Tuesday, 20 April 2010

What's on in Harlingen




This Friese havenstad was once a Viking settlement due to its easy access to the sea. These days it is home to about 16,000 inhabitants. Its close proximity to the Waddenzee (with its special nature reserve), regular boat trips to the Waddeneilanden (Wadden islands), the historical and touristy harbours which one can sail into and easily moor a yacht or motor boat has meant it is a very popular destination with visitors.

More about the rich culture of Harlingen can be seen in the perfectly preserved Gemeentemuseum Hannemahuis, a state owned house turned museum that was previously owned by the family Hannema for over 200 years. The museum includes a look into interior design of the day, tells about the local tile and pottery industry, and includes paintings, silverware, and paraphernalia from maritime history. Other museums include the 18 century Eisinga Planetarium, with its idea of making astronomy accessible to the general public; the Rock ‘n Roll Museum with memorabilia from the 50’s and 60’s and The Harlinger Aardewerk (Harlinger Pottery) and Tegelfabriek (Tile Factory) where tiles are still hand made according to the traditions of the 17 century

For the outdoor enthusiasts there are numerous things to do. City tours lasting an hour or two, bike tours the routes of which can be obtained from the VVV (Tourist Office), and a gallery walk with a diversity of artistic direction and talent awaiting your discovery. South of Harlingen there is an 88-hectare nature reserve called Hegewiersterfjild), which is rich in bird and plant life that inhabits a one-time clay quarry from the 1940’s.

For the fishing enthusiasts there are daily trips on well-equipped ships from the sport fishers’ fleet who know the best places to visit. More information and trips can be arranged via the local tourist office.

Accommodation can also be arranged via the local tourist office. If you are looking for a more unusual place to spend the night then there is always an old lifeboat equipped with all modern conveniences at your service, or for a more illuminating experience, the recently pensioned Harlingen lighthouse. Want to get away from it all? That is possible, in an old harbour crane (now considered an industrial monument), the interior of which can be described as ‘snug’, with only enough room for two.

For all this and more their website can be found at: www.vvv-harlingen.nl/, which is in Dutch.

© Alison Day
First published in the Connections magazine #10 Winter 2006, 
a publication of Connect International
My website: www.alisonday.nl
My webstore: Alison Day Designs

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