The north of the Netherlands is home to beautiful nature and the start of the internationally known hiking trail the Pieterpad leading all the way to the most southern point of the country. It is also home to my roots near Dokkum and so it will have always a special place in my heart. I will show you the beautiful nature of the Lauwersmeer and its surroundings and a small part of the Pieterpad. It IS beautiful I guarantee.
Beautiful nature at Lauwersmeer
The Lauwersmeer in the north of the Netherlands on the border of the two provinces of Groningen and Friesland is a manmade lake. It was formed after the big floods of the fifties after which the Delta Plan was put into place in the Netherlands. This required all the dikes to be leveled up but at the Lauwersmeer it was decided to cut the lake from the Wadden Sea by a dam. After the closure new nature began to develop which attracted various wildlife including many different birth species. In 2003 it became a national park which can be visited year round.
The Lauwersmeer National Park can be explored in various ways. Did you know you can explore it by TukTuk? You don’t have to go all the way to Thailand to experience this form of transport; you can do it through TukTuk Lauwersmeer. My group started the morning to drive around the lake towards the city Zoutkamp located along the river Reitdiep. Here you will find the famous Palingrokerij Postma (Eel Smokehouse). After we tasted the delicious smoked Eel we headed back the same way we came due to the lack of time we had. It’s a great way to explore the area as you can cover a huge distance in a few hours with the driving maps provided by TukTuk Lauwersmeer.
After our TukTuk experience it was time to make a hike through the nature and see some of the flora and fauna the Lauwersmeer is rich of. We booked a tour through the forest department of the Netherlands so that we could enter parts that are normally not accessible for the public. A hike of about two hours had us see a big variety of landscape. Open water, small ditches with water, various trees and open fields. An interesting flower in the area is the wild orchid growing there. If you visit in the right time you will find plenty of orchids everywhere. The wildlife was a bit hidden, probably due to the drizzle. Some distant cows, the smell of the fox territory (piss) was what we saw unfortunately. Like with any hike in nature it’s best to visit when skies are clear and you will be guaranteed to have lots of fun!
After a delicious lunch at Kunstcafe De Dream (an Art Cafe) in the town of Engwierum we continued to Winsum to walk a part of the Pieterpad hiking trail.
Hiking the Pieterpad
The Pieterpad is a hiking/walking trail in the Netherlands running from the northern starting in Pieterburen towards the Mount Saint Peter in the south of the Netherlands. In Pieterburen you can also visit the Seal Refugee Center which I covered in a previous article. The trail was the idea of Toos Goorhuis-Tjalsma and Bertje Jens living at both ends of the trail. Later the trail got more organized and became an official hiking trail of the Netherlands connecting to various international hiking trails leading to Denmark, Germany and Belgium. We started in the town of Winsum for just a two hour hike to see the nature along the trail.
The Pieterpad takes you through nature, fields, forest and beautiful villages. You will see the cows and sheep grazing beside you. The water birds in the ditches along the route will entertain you. As the trail is well maintained you find benches to relax and enjoy the nature. We walked for two hours but we returned the same path back to Winsum. The fresh air, pure nature and the exercise I liked personally the most. One day I must walk the whole Pieterpad; it’s something you should do in your life.
A long day got me tired. Driving a TukTuk, hiking through the Lauwersmeer and the Pieterpad. All these impressions and exercise where well worth it. A great day in the north Netherlands; going back to my roots. After dinner I went back to my luxury Bed & Breakfast Batenborg for a night sleep and to return home the next day. See my other stories of the north of the Netherlands what you can do more there? Read all my stories about the area here.
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Gallery Lauwersmeer & Pieterpad
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