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Leisure

Several websites refer to the northern region of the Netherlands as the most rural and unexplored area of the country, as well as being obscure among foreigners. However, there is much to do and see here in the provinces of Groningen, Friesland, and Drenthe. Every week of the year, there are different events, games, sights, activities, acts, offerings, competitions, displays, concerts, films, and specials.

Each province has its own identity and its own signature cities. Groningen, the largest city in the north, is a lively student city with a well-known museum and much historic heritage. Friesland has Leeuwarden, which will be known as the European Capital of Culture in 2018. Drenthe has Assen, home to the famous Dutch TT Circuit.

There are also the five West Frisian Islands. Each island has something unique to offer. It is relatively easy to get there.

  • For Texel, take car ferry out of Den Helder.
  • For Vlieland, take the ferry from Harlingen. You cannot take your car to Vlieland.
  • For Terschelling, take the ferry from Harlingen
  • For Ameland, take the ferry from Holwerd
  • For Schiermonnikoog, take the ferry from Lauwersoog. Cars are not allowed on Schiermonnikoog.

Outside the larger cities, the provinces of Friesland and Groningen mostly consist of meadows and arable land with a few lakes that are ideal for water-based activities such as sailing or fishing. Drenthe is a little different in that it has large forests and more hilly terrain. Life is generally lived at a somewhat slower pace than in the west.

Virtual Tourist offers tips in English of interesting things to do and places to see. Marketing Groningen and Visit Fryslan are also excellent sites to explore.