The Northeast Friesland region has around 30 museums, covering everything from history to art. You can find a couple described below. All the museums are listed on the website of ‘Markant Friesland‘.
The historical storm disaster: During the night of the 5th and 6th of March 1883, the Paesens-Moddergat fishing fleet experienced one of the heaviest spring storms in the history of the region. The ice-cold sea waves to the north of the Wadden Islands claimed the lives of 83 fishermen. Only Gerben Basteleur, aged 31, survived the disaster. His uncle, Kornelis Visser, survived initially, but Gerben was forced to watch as his uncle finally succumbed to exhaustion and drowned. Gerben managed to reach the shore. When the islanders of Schiermonnikoog discovered him, he was more dead than alive. After just a few days, Gerben felt the need to venture out to sea. Unbelievably, while he was fishing he retrieved the body of his brother Jan. The fishermen of the Paesens-Moddergat fleet were not the only fatalities that night. Many other fishing boats were lost on the coasts of Groningen and North Holland. However, the Paesens-Moddergat disaster was unparalleled. Opposite the Museum ‘t Fiskershúske on the sea dike, a monument has been erected in memory of the 83 fishermen who died during the storm.
Stories of the past can be heard regularly throughout the region. Other historical museums include:
“Are we supposed to vomit here?”, Dutch tourists sometimes ask in front of the ‘Braakhok’ in the village of Ee, since the word can literally be translated as the ‘vomiting shed’. However, they soon realise that the word means something completely different. ‘Braken’ refers to breaking the stem of the flax plant, a process necessary to turn it into linen. This unique museum gives you insight into how people used to make clothing from the flax plant, and an impression of how heavy the work was. The threshing, breaking and scutching caused a lot of dust, so working in these breaking sheds was unhealthy. In addition, the working days were long and the wages meagre. Although these breaking sheds were once quite common, the museum in Ee is the only one in the Netherlands which demonstrates how flax used to be processed. By the way, if you are in Ee, don’t forget to take a walk around this beautiful, ancient, monumental village.
Stepping back in time is also possible in the Frisian Woodlands (Friese Wouden) area.
Museumboerderij Ot en Sien (Ot and Sien Farming Museum) where time has stood still for 100 years. You will see a small shop, a school and a doctor’s practice from days of old.
The open air museum and theme park known as ‘De Spitkeet’ covers more than 4 hectares, and offers a glimpse into how difficult life was for the people of the Groningen and Friesland moorland between the years 1850 and 1950.
A great deal of local knowledge can be gained from smaller museums where the host or hostess is more than happy to tell you about the history of the region:
There are various historical museums in the Frisian Lakes (Friese Meren).
The Skûtsjemuseum in Earnewâld is just one example of the sights by the Frisian Lakes. It is located in a building shaped like a ‘skûthûs’ (Frisian boathouse). In the past, these buildings were the heart of a shipyard in Friesland. The main focus of the museum is the life history of a former generation of sailing ship crew members. The skills involved in traditional shipbuilding are demonstrated in specially fitted-out workshops with the obvious emphasis on championship skûtsje sailing.
While you are in Earnewâld, it is worth paying a visit to
During a period of 5 years, Ruurd Wiersma created a large, colourful panoramic painting representing the four seasons. It became the life’s work of a man who transported milk throughout the region until he was 60 years of age. Once he discovered his talent as an artist painter, he couldn’t stop painting. Ruurd continued his work, which was later described as naive art, until his death in 1980. Every piece of artwork by Wiersma depicts a story: Nine biblical scenes, his profession as a milk transporter, the coronation of Queen Beatrix, a marriage ceremony in the village of Burdaard and his most famous painting, ‘de Elfstedentocht’ (Eleven Cities Tour). His collection also features paintings of a loving wife and children – he had always yearned for a family. Many of these works can be seen at the house adjacent to his original home. A number of expert and enthusiastic volunteers are on hand to explain the works of Wiersma.
Interested in art? Then pay a visit to: