The village of Heerenveen was established at the intersection of two canals built by three local peat masters (heren) named Van Dekema, Cuyck and Foeyts. So the village came to be known as ‘heeren-van-het-veen’, which means ‘lords of the peat’.
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Heerenveen is the oldest peat mining village in the Netherlands. The village was established in 1551 at the intersection of the Heeresloot and Schoterlandse Compagnonsvaart canals. The Heereweg road between Zwolle and Leeuwarden was also nearby.
The canals were built by three local peat masters (heren) named Van Dekema, Cuyck and Foeyts. On 24 July 1551, the three men set up a company to buy large tracts of land for peat mining. So the village came to be known as ‘heeren-van-het-veen’, which means ‘lords of the peat’. Over time, the name was shortened to Heerenveen.
In the 19th century the village developed as its wealthy citizens were joined by many merchants and craftspeople. The country houses of the Frisian nobility in the neighbouring village of Oranjewoud led the area to be known as The Hague of Friesland.
In terms of the number of inhabitants, Heerenveen is the fourth largest town in Friesland but it is not one of the eleven cities of Friesland.
There are several places where you can moor in Heerenveen. In the town centre you can see the magnificent Crackstate mansion, which now serves as the town hall. Museum Heerenveen is also worth a look. And do be sure to visit the kilometre-long Le Roy Garden on Europalaan and Kennedylaan. From there, it is just a short bike ride to the neighbouring village of Oranjewoud with its beautiful scenery and impressive country houses.