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This province is known more for the countryside north and east of the city of Groningen. Small towns, little fishing communities, little castles (borgen) and windmills are excellent to explore by car or bike.
The main event in Friesland each year is the yearly sailing contest between 14 ships on the various lakes, which takes place in early August. The 14 10-meter long boats, each with a crew of more than ten people, compete over 14 matches on anything from the huge IJsselmeer to the tiny Veenhoop. This event is called Skûtsjesilen, Skûtsje being the traditional type of sailing boat used in these contests.
Two Frisian sports, Kaatsen and Fierljeppen, can be learned in Friesland. Kaatsen is a precursor to tennis and is to Frisians what cricket is to the English, (in other words, you won’t understand what’s going on). Fierljeppen (far-jumping) has contestants attempting to jump as far as possible over a ditch using a 10-foot pole, which used to come in handy in the old days of flooding.
Because it has not frozen enough to be considered safe on the ice, one important and historic national ice-skating event has not been held in almost two decades. The Eleven City Tour (Elfstedentocht) is an event where ice skaters skate over 200 kilometers through 11 Frisian cities. People can, however, follow the route of the Elfstedentocht by car or by bicycle through Leeuwarden, Sneek, IJlst, Sloten, Stavoren, Hindeloopen, Workum, Bolsward, Harlingen, Franeker, and Dokkum. You can get a detailed map of the route at tourist offices throughout the area, and suggestions on how to traverse the route.
Besides the TT Circuit, one of the biggest events in Drenthe takes place in the 31st week of the year. For five days, the village of Odoorn hosts around 24 dance groups of about 600 dancers and becomes an amazing international community where different cultures meet in peace and friendship. There are around 35,000 visitors during the opening parade to the dance rounds and folklore market to the closing gala and last dance rounds.