No Fries in Friesland?

5 July 2019

We left Amsterdam and headed toward motorcycle mecca, the historic Assen TT motor racing circuit. It was stiflingly hot again and we were glad to get to our accommodation, where an electronic sign above a shop opposite suggested 42 degrees! It was definitely hot but I'm not sure that reading was quite correct. Race day was still warm, there was a crowd of more than 100,00 and we shoehorned ourselves in on the grass with the passionate crowd soaking up the sun.


Some of the two wheeled intelligencia soaking up the sun at Assen, we fitted right on in!

We enjoyed the racing and the atmosphere but less so the traffic jams trying to get out of the area. We headed west, to the wild west, to Friesland where we were greeted by two friends who had a spare room for us in a glorius rural setting in the country, just a stone's throw from the Afsluitdijk, the incredible dyke which runs across the Zuiderzee for some 30km! As a boy growing up we told a somewhat fantastic story of Peter and the Dyke, back then I never imagined that I would visit the Netherlands one day and actually see a dyke first hand.


Riding along the top of a small dyke in Friesland


Riding the enormous Afsluitdijk, inland sea on the left, the real sea is behind the wall on the right.

One of the other surprising things about Friesland is the amount of wide open space, there is plenty of it and big skies to match. With extensive cattle grazing in some places you could be excused for thinking you might even be in Australia.


Friesland's wide open spaces.

Much of the area is also given over to cropping, potatoes are very common but the "Fries" in Friesland do not relate to potatoes but rather the Fries people who first settled this area. Fortunately the Fries language still holds on today.

No trip to the Netherlands would be complete without a picture of a windmill, and fortunately Friesland has a few of these which are still working. Throughout the country many of the old windmills have fallen into disrepair or disappeared altogether.


Note the modern windmills in the background on the left, these are everywhere throughout The Netherlands. Interestingly it seems that the local community may get a share of the profits from the electricity generation and this is put back into community projects such as art or environmental activities, decided on by the local community. It sounds like a good way of doing it. I haven't heard of this approach in Australia which seems to be behind Europe in renewable energy community engagement.


Well that's all from us in Friesland and from Holland. A big thank you to our hosts Leontine and Ireen, part of our "Netherlands Family". Back soon with another instalment.

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