The Netherlands heading South

Firstly thanks to everyone for your feedback on my blog. We are certainly exploring parts of the world that most have never heard of let alone visited. Sue Neales pointed out that she needed to get out a map to see where we are, so as a nod to this feedback I have included a map of Friesland for you reference.

The back line is an approximation of our trip. For those who have travelled these waterways you will know that canals do not run as the crow flies, but rather meander along. Our northward journey started at Lemmer, to Sloten ( not marked on the map, but below Sneek), then to Sneek, Grou and Leeuwarden. We took a train trip to Harlingen, on the coast. Returning south we travelled from Leeuwarden back to Grou, then to Makkum, out on the IJsselmeer to Wokkum and back to Lemmer.

We returned to Grou to break the journey. The only mooring available was outside the hotel and you were welcome as long as you dined at the hotel restaurant. Yahoo, the cook got a night off!

Joie de Vivre returns to Grou
As we have travelled along the canals, and particularly through the farming areas of Friesland, I noticed that the Dutch flag was being flown upside down. For those that don’t know, the Dutch flag is flown with the red stripe on the top 🇳🇱. At first I thought is was a mistake, but then how could so many people get it wrong, particularly the flags flown along the roads. I checked flags on google, and the blue, white and red striped flag is that of Schleswig-Holstein, and unless I missed something I didn’t think this northern German province had invaded the Netherlands in the last few month. Back to the ever reliable google and I found the answer

The Dutch government is planning to reduce nitrogen emissions by 50% by 2030. The plan involves reducing the speed limit for cars and this is the cruncher, reducing livestock by 30%. In order to achieve this they propose to buy up farms. Well the farmers are not happy, so part of their protest is to fly the flag upside down. Traditionally a flag flown in this way was is a sign of distress. Given the number of upside down flags we have seen, the Dutch must view that their farming heritage is more important to protect, than their environment. With the current drought in Europe I thought this position would be the other way around.

The village of Makkum on the IJsselmeer was our next stop. This was originally a fishing village on the ZuiderZee, but now faces the fresh water lake of the IJsselmeer. From here you can see the Afsluitdyke, only 12 kilometres away. The Afsluitdyke is the major dam in the Netherlands. Constructed between 1927 and 1932 it runs 32 kilometres from North Holland in the west to Friesland in the east. It effectively closed off the ZuiderZee from the North Sea creating the fresh water IJsselmeer and reducing the threat of flooding. There are plans in place to strengthen the dyke due to the threat of rising sea levels.

Out on the IJsselmeer we can see the Afsluitdyke in the distance. Our destination was Wokkum.
Paying the lock keeper to enter Wokkum. If you don’t have the cash that’s ok, he takes a credit card! Payment is made at on a wifi card terminal attached to the end of the pole that he hands down to you

The canal in Wokkum originally flowed through the center of the town, but it was transformed into the Main Street in the mid 1800s.

Wokkum is also one of the 11 Friesland towns and it didn’t take me long to find the next fountain.

It’s difficult to see in the photo but spurts of water come out of the lions’ claws. With the hot weather groups of children were attracted to this fountain and the air was saturated with their screams of delight as they ran under their watery paws.

Wokkum deserved a couple of days to relax in out air conditioned comfort, do a little shopping (Peter found a pair of boat shoes at the chandler for only €5.00!), and of course explore its monuments.

Still heading south, this time back to Lemmer.

No festival in Lemmer this time, but we were held up at the bridge with a wedding!

Our journey through Friesland finished at Lemmer, as we headed south to the Central Netherlands and the Hanseatic towns along the IJssel.

3 responses to “The Netherlands heading South”

  1. More beautiful stuff.Thanks Karen.Regards to Peter.

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  2. Hello Karen, as usual I love reading your wonderful Blog! Oh how beautiful is Friesland& I particularly loved the glorious yachts & their beautiful sails & old wood!!
    I am sure Peter will treasure his new shoes … should have bought 10 pairs!!!
    We are still in Surfers… like you we have had lots of visitors and are now savouring a few quieter weeks before going back to Melbourne at the end of the month. Love to you both. Looking forward to seeing you when you get home
    Hele & David xx

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  3. Thanks for sharing your wonderful journey and I loved the beautiful yachts.
    Jill xx

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