(land area 336,000 hectares/840,000acres)The province of Friesland in the northeastern Netherlands is ringed on the west and north by the Waddeneilanden or West Frisian Islands, which are continued to the east by the (German) East Frisian Islands.
On the southwest, west and northwest Friesland extends to the IJsselmeer and the Waddenzee, and on the south and southeast it is bounded by the Wouden, an area of sandy ridges which forms a transition to the ground moraines of the Drenthe plateau. In the east it merges into the marshland of Groningen.The old Greater Frisian kingdom, Frisia Magna, extended at the beginning of the Christian era from the Belgian coast at Bruges to the river Weser, but thereafter was taken over by powerful neighbors. The southwestern part of its territory as far as the Rhine estuary at Katwijk was conquered by the Romans. In the seventh century the Franks occupied Greater Friesland and Christianized it. The Benedictine monk St Boniface, who was probably martyred at Dokkum, was one of the first missionaries. Around 785 Friesland was conquered by Charlemagne. Western Friesland was incorporated in the province of Noord-Holland at an early stage. In the early medieval period the seven independent Frisian territories between Alkmaar and the river Weser formed an alliance against the Norsemen - still commemorated in the Frisian coat of arms and flag (seven diagonal bands in cobalt-blue and white with seven red water lily leaves).Friesland is the only part of the Netherlands with a second official language. In much of the province Frisian is spoken as well as Dutch. This is an independent West Germanic language, with three variant forms - East Frisian, spoken in the Saterland area in the German province of Lower Saxony; North Frisian, spoken on the Schleswig-Holstein coast and on some of the German North Sea islands; and West Frisian, still spoken by some 400,000 people in Friesland and on the West Frisian islands. West Frisian died out almost completely as a written language from the 16th century onwards, and until the 20th century remained alive only in country areas. Then the Frisian Academy, founded in 1938, revived the movement to secure official recognition for the language which had first emerged during the Romantic period in the 19th century. Thereafter the Frisian language was increasingly taught in schools and at the universities of Groningen and Amsterdam, and a translation of the Bible into Frisian was published. Even street signs are now bilingual; and with its own language the province also has its own literature and culture.Agriculture is the predominant element in the economy of Friesland. With the exception of a narrow strip of very fertile arable land parallel to the coast of the Waddenzee in which sugar-beet, corn, flax and seed potatoes are grown, the whole of the province is occupied by pastures, since the heavy clay soil does not lend itself to intensive cultivation. The farms, usually of between 20 and 50 hectares (50 and 125 acres), specialize in the rearing of Frisian cattle and the production of butter.Milk produced on the farms is made into butter and cheese in numerous local dairies. There are also a number of food processing plants, as well as some small shipyards building the boats, mostly under 50 tons, which ply on Friesland's dense network of canals.
West Frisian Islands
Some of the main attractions in the West Frisian Islands are the beaches of Texel, as well as the nature reserves which attract thousands of seabirds.
Friesland Terp Villages
Originally the characteristic form of settlement in Friesland was the terp village, in which the houses, with their typical pyramidal roofs, were tightly packed together on a mound (terp), usually man-made, which gave them protection against flooding in the event of a storm tide or a breach in the dikes. Few of these terp villages are to be seen today: they have mostly given place to scattered settlements which have the advantage that the farmhouses are nearer their fields.
On the town walls (restored) are two flour mills, De Hoop ("Hope") and Zeldenrust ("Seldom at Rest").
Grote Kerk (St Martinuskerk)
The 15th century Grote Kerk or St Martinuskerk has a fine pulpit of 1751 and organ-case of 1688.
The Town Hall (1608) in Dokkum has a handsome Roccoco council chamber.
The Renaissance-style Admiraliteitshuis at Diepswal 27, built in 1618 as headquarters of the Admiralty of Groningen and Friesland, has been occupied since 1963 by the Streekmuseum, a regional museum displaying finds from the early terp settlements, objects from an old monastery, Frisian costumes, antiques, jewelry, etc.
Address: Diepswal 27, Dokkum, Friesland 9101 LA, Netherlands
Commune: KollumerlandThe village of Kollum lies in northeastern Friesland. Its main features of interest are a number of handsome old houses in Oosterburgstraat and on the Westerdiepswal, the Empire-style Town Hall and above all the Gothic St Maartenskerk (15th C.), a brick-built church with a stone tower and spire (17th C.) and fine paintings on the vaulting.
