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Waterworks Road Trip

(183.0 km)

A captivating cross-country road trip through beautiful southwest Friesland that takes you to 13 iconic water features.

This road trip takes you to 13 iconic water features that are part of the Currents in Waterland story trail in the Waterland van Friesland area. Along the way you learn how the local people harnessed the power of the water and sometimes had to fight to hold it back. During the trip you discover two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a mound village, nature reserves, the only cliffs in the Netherlands and the Afsluitdijk. The route also includes a ferry crossing. Be sure to enjoy the open countryside along the way! It is best to spread the trip over 2,3 or 4 days. This makes it perfect for a weekend in Friesland. Find places to stay along the way.

You start …

A captivating cross-country road trip through beautiful southwest Friesland that takes you to 13 iconic water features.

This road trip takes you to 13 iconic water features that are part of the Currents in Waterland story trail in the Waterland van Friesland area. Along the way you learn how the local people harnessed the power of the water and sometimes had to fight to hold it back. During the trip you discover two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a mound village, nature reserves, the only cliffs in the Netherlands and the Afsluitdijk. The route also includes a ferry crossing. Be sure to enjoy the open countryside along the way! It is best to spread the trip over 2,3 or 4 days. This makes it perfect for a weekend in Friesland. Find places to stay along the way.

You start at Ir. D.F. Woudagemaal, a steam-driven pumping station that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since 1920, the pumping station has been fired up whenever water levels are high to prevent flooding in Friesland. You continue on your way past Tjeukemeer (Tsjûkemar) lake. This is the largest lake in Friesland. There are many stories of how it came to be. Some say the lake was man-made. Other believe the folktale about the two sisters, Tsjûke and Marchje, tells the true story of how it originated. From here, you continue on to Sneekermeer (Snitser Mar) lake, where you can enjoy the views and read about the history of the Skûtsjesilen regatta in Friesland. The traditional flat-bottomed boats that compete in the regatta were originally used to transport cargo. On the bank of the Geeuw waterway in IJlst, you can discover the De Rat sawmill, where people have been using wind power to saw heavy timber into planks for 200 years. Step back in time as you savour the smell of the wood at this historic mill, which is still in working order. You can learn more about the history of the wood industry in IJlst at the Houtstad-IJlst Museum and Workshop next door.

After IJlst, you drive under the water at flying speed. The aqueduct near the village of Woudsend and many other aqueducts and bridges allow motorists to drive throughout the region. The next stretch of the route takes you along the banks of Slotermeer (Sleattemer) lake to the cliffs in Gaasterland. These are the only three cliffs in the Netherlands! From here, you travel around the coastline of the former Zuiderzee inlet to the Bocht van Molkwar nature reserve. The reserve is managed by It Fryske Gea, the organisation that protects Friesland’s natural and cultural heritage, and is a real haven for birds and bird watchers. At Tjerkwerd, it’s time to get out and stretch your legs. The narrow path next to the canal through the village is known as a towpath because boats were towed along the water from the path on the bank. Since you don’t have a boat in tow, there is no hurry. You can relax and take your time. Continue along the towpath to the mound village of Allingawier. Many villages in the area are built on man-made mounds known as ‘terps’. The village of Allingawier was once voted one of the ten most beautiful places in the Netherlands. After exploring the village, you can enjoy a scenic walk along an ancient ring dike known as Pingjumer Gulden Halsband, the ‘Gold Collar of Pingjum’. The dike was built more than 1,000 years ago and protected the village of Pingjum from flooding. Today it presents a golden opportunity for a beautiful walk. The road trip ends at the Afsluitdijk Wadden Centre next to the Afsluitdijk. This extremely striking building hosts some interesting exhibitions that are worth seeing.

This road trip through southwest Friesland takes you to iconic water features that are part of the Currents in Waterland story trail. 

Sights on this route

1

Woudagemaal: largest steam pumping station in the world

Visit the largest steam pumping station in the world!

Woudagemaal: largest steam pumping station in the world
2

Tjeukemeer (Tsjûkemar)

The Tjeukemeer is the largest inland lake in Friesland.

