Discover Benelux | Explore Friesland | Introduction
Photo: Tom Coehoorn
In fact, Friesland is synonymous with water. You can sail here, go paddleboarding, canoeing or experience an invigorating sailing regatta with ‘skûtsjes’. Every summer, these races between sailing traditional inland freight vessels provide lots of excitement. In winter, all Frisians unite in their hope for a sustained spell of freezing weather – the indispensable requirement for the 11 cities ice skating marathon the Elfstedentocht. The population of this northern province truly comes to life in icy weather conditions, which provides a great opportunity for many to engage in endurance skating races on frozen canals and lakes. Do you prefer sunny days? In the summer you may take a tour of over 200 kilometres, along all of the 11 Frisian cities. Of course, it is possible to cover the tour on waterways, or to do it by cycling or hiking. This will enable you to fully enjoy the
vast Frisian countryside with its endless vistas. During any of your visits, you will be rest assured that a cosy outdoor cafe awaits you in every one of the 11 charming cities. And you can also count on the fact that you will hear the language of the Frisians, the only other official language of the Netherlands aside from Dutch. The 11 cities of Friesland constitute the historical heart of the province. The charming little city of Sloten, with its quiet canal and convex bridges, is home to less than 800 inhabitants. Strongholds dating back to the 16th century still protect Dokkum’s city centre and the world’s oldest functioning planetarium is found in the city of Franeker. The four national parks of Friesland are pearls of nature in green and blue. Additionally, there is the Wadden Sea of course, which is a UNESCO world heritage site and a unique nature reserve.
Twice a day, the sea retreats to expose large, flat sandy areas where millions of birds find something to eat. Similarly, many Frisian chefs enjoy preparing culinary delights based on local, natural ingredients gleaned from sea and Frisian fields. In modern days the Frisians are great at practising the age-old tradition of ‘Mienskip’: a sense of community, helping one another whenever possible. Mienskip has also been selected as the central theme for the year 2018, when Leeuwarden will be the radiant Cultural Capital of Europe. Are you eager to have a taste of the Province of Friesland? Pay Friesland a visit during the weekends on 15-17 April, or on 22-24 April. The province will be filled with typically Frisian activities at attractive rates. For now or later: ‘Wolkom!’ proevenaan.friesland.nl www.friesland.nl/en Issue 28 | April 2016 | 37
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.