The Friese Wouden is a region typified by a dense tree population and alders. The area has an intriguing past. Enthusiasts of nature and cultural history will have the time of their lives. The Nationaal Landschap De Noardlike Fryske Wâlden is very suitable for cycling and walking enthusiasts. If you enjoy gardens, the region boasts many that are designed by famous landscape gardener, Roodbaard. You can also explore the largely undiscovered nature of the area ”t Bûtenfjild’, along a route designed for electric-only boats. Below, we have listed the highlights of a day out in the Frisian Woodlands, with some interesting snippets of info. Take a look at the museumpage for the musea nearby.
The Friese Wouden was once a region where workers dug peat under appalling conditions. As soon as the peat was exhausted, the investors simply left the unemployed workers behind. Left with nothing, and in extreme poverty, they built their own huts. Entire families were housed in turf covered huts and sheds. They looked after themselves, they didn’t care for anybody, and nobody cared for them. Decades later, the evangelists and pastors arrived to care for these moorland residents. Step by step, or rather stone by stone, houses, schools, and eventually entire villages were built by the moorland residents. This typifies the current residents of the Friese Wouden, still referred to as ‘Wâldpiken’: full of spirit, just a bit different, and occasionally somewhat cantankerous. A Wâldpik would always prefer to be a small employer rather than an important employee.
Wherever you look in the region, you will see things for sale at the side of the road, from unmanned stalls selling small items that ask the purchaser to leave money in a small pot, to a variety of home businesses.
Old money: Staten and Stinzen (Frisian estates and stone built houses)
When poverty ruled the countryside, estates and stone-built houses were symbols of wealth in Friesland. A large number of these magnificent buildings are now gone. However, a number of estates and stone-built houses remain. Some are “hidden” in beautiful parks, such as those in the Roodbaard gardens by architects Vlaskamp and Roodbaard. Read more about Staten and Stinzen.
Dam Jaarsma folk stories
Dam Jaarsma collected almost 17,000 folk stories. This made him the most prolific collector in the Netherlands and amongst the top three in Europe! His collection is priceless, and a part of it is displayed in the stories room in his hometown of Eastermar, as well as on walking and cycling routes throughout the region. Ask for your free route maps by the closest information point, or book a guided tour by calling: +31657335269 or e-mail email@example.com.
Fishing: pingo ruins
You almost never see them, but there are around 300 in this region. Circular shaped craters, remnants of the ice age. They are excellent for fishing in. Have you discovered one? Then ask the farmer if you can cross his property to get to the pingo. You can also fish along the Prinses Margrietkanaal (canal), from one the many fishing piers or at Forelvijver de Pingo in Twijzelerheide and De Forelpoel in Kollumerzwaag.
A cycle path network has been laid out throughout the area. De Noardlike Fryske Wâlden has a special 127-km cycle route for those who really want to get to know the region. Some lovely places to take a break are Bergumermeer, De Leyen and Burgum.
Bûtenfjild is in Trynwâlden, nearby the city of Leeuwarden and it ‘s name is Frisian for ‘the outside field’. From 2017 a route for electric-only boats is operational in this as-yet undiscovered area. Besides boating, the area is also ideal for walkers and cyclists, so visit the walking page for a route.
Wander until your heart’s content in De Kruidhof, botanical gardens, which comprise of no less than 17 gardens with different themes and represent the largest botanical collection of medicinal herbs in Western Europe. There are, of course, plenty of ornamental plants available, but also large numbers of plants that are used in food. There is, for example, a border dedicated to a variety of herbs used in the secret recipe of the herbal drink, Berenburg. You will immediately recognise the unmistakable aroma of sage, thyme and lavender drifting from the kitchen herb garden. The ‘Fruithof’ features around 300 different types of fruit including a few special regional varieties. Agricultural crops grown during bygone days in the Friese Wouden can be found in the ‘cultuurgewassentuin’ (garden of cultural crops). The herbs on display in De Kruidhof can be purchased fresh for home use. Nice to know: your entrance ticket not only includes admission to the botanical gardens, it is also valid for the Ice Age Museum.