We start this route at the boisterous spouting Fish Fountain, that refers to times of abundance, but also to times of flooding. Both were common in Stavoren. Nevertheless, it is a cheerful fountain and children love to play in it on hot days. In the mouth of the fish you will be dry, but try to get in without getting wet... On the benches around the fountain, people are often relaxing and enjoying ice cream. A lovely place to start the route!
The Fish sits next to the harbour of Stavoren. This area, with the bright, colourful houses gracing the other side of the harbour, is also called ‘little Copenhagen’. In the harbour you will find both new and old ships. The old ships, the big boys at the front of the bridge, are part of the Frisian Fleet, a cooperative of enthusiastic skippers with beautiful traditional sailing ships that offer trips to anyone who wants to come along.
Now cross the old sea lock. It dates from 1576 and gives access to the city. Here you will also encounter the statue of the Lady of Stavoren. This little lady is the central figure of a local saga. In short: the Lady of Stavoren was a rich widow who was always trying to gain even more wealth. When someone warned her about her behaviour, she threw her golden ring into the sea, declaring that she was as likely to fall into poverty as she was of ever seeing the ring again. Years later, a fisherman showed her a fish that had the golden ring in its mouth. You guessed it; the little lady lost all her wealth.
As we continue our route along the quay, don’t forget to look to the left. There, you will see a small road that leads to the Blokhuis, a blockhouse (small fortification) built around 1525 by Emperor Charles V. to keep the Frisians under control. During excavations in 1996, parts of the walls and towers and many cannonballs were found. Now, on the old foundations of the blockhouse, you will find an abstract representation of the fortification.
Walk back to the harbour, and we’ll continue our way towards the IJsselmeer (Lake IJssel), passing the cheerful, modern houses. At the end of the quay, there is the pier. From here you can see the industrial harbour lights from 1884 and the cast iron lighthouse of Stavoren. At sunset, the view is stunning.
Via the grass you can now walk along the waterside of Lake IJssel. At the end of this field with modern holiday cottages, there is a small dyke. A lovely place to enjoy the fresh air and watch the sun set in the lake.
After about 300 meters you can leave the dyke via a gate on your left, and walk to the city centre via an old alley. Here, a narrow canal splits Stavoren in two parts. Walk straight ahead to get to the big canal Stadsgracht. Old boats add to the canal’s charm, and you can enjoy the diversity of the houses. Here, no two houses look the same.
At the end of this street, you will reach the inner harbour. Are there any nice boats for sale? Turn left at Buuf Jellie, follow Hellingspad (literally: ‘sloping path’) and arrive at Smidstraat. Here you will find Museum Ponthús, where you can learn about how the inhabitants of Stavoren used to live. Turn right here, at a shop that sells antique maritime items.
When you walk straight ahead, you will arrive at the old lock and the Fish of Stavoren. This is the end of the route. Enjoy an ice cream or a nice drink while listening to the loud splashing of this cheerful fountain. Cheers! All restaurants and cafés in Stavoren can be found here.