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Home Provinces Cycling in the province of Friesland

Cycling in the province of Friesland

The very mention of Friesland brings to mind water because this province has countless large and small lakes. The Frisian lakes are mostly known for being water sports hot spots. In summer, these lakes are dotted with all manner of colourful, flapping sails. But Friesland has much more to offer than water. In the west of the province lies the undulating Gaasterland region; in the southeast, the Friese Wouden region, a small-scale landscape of pastures, brooks, heathlands and windbreaks.

The popular West Frisian Islands of Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog are also part of Friesland. The first two can be accessed by ferry from Harlingen; Ameland from Holwerd, Schiermonnikoog from Lauwersmeer. With their beaches, dunes, polders, forests and cosy villages, the West Frisian Islands are an exceptionally beautiful part of the Netherlands. Make sure to spend at least a couple of days on each island. And do take your bike, of course. Friesland or Fryslân has its own culture. Friesland even has its own language. Almost everyone here understands Frisian; many use it as their main language. As you cycle through Fryslân, you will see bilingual signs everywhere: Leeuwarden/Ljouwert or Sneek/Snits. Also typically Frisian is the Frisian ball game of ‘kaatsen’ which bears some resemblance to cricket; skûtsjesilen, a sailing race in special shallow-draught Frisian boats; and the 11-city speed skating event known as the Elfstedentocht. Whenever freezing temperatures set in, everyone in the Netherlands starts wondering if and when the ‘tocht der tochten’, the ultimate race, will take place. By the way, in summer, you can also do the Elfstedentocht by bike.

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