Four National Parks
Walk, cycle or sail through the National Parks
From the purple moors near Appelscha to the blue-grey Wadden area in the north, nature lovers will never tire of the four National Parks that Friesland has to offer. Take a walk through vast landscapes, cycle along the dunes or sail through the quietest areas of the Netherlands. Some parks have a guide who can take you on an eco-safari.
Dark Sky Parks
Enjoy the most beautiful starry sky in complete darkness.
Real darkness is becoming increasingly rare. Friesland and Terschelling have the only two Dark Sky Parks in the Netherlands. Areas where light pollution is kept at a minimum. These nature reserves are dark enough to be officially designated as Dark Sky Parks by the International Dark Sky Association. Because it’s so dark, you can see countless stars here. Visit one of the Dark Sky Parks and De Boschplaat or Lauwersmeer National Parks and experience the magic of the night.
Outdoor art routes
Nature and culture come together in Friesland
There's no time to be bored when you follow one of the area's many art routes. Walk along the Wadden coast and discover Sense of Place - landscape art that decorates more and more of the coastline. Alternatively, you can visit the eleven Frisian historic towns, known from the classic Dutch 'Elfstedentocht’ (Eleven Cities Tour). Each city has a fountain designed by a different renowned international artist, who depicts that city’s history in their own special way.
Eise Eisinga Planetarium
Discover the sky at the world's oldest planetarium
Explore the heavens at the world's oldest planetarium. It was built in 1744 by amateur astronomer Eise Eisinga and is still working to this day. See it in his historic living room in Franeker, Friesland. Complete your experience with a night-time visit to one of the Dark Sky Parks, where it's so dark that you can sometimes even see the Milky Way above you!
Discover the European Capital of Culture
Leeuwarden, the European Capital of Culture 2018, offers everything for a great city break, from unique boutiques and modern galleries, to historical sites and royal architecture. Walk around the city and look for the birthplaces of historical figures like Mata Hari, Escher, Alma Tadema and Saskia van Rijn (Rembrandt's wife). Museum enthusiasts can visit the Museum of Friesland and the Ceramics Museum for special exhibitions. Leeuwarden is a perfect base for exploring the National Parks, the Wadden region and the beautiful hinterland.
Your own Elfstedentocht
Visit eleven historic cities connected by water
Where other than Friesland are the cities sometimes smaller than the villages? That has to do with the special history of the eleven Frisian cities. The clearly visible traces of the rich trading history and the former maritime shipping make them a must-see for every tourist. Every town has its own charm. From the 16th-century strongholds of Dokkum to the nautical atmosphere of the coastal town of Harlingen, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
The Wadden Islands: unforgettably beautiful
Beachcombing on one of the Wadden Islands
Board the boat to one of the Wadden Islands and leave the busy crowds on the mainland. The Wadden Islands guarantee a slower pace and fresh air. Wander along endless beaches, go on an expedition with a beachcomber or take a refreshing dip in the sea! Then catch your breath and get warm again in one of the beach tents.
UNESCO World Heritage Site Ir. D.F. Woudagemaal pumping station
Visit the world's oldest working steam pumping station
The world's oldest working steam pumping station can be found in Friesland, where the Frisians still use it to prevent their feet from getting wet! While in use, the entire lake and building are hidden under an impressive cloud of steam. But even when it's not in use, the area is still worth a visit. In 2020, the pumping station will turn 100 years old, which will be celebrated with various events in and around the visitor centre.
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