City of seamanship and coastal defence
The organically formed Ice Fountain is unique in the world. Because of a combination of mist and freezing, the ‘fountain’ is always covered with a small layer of ice. Beautiful to see and exciting to touch. This is the starting point of the route through Dokkum.
After your visit to the fountain, walk past Hotel de Abdij and turn right at Eric’s Café, towards the fortifications of Dokkum: the Dokkumer Bolwerken. Walk along the water, surrounded by trees and picturesque houses. In the distance you can already see Zeldenrust, one of the two flourmills that adorn the bulwarks. Once you’ve arrived at the mill, don’t take the turn right away, but walk around this beautiful building. Continue your route along the water, on top of the bulwarks, to the second mill. These days, flourmill De Hoop houses a pet shop. Walk around the mill by following the narrow footpath around it.
Continue the route. Just before the bridge Woudpoortbrug, you will see one of the cannons that was used to defend Dokkum against siege. Coastal towns often had to deal with sieges, which were an unfortunate part of the sea trade. You will encounter more impressive cannons during this route. This part of the bulwark takes you to the bridge Kettingbrug (chain bridge). A lovely pedestrian bridge, adorned with fragrant flowers. In the old days however, it smelled different here, as this is where the city gallows were erected. Pirates were hung here as a warning to the locals and visitors.
Continue northwards to explore the last part of the green bulwarks. Turn left at the Aalsumerpoort, towards the city. Follow the canal through the historic centre, past the gorgeous Waag (weigh house), which today houses a lunch cafe.
Continue straight ahead to reach Het Grootdiep. Don’t let yourself be tempted yet by the lovely café terraces on your left, but turn right first. Here you will find Museum Dokkum, which tells the history of Dokkum through archaeological finds, traditional Frisian clothing and Dokkum art. Across the water, you can see the centuries-old buildings of the Dokkum Admiralty, the organisation that used to protect the coast and fought pirates. The green barge is a historic towboat, that is also used for round trips.
Further along the water you will find the cosy terraces of the cafés that are housed in the old canal houses. In the summer this is a very lively place and during the Elfstedentocht, the Eleven Cities Ice Skating Tour, this is always the turning point of the skaters. On the other side of Het Grootdiep, you can often see ice cream lovers lining up in front of the ice-cream parlour. Turn right there and walk - with the water on your right - towards the Wortelhaven. All restaurants and cafés of Dokkum can be found here.
At the Wortelhaven, cross the tall white pedestrian bridge on your right. After you have crossed the bridge, take the first street on your left and then the first street on your right to arrive at the Ice Fountain. Your walk ends here!