Cycling where there once was sea – water country in the Netherlands
Tourist Info Urk
‘God created the world, but the Dutch created Holland,’ as the old saying goes. In fairness, this maxim is pretty accurate as a large part of the Netherlands was reclaimed from the sea. Dykes were built and windmills pumped out vast amounts of water. This process, which began in the 12th century, created the polders; areas of land that lie several metres below sea level but have been cleared of water for agriculture.
In this Collection, we present ten varied tours, all of which have water as a running theme. In the provinces of Zeeland, Flevoland, Friesland and, of course, North and South Holland, you cycle mostly ‘underwater’ through landscapes that are refreshingly diverse and hold many surprises.
On perfect cycle paths, you ride through centuries-old landscapes, explore huge nature reserves and discover many unique highlights. In the village of Kinderdijk, you can visit the world-famous windmills, which provided the dry ground under your feet from the 17th century onwards. In Flevoland, the youngest province in the Netherlands, you will visit villages that were once islands. Around Dordrecht, the oldest city in Holland, you will get to know the Biesbosch National Park, where nature is always changing. Not only the oldest city in Holland, but also the oldest polder, De Beemster, can be found in this Collection. Finally, in Zeeland, you will follow the traces of the devastating storm tide of 1953 and take a look at the Delta Works, a huge dam system.
Beautiful landscape – partly created by humans – and rich culture are your companions on all ten Tours. But culinary delights are not neglected either. In the fish stalls along the coast and the Pannenkoekenhuisern (pancake houses), you will experience the culinary heart of the Netherlands and replenish your energy with food like kibbeling (deep fried fish pieces) and poffertjes (small, fluffy pancakes) after a cycling Tour.
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For centuries the Omringdijk has protected the villages and polders of West Friesland from the floods of the North Sea. Since the Zuidersee was diked and thus became the IJsselmeer, the largest lake in the Netherlands, the Omringdijk has lost its function. Only between Hoorn and Medemblik does it still serve as flood protection. The dike nevertheless winds its way through the landscape for almost 126 kilometers and on this circular route you follow its course.
"Fries Wetter" - that means "Friesisches Wasser" in German and there are more than enough of them on this bike tour. Because it goes along small lakes, dead straight canals, narrow irrigation canals and of course to the IJsselmeer, the largest lake in the Netherlands. On the way you will visit the towns of Joure, Lemmer and Sloten, which beckon with their Frisian charm.
Dordrecht is not only an island in the Dutch Rhine delta, but also the oldest city in the historic province of Holland. On our round trip you can get to know both: on the one hand the winding streets of the old town lined with canals and canals and on the other hand the wide meadows and forest areas of the island of Dordrecht.
In the north of the province of Overijssel there is an extensive, unspoilt moor area - the Weeribben-Wieden National Park. The original landscape is deceptive: since the 12th century, the huge moorland was changed by human hands. Dikes were built, trenches were dug and, above all, peat was extracted. This created a fragmented landscape of ponds, streams, canals and lakes. It was not until the 1920s, when peat was being displaced by better fuel, that humans withdrew.