Magazine. Laadtijd: enkele seconden.

Bolsward (Boalsert):

The town of beer, whisky and ‘berenburg’

Leerlooierij van Buren
Leerlooierij Van Buren

Beer and berenburg town Bolsward came into being on two mounds which were connected with each other by the Kerkstraat. In the past business was traded on the southern mound, on the norhtern mound stood among others the Martini church, which is still standing there. She was built between 1446-1466. Together with a number of showpieces from the past this church is very worth seeing.

Once by the sea
In the past Bolsward was still situated by the sea. However, because the Middelzee was silting up, that hasn’t been the case anymore since the 12th century. In the 15th century the little town was admitted in the Hansa Treaty and got its canals and walls in this period. In the 16th century it was even the second town of Friesland with its 3500 inhabitants.
Because Bolsward wasn’t siuated really favourably for the shipping trade, the town was going downhill afterwards. This could be seen by the population, which decreased enormously to 2300 inhabitants. The shipping trade prefered to go over Harlingen. Still Bolsward was always situated on the waterways to the seas. In the 19th century the little town flourished again, partly due to the trade.


Heeg: more than eels and Polyvalk sailingboats

Shipping links with London made way for water sports

A view of life on board the Korneliske Ykes II, a replica of an original Hegemer eel barge, which was launched in 2009.
A view of life on board the Korneliske Ykes II, a replica of an original Hegemer eel barge, which was launched in 2009.

HEEG (NL) - Heeg is one of the most charming water sport centres in Friesland. It is a village bustling with the activities of numerous water sport companies, hotels and B&Bs and party organisers. Something they are experts at in Heeg is creating a good atmosphere, for young and old alike.

For centuries, the fishermen of Heeg exported eels, otherwise known as elvers, to London. There, on the Thames near Tower Bridge, their +/- 18.50 m long wooden sailing barges had a permanent berth where the live eels were unloaded. Each barge transported between 7,500 and 10,000 kg of eels in its water-filled central well.

Frisian eels
Frisian eels are - still - born in the Sargassozee (Bermuda), where the larva grow into elvers. Then they swim to the Frisian waters where they eventually reach adulthood.

Smoking eel with farmer Ygram Ykema from Sandfirden.
Smoking eel with farmer Ygram Ykema from Sandfirden.

The number of eels in Friesland and the surrounding waters dropped rapidly due to the construction of the IJsselmeer Dam [Afsluitdijk] in 1932. The Zuiderzee, which until then had contained salt water, was halved in size by the creation of the Wieringermeer and Flevoland province polders to form the current IJsselmeer. This is now the largest freshwater reservoir and recreation area in the Netherlands. Heeg is separated from the IJsselmeer by just one sluice and bridge, in the dyke at Stavoren. The town, which is on the route of the famous Frisian skating marathon, is just a two hour sail away.
Dykes, sluices, pumping stations and a lack of living space have caused the number of eels in the north of the Netherlands to plummet since 1932. The fact that the Zuiderzee became a freshwater lake did not bother the eels since they can live in both fresh and salt water.


Freerk Visserman.
Freerk Visserman.

De Helling wood construction museum
In 1938, the trade in eels between Heeg and England came to an end. After the last original eel barge had been dismantled in 1945, it seemed as if the lively shipbuilding industry in Heeg had gone forever. However, local enthusiasts have made sure that their nautical, cultural heritage has been preserved. In the De Helling wood construction museum at It Eilân in Heeg, a real wooden eel barge was built, using entirely traditional methods and craftsmanship.

Smoked eel: a delicacy
Heeg is a Mecca for anyone who loves both traditional sailing ships and smoked eel. There have always been eels in Friesland, despite the construction of dykes, Country reclamation and the presence of sluices. As a result, you can still enjoy that rare delicacy on the outskirts of the village, on the shores of the Heegermeer lake (a glacial valley dating from the ice age).

International water sport
The economic importance of the eel for Heeg has now almost disappeared entirely. These days, the village’s 2,000 or so residents are involved primarily in boat building, boat hire and boat trading, and in goods transport. These activities are also still carried out at an international level. You will find sailing and motor yachts from Heeg throughout Europe, from classic to modern, and from steel to polyester.

Sneekweek 2014

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The frisian sailing fleet: from farmer’s barge to royal class tall ship

Departure harbours in Friesland and Germany!


Friesland has a flourishing traditional sailing fleet consisting of many kinds of passenger ships which can be found in sailing locations around the world. These vessels, which are the pride of Friesland, are used at education, instruction and training institutes and by organisations, businesses and families, as well as at Sail events right along the European coast. The vessels are used not only by groups, but also by individual sailing enthusiasts and those who care about our nautical-cultural heritage, whether for day trips or journeys for longer periods of time.

Maritime heritage: restored or new
Most traditional sailing boats and motor boats, whether restored or replicated partially or in full, are made from steel and are based on models from the period extending from the 17th to the 19th centuries, when sailing was used for international freight and passenger transport, for fishing and in agriculture. Every year, real size authentic replicas are reproduced at Frisian and foreign yards based on drawings by specialised Dutch shipbuilders.

No navigation licence? No problem!

Bike on board: access to all the nice spots

No navigation licence? No problem!

In order to sail motor and sailing yachts which do not exceed 15 meters and which cannot sail faster than 20 km per hour, you do not need to possess a navigation licence in the Netherlands. You, as a hirer, must indeed know the rules or be informed of them by the yacht charter company. However, these are simple.

