Northern Netherlands

Obscure among foreigners, the Northern Netherlands can be a pleasant surprise. This sparsely inhabited region is home to some stunning historic fortifications, lovely cities, great museums and excellent water sports opportunities. Its nature varies from vast heathlands to beautiful lake areas.

As soon as winter shows its face, the odd chance of the “eleven-city-tour”, a major ice-skating event passing 11 pretty towns in Friesland and last held in 1997, becomes the talk of the day in all of the country. Although nature rarely allows for the tour to be held, it seems to have become part of the Dutch identity. Small chance you’ll find yourself caught in the middle of that massive event (estimations state that, would the tour be held, it would become the biggest single event in the history of the country), but the region is a lovely destination even in high summer.

Most of the Northern Netherlands consists of a flat polder landscape, with the exception of Drenthe which lies on a plateau and consists of heathlands.

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Map of Northern Netherlands

Lying on the Drents Plateau, this area is a favorite among Dutch travelers for its heathland, sand grounds and the dolmen from the early Neolithic period.
Known for its lakes and ice skating culture, Friesland has a distinct culture and its own language and traditions. The Sneekweek is an annual boating event in the summer, while winter revolves around the Elfstedentocht, one of the most legendary ice skating tournaments in the world that can only be held in extremely cold winters (last one in 1997).
The city of Groningen is one of the most happening cities of the country, and a highlight of the northern region. The Ommelanden (surrounding lands) are very flat and very green, and historically belong to the greater Frisian region.

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