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National Landscape Southwest Fryslân

Along the IJsselmeer coast and between the Frisian lakes, the landscape is so diverse that you won't find it anywhere else in the Netherlands. Clay soil, terpen (mounds), peat areas, lakes, cliffs, and forests intermingle in the Súdwesthoeke of Friesland. Neatly categorized into four landscape types, you can discover them in countless ways. Walk along the old sea dikes, cycle through gently rolling landscapes, and paddle through forests and towns to vast lakes. Welcome to the most versatile piece of the Netherlands.

ijsselmeer coast, peat and lakes

In the clay region between Makkum and Workum, you can still find the impressive terpen (mounds). The former inhabitants of this area built these mounds as protection against the saltwater of the Zuiderzee. The mounds demonstrate the resilience and resourcefulness of the people who lived here centuries ago.

When the Afsluitdijk was completed in 1932, the sea transformed into an impressive freshwater lake: the IJsselmeer. At several places along the coast, you have a wide view over the water and the tranquil beauty of the surrounding landscape. Ice ages formed cliffs here centuries ago, which now serve as natural viewpoints.

heaven on earth

The peat and lake area is a low-lying, open, and expansive landscape. Long canals and narrow plots define the landscape around the lakes, creating a picturesque scene. Quite literally, in fact: the famous painter Jopie Huisman from Workum referred to it as heaven on earth. With so many mirror-like lakes, it often feels like you're sailing through the clouds.

Another remarkable feature of the landscape can be found in Gaasterland. The ripples in the lakes seem to flow into the rolling landscape with noble forests and open meadows. Right through the forest, you suddenly find yourself at the edge of the IJsselmeer.

Hiking through Southwest Fryslân

Let your hair blow in the wind on the dike. Create leaf angels in the forests. Or enjoy a little wading during a walk around a lake. We've compiled the most enjoyable hiking trails through the area for you.

Cycling through this landscape

Cycle in a natural setting on an excellent bike network. The peaceful paths through the meadows, historic towns, and bustling watersports villages provide a sense of freedom. Don't forget to bring some cash for the ferries.

Southwest Fryslân and water

"People here can't get enough of boats, so you can keep sailing even outside the peak season. Enjoying the sun on your face and occasionally waving to passersby can also be done right from your stand up paddleboard or canoe, of course."

mar en klif

Start your 'expedition' through Southwest Fryslân at the Mar en Klif visitor center, which is fun for both young and old. Experience the story of the coast with its cliffs, the clay region with the mounds and dikes, and the charming rolling landscape of Gaasterland. Back in the open air, you'll know more. See more. Enjoy more.

Discover the visitor center