naar Terp Van De Toekomst route (at landmark Unema State)

  • Cycle along Unemaloane heading west.
  • After 1 km turn left onto the Zeedijk.
  • After 480 m (cycling hub number 76) make a sharp right onto the dike.

Read the story of the Germans and the fog.

  • Cycle along the path across the dike and follow the path outside the dike heading west.
  • Cross the dike again at the first possible opportunity and follow the Zeedijk (inside the dike) heading west.

Read the story of the De Roo & Andrae families (a plaque for Joeke Andrae was recently unveiled at Zeedijk 8).

  • Walk with your bike onto the Zeedijk heading west.
  • You'll pass cycling hub numbers 2 and 1.
  • Return to the SeedyksterToer for a bite to eat and to read the stories one more time.
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Fully sustainable accommodations on the Zeedijk in Marrum.

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  • 68
  • 53
  • 04
  • 05
  • 81
  • 72
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  • 34
  • 13
  • 16
  • 15
  • 75
  • 76
  • 02
  • 01