Friesland, in the Netherland's northwest, has lakes. Lots and lots of lakes. When the Frisian peasants dug their boggy wetlands for peat fuel, the scars left on this flat landscape caused countless rivers and waterways to form. Well the farmer's loss is the holidaymakers gain as today, Friesland is the centre for Dutch watersports. Surprisingly little known outside of the Netherlands, the Dutch lake district attracts scores of eager aquatic adventurers from the rest of the country, keen to savour this blissfully tranquil region with only around 160 people per square km. The region's many charming towns and villages are interlinked by canals and it is on the outskirts of one such lovely lakeside settlement, Heeg, that we find another watersport oasis.
While Watersportcamping Heeg won't be winning any prizes in the imaginative naming stakes, the site can't be bettered for location. Right on the shores of a vast, sparkling lake, the site accommodates around 150 touring pitches on nearly 25 acres of pristine grass. Take a few steps to the shore and you have your choice of water-based pursuits to enjoy from falcon sailboat hire and kite surfing, to sloop lessons or just a good old fashioned swim. This is a mecca for water sports fans, with a chilled out beach party vibe throughout, (helped in no small measure by the buzzy beach bar and 'Dutchtubs' for hire).
And then there is Heeg itself. Just a leisurely 5 minute stroll from site, this most quintessential of Dutch villages is utterly idyllic. Why not enjoy a traditional treat of smoked eel on the banks of the Heegermeer lake? Or visit nearby Ijlst, the home of the singularly Frisian sport of fierljeppen – that's... er... canal vaulting to you and me. The annual summer celebration of this traditional pastime is not to be missed, if only for the facial expressions of the hapless vaulters.
150 touring pitches, 25 seasonal pitches, 8 rental chalets, 1 willow cabin. There are 18 showers, 18 toilets, 45 electrical hook-ups and a laundry facility.
Tents, campervans, mobile homes, families, large groups, dogs – yes. Pretty much everyone!
Why not hire an electric scooter on site to zip around to the charming leafy canal cities of Ijslt and Sneek. The former hosts a huge Fierljeppen (canal vaulting to you and me) competition every summer. Museum Belvédère (0031 513 644 999) in Heerenveen exhibits many interesting classic and contemporary art pieces from the Friesland region. The stark minimalist building is, in itself, worth a visit. Visit Lemmer's 'Cathedral of Steam', The Woudagemaal (0031 514 561 814) – the world's largest still operational steam-powered pumping station and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For all you amateur astronomers, head to the Eise Eisinga Planetarium (0031 517 393 070) – the world's oldest functioning. For fans of the macabre, the 17th century crypt at Wiuwert church displays four mysteriously mummified corpses discovered by medieval carpenters.
Food & Drink
The 'Zimpel' beach bar is a quirky old shipping container that serves sandwiches, coffee, and other delicacies like freshly-baked bread for breakfast. On a sunny day, the riverside terrace at Hotel Café Restaurant De Watersport (0031 515 442 229) is the place to go, not least for their hearty pub-grub-style meals. Heeg is famous for its eel fishing. Though the industry has declined in recent years, the campsite can arrange for you to take a fishing trip with the last remaining eel fisherman in a traditional palingaak. No visit to the region would be complete without sampling the potent Frisian tipple, Beerenburg. For the genuine experience, head into Sneek to visit the Weduwe Joustra distillery and shop (0031 515 412 912).
April – October.
The Owner Says
The first Cool Camping guests of the season!
No availability showing at Watersportcamping Heeg.
Drive in the direction of Bolsward/Sneek. Take exit Woudsend/Hommerts on the by-pass. Take the first exit on the roundabout in Hommerts in the direction of Heeg. Follow this road and the signs ‘Centrum’. At the second roundabout take the 2nd exit to Heeg Centrum. Pass a cull-the-sac, than take the first road to the right. This is a by-pass. Follow the road until you arrive at a T crossing. Turn right to ‘Gaastmeer’. After appr. 200 meters you’ll find Watersportcamping Heeg to your right-hand side.
Take the train to Sneek, then the number 46 bus to Heeg.
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