Managing director Albert Hendriks of Friesland Holland Tourist Information & Travel Service and Rent a Cruiser: “It is right that the Dutch government does not make the navigation licence compulsory for the category of yachts mentioned above. On most waters in the North of the Netherlands which are sailed by pleasure boats, you do not come across any professional sailing. For example, in Friesland there is absolutely no question of strong currents. The water traffic is slow. The annual number of collisions on recreation waters is especially low.”

A tourist’s walking route from Sneek promotor Petra Miedema

A tourist’s walking route from Sneek promotor Petra Miedema

SNEEK (NL) – On a Friday morning we take a short stroll with Sneek promotor Petra Miedema through the inner city that has been the commercial centre of Southwest Friesland since as far back as mediaeval times. The sun casts a glow on the prosperity that the city has never lacked.

Sneek - Friesland: a unique holiday destination

Friesland has the greatest concentration of tourist pathways and waterways in Europe

Sneek - Friesland: a unique holiday destination
Sneek - Friesland: a unique holiday destination

SNEEK (NL) – Friesland (know in Frisian and officially as Fryslân) is one of the 12 provinces of the Netherlands and has already existed for more than 2000 years. The Romans were the first tourists and were extremely impressed by what they found... as you will be too! Over the centuries, Friesland has developed into a unique area of the Netherlands.
Nowhere else will you find such a wide variety of landscapes, cultural history and leisure opportunities in a single region measuring just 100 km across.

Unique 'Eleven Towns' e-bike-test package

Try out four different electric bicycles on the 'Eleven Cities' Route!

Try out four different electric bicycles on the 'Eleven Cities' Route!

SNEEK (NL) – The travel organisation of the bureau for tourism of Friesland, Friesland Holland Travel, offers e-bike enthusiasts and potential buyers of an electric bicycle the unique opportunity to try out totally different, high-end e-bikes on ‘the Seven’ of the ‘Eleven Towns’ Route.

For two people sharing this new three-day ‘Eleven Towns' hotel + e-bike package, two different e-bikes will be made available for the ‘Eleven Towns’ cycle route Sneek-Langweer-Sloten-Stavoren-Koudum. If you share this package with someone you know, such as a partner or friend, you can switch bicycles during the tour in order to experience different e-bikes.

In Sneek - Friesland

The world’s most beautiful bicycle tracks

This is unique in the whole world, you will only find this in Sneek - Friesland: bicycle tracks straight across magnificent areas of natural beauty, far away from motorized traffic and perfectly signposted.

Also in the villages and towns of this holiday country, separate tracks and traffic lanes are laid out for cyclists, everywhere! Most Frisians go to work and to school by bicycle. The Frisian administrators too, take the bike, if possible, for a working visit for instance. This matches very well the ambition of Friesland to be the most abiding province of the Netherlands.

As a tourist in Friesland, you can hire everywhere an electric boat or bicycle — and recharge! — to move from one accommodation address to another, or to explore the surroundings of the accommodation address. The travel organization of the Frisian Holland Tourist Office,, offers hundreds of arrangements with the option ‘rent e-boat’ of ‘rent e-bike’.  Very soon an ‘e-car’, a car driven by an electric motor, will be added to the renting program. The car is still being tested in view of sufficient range (minimum range of 200 km!) and user-friendliness as well as safety. Charging points are already established, thanks to the province of Fryslân!


The fortress Sneek

Sneek originated in the eleventh century. It was formed from two terps lying close to each other. The city is situated on the border of a clay and peat area.

SNEEK: Stadhuis • Town Hall
SNEEK: Stadhuis • Town Hall

The very first buildings appeared on the terp where the large Martin Church now stands. The Martin Church was built on the western terp and dates from the period round 1500.

The fortress Sneek
At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Sneek was provided with fortifications, which made it the best defended city of Friesland.
In the second half of the seventeenth century and in the eighteenth century, Sneek was a flourishing and fast-growing city. Unfortunately, much was lost at that time. In the eighteenth century, for example, the city walls and bulwarks were demolished.
Sneek is known for its watergates. Once there were five. The remaining watergate, which dates from 1613, is the symbol of Sneek. This Watergate can therefore be found as a pictorial mark on many Sneek products. The watergate logo of the water sport clothing brand Gaastra is very well known.

Town Hall
Sneek’s Town Hall is a special attraction. It dates originally from 1550, but in subsequent years the Town Hall was expanded. It was rebuilt many times as well afterwards. In 1760, it acquired its luxuriant rococo forms. Ultimately, the Town Hall was given the attractive external appearance which can still be viewed


Sneek is the best base from which to discover Friesland

SNEEK: Waterpoort • Watergate
SNEEK: Waterpoort • Watergate

SNEEK (NL) – Just like Amsterdam, Sneek is both transected and surrounded by canals. Indeed Sneek has many similarities with the capital of the Netherlands, although of course this comparison flounders because Sneek is many times smaller, plus it is fortunately free of the problems of urban crime and tensions.

In Sneek, residents and tourists harmoniously enjoy the atmosphere of a historic provincial town that has unique speciality shops, cafés and restaurants. Things that you don’t even find in Amsterdam.
Actually Sneek is the tourist capital of Friesland as well as one of the most important shopping and night life centres of the province. Over 100,000 Frisians do their weekly shopping there. Nearly every tourist that visits Friesland makes his way there by boat, on a bicycle or by car. Sneek is in the centre of Friesland, in the heart of the Frisian Lake District, on the Eleven Cities ice skating route, at a junction of waterways and highways as well as bus and train lines.