Netherlands -Amsterdam, Travel

Cruising the Friesland Canals Pt 3

Looking back with fond memories I am starting part three with the delightful Dokkum.


What we enjoyed most about this city was its terrific architecture and pretty canals with a few interesting shops to explore and purchase a small item or two to remember the area.

Before entering many of the cities and Dokkum being one of those, an entrance fee to the area is collected via a dangling clog.  Uniquely Dutch!

Dokkum payment goes into the clog

What Dokkum it did have that others did not have in their city was a clock that chimed at 9.50 p.m. This was a reminder of the time when the Dokkum town ramparts, also known as the bulwarks, were closed.  It was a form of a warning to the locals and those boaties that the gates of Hanspoort, Halvemaanspoort, Woudpoort and Aalsumerpoort were due to close in 10 minutes.   To honour this tradition, the Dokkum town clocks chime at precisely 9:50 PM.

Then there are the musical bells, what a treat that was to listen to as we were capturing night photographs around the town.  As I am unable to load up videos on my blog, head on over to my Instagram link to listen to the bells.  If you happen to be in Dokkum on a Friday, the town carillonneur plays the carillon every Friday, from 7.00 pm to 8.00 pm.

The link is a featured video on FaceBook [Globalhousesitterx2], head on over to listen to the bell ringing: Bell Ringing in Dokkum

Not forgetting the iconic windmills.  The best treat of all.

Dokkum windmill 2


The place we moored was a cosy water sports village located between Leeuwarden and Drachten in the middle of the Alde Feanen National Park, a vast lowland marshland area, very popular with nature and water sports enthusiasts.

3 wooden skaters on the lake in Nature_edited

Arriving late afternoon we in the Friesland nature area, our visit meant an early evening walk.  The next day we had the opportunity to visit the museum at the visitors’ centre “Geraakt. De Laatste Vlucht van Lancaster R5682”.  It was very humbling to read the story of a few young men that tragically lost their lives in WW2.  For more information: WW2 Lancaster bombers remembered

WW2 museum - nature 2_edited

We had really no intention of staying in “Nature” for a night, due to the unpleasant relationship with the local mosquitoes.  Well, three out of four of us did.  Majority rules!  Then there was the weather report that would overrule any mosquito issue. 

A storm was approaching which we had an inkling of by just sticking our heads outside, with the howling wind and menacing clouds supporting the gloomy weather forecast.


Art in the paddock sloten 2 Les.jpg

This was another memorable place that we did not stay in though enjoyed exploring.  What captured our attention pre-visit and on arriving was the collection of artwork in a paddock.  Such an excellent way to showcase art, I did find a big difference in the standard that was being displayed.  Which to be fair art really is a very personal preference!

Unfortunately, it became too difficult to view the art when the wind and showers became more persistent.  From there we set off to explore the smallest city of all the 11.  Hard to believe that it was given the status of “city” in the 1400’s and the population is around 700.  Beautiful homes to admire as well as a windmill.  What’s not to like?


Woudsend morning

The last of our cities to berth “Danielle” is situated between two lakes.

It was a Saturday afternoon, and similar to most places Sundays are slow with most businesses closed.  There was one which we frequented twice.  A cafe/takeaway, where we indulged in a snow freeze on a chilly afternoon.  One of us had a craving, and it would have been rude not to join in.  None of us regretted that decision that afternoon.

Later on, the next day saw us heading back to where we started, firstly, we had one last stop to take down the fountain in Stravron.  Our first and last day were very similar in weather, both slightly wet and windy.  This time I had opted out on that excursion and dealt with the packing, it did mean I had more time to wander around later at the marina taking those last reflective shots.

Marina reflections

Some tips to ponder if hiring a boat to cruise the canals:

  • CHECK that every component of the boat is in working order.  Be thorough and try not to have the company representative rush you through that process.
  • Take photographs before and after your trip.  A safeguard if you do have an accident.  By the way, we do this when hiring a car.
  • Make sure that the basics are on board especially when you are first starting out nowhere near a supermarket.  For example toilet paper and matches.
  • A must we feel is to have an experienced skipper.  This can not be emphasised enough.  The company will just take your word for it that you do have experience.  They, of course, will not lose out due to their insurance policies.  The hiree will be the loser if an accident occurs.
  • Be flexible in your route, due to weather conditions you will need to change your schedule.  For example, if a storm is imminent, the boat needs to be in a sheltered position if you want any sleep.
  • Negotiate with the company for items that you think should be included in the price.
  • Have a list of items that are included at no extra cost in writing.  Keep a paper trail of all correspondence.
  • Know the rules of the waterways BEFORE you hire a boat.
  • Practice those knots and keep increasing your speed.  Speed matters when mooring and the wind is blowing.
  • Join the local coastguard you will gain a wealth of knowledge.

To be realistic, you won’t remember everything that needs to be done or looked at as we didn’t, and luckily they were not issues that marred our enjoyment on the boat trip.

It is a unique part of the world that exceeded our expectations, as there was more than green paddocks to view as we cruised from one city to the next.  Then there were the cities themselves which had each of us exclaiming it’s merits for one reason or another. 

All in all, it was a brilliant boating adventure enjoyed with good friends.

Cruising the Friesland Canals Part 3

If you missed Part One and Two, you might like to check the below links:

Cruising the Friesland Canals – Pt 1

Cruising the Friesland Canals Pt 2



21 thoughts on “Cruising the Friesland Canals Pt 3”

    1. Sarah, the countryside is interesting and the paintings very realistic. I give my hat off to cyclists who still venture out in all sorts of weather the countryside throws at them!😊

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I loved your tips Suz, all very practical and useful. I’m wondering if you were caught out by some of these in your trip?? It looked amazing and your photos are delightful, especially the still water with the windmill. We really will have to go back one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We did Deb, we had two weeks without a horn. Luckily we managed without it. We just took it for granted that it would have worked!! We were basically the last trip for the season, could be the reason for the lack of maintenance.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks Sam, we are too. It is good to be busy, I am far happier when I am, plus it keeps me out of trouble 🙂 x


  2. What a neat way to see a new place. I love the bells. We were lucky enough to be in Christchurch at Easter the year before the earthquake and and heard the Cathedral’s bells for the last time. Not as musical as Dokkum’s but pretty special.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wendy, that would’ve been special to hear the Christchurch one. Very special under the circumstances. I love hearing church bells and the Mosque chanting at dawn and dusk.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Anabel it was a lovely area to explore. Would have been more interesting if the churches and other places of interest hadn’t closed for the season.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks April and what a great idea. Received your message regarding YouTube I’ll look into it when this crazy busy time has passed!

      Liked by 1 person

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