Fogelsangh State, Veenklooster
Southwest of Kollum is the village of Veenklooster, with the country house of Fôgelsangh State, built in the 17th century on the site of a Premonstratensian monastery and enlarged in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is now an annex of the Frisian Museum in Leeuwarden. The house, with the original decoration and furnishings, gives an impression of the life of a Frisian noble family in the 18th and 19th centuries. An old family coach is also on display.
Western Natural Region
Friesland consists of two different natural regions. In the west of Friesland there are great expanses of fens, partly (along the North Sea coast) reclaimed from the sea and partly (farther inland) in areas once occupied by freshwater lakes. In the Frisian lake district, a popular recreation and holiday area for water sports enthusiasts near the town of Sneek, there are still many remnants of these lakes.
Eastern Natural Region
Friesland consists of two different natural regions. In eastern Friesland there are great expanses of moorland, most of which have now been brought into cultivation. Between these areas are lakes formed in areas of poor drainage as a result of the peat cutting which has brought the surface below sea level.
Friese Terpen Route
The Friese Terpen Route in northeastern Friesland, linking the towns of Harlingen, Leeuwarden and Dokkum, is a good way of seeing the terp country. Perhaps the most typical of the terpen to be seen on this route is the Hogebeintoren, which rises to a height of almost 8m/26ft above the surrounding ground level. Between the fifth and 12th centuries some 600 terpen were formed in Friesland. There are some 400 in Groningen province, where they are known as wierden.
A few miles west of Bolsward, on the IJsselmeer, is the little Frisian town of Makkum, which has been famed since the 17th century for its Makkumer aardewerk (Makkum earthenware). There are still two manufactories (open to visitors) in the town.Sightseeing, bird watching and fishing are popular tourist activities.
Founded in 1594, the Aardewerk is the oldest company in Holland. It is famous for its handpainted ceramics, which are available for purchase at the museum.
Address: Voorstraat 84, Harlingen, Friesland 8861, Netherlands
Of interest is the Weigh House (Waag; late 17th C.), with the weighmaster's lodging, which is completely faced with tiles.
Among features of interest in Workum are St Werenfriduskerk, a neo-Gothic pseudo-basilica (1877); the Doopsgezinde Vermaning, a Mennonite church disguised as a barn (1694); the Gothic Town Hall, rebuilt in the 18th century; the red brick Weigh House (Waag; 1650) in the Markt; the De Hoop shipyard, where historic old vessels are restored; a tjasker mill, the only windmill of this type in Friesland which is still working; and old houses with stepped gables along the rivers Súd and Noard.
The Grote Kerk (St Geertruidskerk) is the largest medieval cruciform basilica in Friesland, with a free-standing tower. Construction of the church began in 1550 with the choir. The main features in the interior are the choir screen (16th C.), the organ (17th C.) and the carved wooden pulpit (18th C.). Of particular interest, too, are the richly painted biers of the various guilds in the aisles.
On the south coast of Friesland lies the Gaasterland area, built up on a core of old sandy soil. From the steeply scarped coast at Mirns and Oudemirdum there are fine views of the IJsselmeer.
Heringastate / Poptaslot is a 17th C. manor house featuring period rooms, portraits and traditionally styled furniture. Of special interest is the box bed with a drawer where children used to sleep.
Official site: Netherlands
Address: Poptaslot, Slotleane 1, Marssum, Friesland 9034 HM
Ljouwert - Frysk Letterkundich Museum
The Institute is for and about Frisian readers and writers. Visitors can pour through the newspaper clippings, biographical and bibliographical material.
Address: Box 2637, Ljouwert, Friesland 8901 AC, Netherlands
Arum - Rock n Roll Museum
Rock n roll memorabilia from the 50's and 60's.
Address: van Camminghaweg 28-30, Arum, Friesland 8822 WD, Netherlands
Museum Joure is dedicated to coffee, tea andtobacco.
Address: Geelgietersstraat 1-11, De Witte Os, Midstraat 97, Joure, Friesland 8500 AB, Netherlands
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