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hieronyma Harlingen - A travel report by Christl
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Harlingen,  Netherlands - flag Netherlands -  Friesland
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hieronyma's travel reports

Harlingen, Friesland, Netherlands

  20 votes
Page: 1 2
The Netherlands, a country, torn from the sea by human effort, freed of Spanish dominance by fight for independence, keep their historical tradition and technical knowledge for use in modern times.

In 1234 the village of Harlingen had gained as much importance as to receive its town charter. Until the 14th century it lived in the shadow of Franeker, but because of its good harbour, protected by the Westfriesian Islands, it prospered. In 1574 the dykes of the Friesian coast were raised. Mennonite refugees from the country's Catholic South arrived in 1579. It grew further as the trade with the countries of the Northern and Baltic Sea increased. In 1644 the Admirality of the Friesian fleet was stationed here, but was not as important as the merchant navy and the line haul to the Westfriesian Islands, to harbours of the province and the Zuider Sea. There were shipyards in town, lime kilns, salt works, potteries, mills. In the next centuries Amsterdam and Rotterdam took over, but Harlingen still was and is important as a harbour for the fishing fleet, the coasting trade, and today it developes at Oostpoort a new industrial estate. The town keeps its historical face. The old part of town gives the illusion of times gone by.

Favourite spots:
Walking the dykes you see Terschelling and Vlieland at the horizon, small lines, hardly discernible of the wadden sea. The ferries go and return. And the wind tells you that he is in charge. Turning around you see the town, secure behind its dykes, the towers of the churches and the former lighthouse, the masts of the old sailboats interspersed with the low built houses, clustered together, because the space between the canals and the former North and South Harbour, dividing the town, was small and precious. But inside it's cosy. Canals and streets are draped with rows of small houses, each with a different face, often with stepped gables of old. Some date back to the 16th century. You meet the old storehouses, telling from the trade with Sumatra, Java, Russia, Poland and more. And you walk the old bridges, even the one, protected by four stern looking lions. And now and the the time is told by the churches and chimes are ringing through town.

What's really great:
On a foggy morning with a promise to turn out to be a sunny day it's taking the ferry to Terschelling, one of the Westfriesian Islands, always prey to the sea, always changing its form and place. But people stayed there since the 13th century and fought for their livelihood. Arriving you drop in the Wakend Oog to try Proffertjes and learn that Barent was born here.Then you walk up the sidestreets with the captains's houses and the mainstreet with shops and retaurants up to the Brandaris, the lighthouse, built in 1594, visit the museum t Behouden Huys with its beautiful exhibits of the history and the culture of the island. Bur the best is walking the sands, specially when the tide is out and you can head endlessly towards the sea. There is more to see going East by bus and loose yourself in the dunes and the nature reserve.

Vlieland, not only to enjoy the island, but also to drink the Vlielander or the jutterbitter.

Hotel Zeezicht, Zuiderhaven 1, 8861 CJ Harlingen
But it is probably better to stay outside Harlingen in case you have a car.

I did not visit any clubs and I am not sure that there are clubs.

Eetcafe Noorderpoort at Noorderhaven
Etablissement Lahringen at Voorstraat

Wally's at Voorstraat, specially when you are really hungry.

Other recommendations:

Published on Tuesday March 15th, 2005

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Sun, Jan 28 2007 - 01:07 PM rating by mrscanada

I've been to the Netherlands but never here. I got a lot of information from it. Danka!

Sun, Oct 30 2005 - 02:31 PM rating by isaacmolina

historical and beautiful, but where are the pictures?

Wed, Mar 16 2005 - 12:14 PM rating by davidx

Some fine descriptions here.

Wed, Mar 16 2005 - 12:13 AM rating by rangutan

Beautifully described dykes and canals, romantic scenery.

Tue, Mar 15 2005 - 03:22 PM rating by femika

Great report, very informative!
I'm ashamed to say - as a Dutchy - I've never explored all the beautiful places in my own country. But it's also nice to read about them through others! Some pictures would be nice.

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