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De Frije Wiken

De Frije Wiken


De Frije Wiken is a beautiful part of southeast Friesland. It is made up of 14 villages and towns that lie at the heart of southeast Friesland. There was extreme poverty here in the past but today the land is richly endowed with scenic beauty.

In his novel Volk zonder uren [People without hours] written in 1949, Evert Zandstra described the harsh and poverty-stricken circumstances of the villagers who lived here in around 1868 as the demand for peat dwindled. So this part of Friesland is also known as ‘the land of the people without hours’.

This largely undiscovered area with its unique network of neighbourhoods sits concealed between the Turf Boating Route and better known tourist attractions. 

The tranquil landscape is c…

De Frije Wiken is a beautiful part of southeast Friesland. It is made up of 14 villages and towns that lie at the heart of southeast Friesland. There was extreme poverty here in the past but today the land is richly endowed with scenic beauty.

In his novel Volk zonder uren [People without hours] written in 1949, Evert Zandstra described the harsh and poverty-stricken circumstances of the villagers who lived here in around 1868 as the demand for peat dwindled. So this part of Friesland is also known as ‘the land of the people without hours’.

This largely undiscovered area with its unique network of neighbourhoods sits concealed between the Turf Boating Route and better known tourist attractions. 

The tranquil landscape is crisscrossed by waterways and district canals that were built to transport the turf. After the peat had been mined, bit by bit the land was converted to farmland and used to grow crops. But the farming was done on a small scale and developed gradually so the land was able to recover.  

The 14 villages and towns that together form De Frije Wiken are Bontebok, Oudehorne, Nieuwehorne, Jubbega, Hoornsterzwaag, Katlijk, De Knipe, Oldeberkoop, Mildam, Gorredijk, Hemrik, Lippenhuizen, Langezwaag and Jonkerslân.  

Gorredijk is the charming principal town in the area and has several beautiful listed buildings and protected monuments. Museum Opsterland, the local museum, is in the middle of the town in a building that was originally built as a primary school in 1887. 

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