Frisian Lakes

Friesland and water are connected inextricably with each other. He who thinks of Fryslān, thinks of the Elfstedentocht, berenburg, stamboek cattle and above all at water sports. In the it’s always pleasantly crowded on the vast lake territory, where tourists enjoy their holiday or going out with their cruiser yachts or sailing boats.

Nature and landscape

When talking about the Frisian lakes, we generally mean the water country that sits between Stavoren in the southwest of the province and Burgum in the east. Fryslān owns the largest one-piece lake territory of western Europe that has developed itself approximately five hundred year for the beginning of our era. The many puddles of the peat bog country, from which the middle Friesland then largely existed, were increased by regular floods of the North Sea. A number of rivers and streams, that in this time through this low country to sea streamed, made the country very vulnerable for the sea and periods of large rain fall.

Also the harvesting of peat has helped the forming of the Frisian lakes. Especially in the National Park De Ālde Feanen at Eernewoude this can be seen very well; for the harvest of peat characteristic strips of land in the water are still present, resulting in a labyrinth of waterways and open water.

Apart from the lakes also typical for Friesland are the agriculture activities. The land between the lakes consists largely of grass meadows with now and then a farm or church tower at the horizon. The combination of water and the open landscape make the Frisian lake territory an excellent place to relax.

Culture and settlements

The water had an important economic role in the province Friesland way before the arrival of tourism. Transport of raw materials, cattle and trade goods were done mainly using water with sailing ships and typical Frisian vessels called pramen. Nowadays still every year in the summer months a sail race is organized with historical transport ships, the Skūtsje Silen.

The largest lakes are the Fluessen, Heegermeer, Tjeukemeer and Slotermeer, but also on the smaller waters like the Sneekermeer, Oudegaasterbrekken, Langweerder Wielen and Pikmeer lot can be seen and done. Who after a long day sailing on the lakes wants to explore the Frisian nightlife could visit for instance Sneek, Grou, Heeg or Langweer.

Besides the Skūtsje Silen there are more types of sailboat races, like during the Sneek Week, an event that is held every year in early August. Throughout this week the Sneekermeer and Goļngarijpsterpoelen are the stage of various sailing competitions and a lot of festivities in and around the city of Sneek.


In the different cities and villages around the Frisian lakes there are loads of ways to spend your time. For tourist information you can go to the VVV-offices that are present in most of the towns. If you don’t have a boat yourself, you can of course hire it at one of the many marinas.

In most towns you can expect to find marinas where you can moor your boat to visit the town and stay overnight. Most harbours include sanitary facilities. Are you looking for a peaceful place to spend the night, consider sailing your boat to one of the many specially constructed mooring spots in the nature.

Holiday and recreation in the Frisian lake area

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