Tjeukemeer (Tsjûkemar)
3

Houtzaagmolen de Rat

Visit wind powered sawmill ‘De Rat’ and step back in time three hundred years!

Houtzaagmolen de Rat
4

Skûtsje rental Haghe

Go sailing on an old Frisian vessel (skûtsjesilen) in Heeg A day out on the Aleida Hendrika, which was built in 1905. A wonderful experience for young and old! We will show you how fascinating Friesland is from the water.

Vaar mee op een skûtsje. Boek hier je tickets

Skûtsje rental Haghe
5

Fisching company Andries van Netten

Andries van Netten is a local fisherman and supplier of fresh products for Gaastmeer and the surrounding area. All products are fresh and caught in the lakes around Gaastmeer.

Leer meer over palingvissen. Koop hier je ticket

Fisching company Andries van Netten
6

Ie Akwadukt

South of Woudsend, since 2007, you can find the Ie Aqueduct: an aqueduct at the intersection of the river De Ie and the N928.

Ie Akwadukt
7

Drowned land of Elahuizen

In the Fluessen, you will find a buoy marking where the village of Elahuizen used to be.

Drowned land of Elahuizen
8

Oudemirdumer Klif (cliff at Oudemirdum)

The cliff at Oudemirdum is 6 metres high. It was formed during the last ice age but one when the land was pushed up by enormous glaciers that advanced from Scandinavia and deposited large boulders in Gaasterland.

Oudemirdumer Klif (cliff at Oudemirdum)
9

Bocht fan Molkwar

Vanaf de vogelkijkhut zie je de invloed van de wind. Westenwind zorgt voor een hoge waterstand waardoor de zandplaten onderlopen, de eilanden kleiner worden en minder plaats bieden aan vogels. De aalscholvers,...

Bocht fan Molkwar
10

Jaagpad langs de Workumertrekvaart

Een prachtig jaagpad om langs te fietsen of wandelen is het jaagpad bij Tjerkwerd langs de Workumertrekvaart. Je fietst of wandelt direct langs het water.

Jaagpad langs de Workumertrekvaart
11

Terpdorp Allingawier

Allingawier is een pittoresk terpdorpje, gelegen tussen de IJsselmeerkust en Hanzestad Bolsward. 

Terpdorp Allingawier Allingawier terpdorp
12

Pingjumer Gulden Halsband inner dike

The Pingjumer Gulden Halsband is an inner dike that once protected the village of Pingjum from the waters of the Marne, an inlet of the Wadden Sea.

Pingjumer Gulden Halsband inner dike Pingjumer Gouden Halsband dijkje met wandelaar
13

Afsluitdijk Wadden Centre

On the Afsluitdijk causeway, at Kornwerderzand, you will find a remarkable building resembling a foaming wave, breaking on the causeway wall: this is the Afsluitdijk Wadden Centre.

Afsluitdijk Wadden Centre

Directions

1

Woudagemaal: largest steam pumping station in the world

Visit the largest steam pumping station in the world!

Woudagemaal: largest steam pumping station in the world

TR onto the N359. Follow the road for 3 km, under the A6 motorway. STR TO Oosterzee (Westeind). Through Oosterzee-Buren. At the T-junction, TR TO Echtenerbrug. In Echten, park at the church for a visit to Echten pumping station (cross the road, 400 m walk). In Echtenerbrug, TL TO Rottum. In Rottum, (at the road to the left towards Oudehaske/immediately after the 60km sign) TR and keep left on Oude Postweg. At the end (boulder), TL onto Sydkakke, at the crossroads STR onto Vogelzangweg.

At the end, TR onto Badweg. TL at the end. In Haskerhorne, TL at the church, onto Haulsterweg. After the long S-bend, TR. Follow the signs to Scharsterbrug. Approx. 2 km out of the village, TR TO Langweer. In Langweer, continue STR. Take the ferry over Langwarder Feart (€2.50 per car, no service on Thursdays from 10-12). At the end, TR TO Sneek Aldewei. In Sneek, continue STR, following signs to the Centrum. Immediately after the bridge, TL onto Bothniakade, TR at the end, take the first TR onto Kleinzand (Frisian Maritime Museum, Kleinzand 16). TL at the end, continue STR over the roundabout (keeping the canal to your right). Follow the Prins Hendrikkade. At the traffic lights, TL TO IJlst. At the Arriva train station in IJlst, TL. After the bridge, TL TO Hommerts. After the high bridge, TL to visit De Rat wood sawmill.

After a visit to the Frisian Maritime Museum or an evening tour on board the old eel fishing barge in Heeg, there are plenty of options to stay overnight in Waterland van Friesland. Search and book your hotel room, holiday home or Bed & Breakfast around Sneek, Woudsend or Heeg: www.waterlandvanfriesland.nl/en/visit/staying-overnight

Return to IJlst train station, TL. After Nijesyl, TL. On the outskirts of Heeg, TR. At the next roundabout, TL into Heeg. Follow signs for Centrum. TL onto Nyedijk. TL at the end (the Korneliske Ykes II old eel shipping barge is moored on the other side). Continue STR on over the bridge, leaving Heeg behind. TR at the end and continue STR on over the next roundabout TO Hommerts. In Hommerts, TR, following the signs to Balk. Woudsend aqueduct. At Balk, follow the signs for Bolsward over the first two roundabouts. On the N359, TL TO Ruigahuizen. At the end, TR onto Tsjerkhofleane. At the end, TL onto Nij Amerika. At the end, TR onto Beuckenswijkstraat. After Nijemirdum, take the 1st TL onto Sanfeartsdyk (becomes: Liemerige Wei). TL onto De Dollen. Oudemirdumerklif. TL at the end onto Marderhoek. In Oudemirdum, TL onto Jan Schotanuswei, then 1st TL TO Mirns Huningspaed (becomes: Murnserdyk). Mirnserklif. Carry on through Mirns. TL TO Roode Klif.

Follow the sea dike. In Stavoren, cross the bridge and continue STR onto Schans. With the bridge on your right-hand, TL, and TR at the end, TO the station. At the station, TR. In Molkwerum, pass the church and TL at the T-junction. TR at the end (Bocht fan Molkwar) and follow the sea dike. Continue STR through Hindeloopen. Park at the church for a visit to the Peilschaalhuisje (up the stone steps onto the sea dike, 200 m to the left). Now continue along this road to leave the city behind you. N359, cross over Kleine Wiske. After 3 km, TL onto Heidenskipsterdyk. Just over 2 km further, TR onto Skar. After 1 km, it’s time to park up for a visit to Wolvetinte (approx. 400 m walk). Return to the Heidenskipsterdyk. TR and follow the road through It Heidenskip TO Workum. Cross the railway, TR at the end (Eniggaburen, becomes Trekwei). Continue along this road. In Parrega, TR over the bridge and then TL TO Dedgum Ysgumerwei.

Drive through Dedgum and Arkum, TL TO Tjerkwerd (Jaagpad). At the end, TL over the bridge, and TR onto the N359. Pass under the viaduct, TL twice, TO Exmorra. In Exmorra, TL, through Allingawier terp village, follow the road TO Makkum. TR at the roundabout. In Witmarsum, TL. In Pingjum, TR at the end, and then TL, following signs to Zurich. On arriving in Zurich, you can park at Caspar de Roblesdijk 1, and climb the steps onto the sea dike for a beautiful view of the Wadden Sea. Turn around and leave Zurich the same way you arrived. After 1.5 km, TR onto the A7 motorway; leave it at Kornwerderzand junction, TL over the viaduct to the Afsluitdijk Wadden Center.

Key to symbols:

TR = turn right

TL = turn left

STR = continue straight on

TO = towards

Tjerkwerd = built-up area

Buren = street name

Finish: Afsluitdijk Wadden Center, Afsluitdijk 8752 Kornwerderzand

13

Afsluitdijk Wadden Centre

On the Afsluitdijk causeway, at Kornwerderzand, you will find a remarkable building resembling a foaming wave, breaking on the causeway wall: this is the Afsluitdijk Wadden Centre.

Afsluitdijk Wadden Centre

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