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Friesland (Fryslân in Frisian) is a province with its own language (Frisian) in the North of the Netherlands. It is known for having a lot of lakes, making it a perfect region for sailing and getting around by a small boat. The capital of the province is Leeuwarden. This province is not a densely populated as other regions in the Netherlands.
The province in situated in the North of the Netherlands, bordering Groningen to the East, Drenthe to the South East, and Overijssel and Flevoland in the South. In the North and West it borders the Waddensea, and the IJsselmeer. In the South East of the province there are a couple of big lakes, including the Sneekermeer. North of the mainland, 4 of the Wadden Islands also belong to Friesland: Vlieland, Ameland, Terschelling and Schiermonnikoog.
Waddling is the act of walking on the bottom of the sea at low tide and can be done in the north of Friesland and also in the province of Groningen. Routes will last for approximately 3-4 hours. The Wadden Islands are a great place to explore one of the only true bigger natural areas of the country. For more information about this environment check the Wadden Islands homepage, or read more about waddling here.
Fierljeppen (Polejumping) is a sport in which one tries to cross a stream by using a pole. In theory you need to run towards the stream, where the pole already stands, and grab the pole. Because of the momentum of you hitting the pole, the pole starts to swing to the other side of the stream. It's important to climb up the pole as fast a possible to make a dry landing at the other side. If you fail, you get wet and lose the competition.
The Elfstedentocht (Eleven cities tour) is an outdoor speed skating competition held in Friesland when the ice is thick enough. The tour is almost 200 kilometres in length and takes place on frozen canals, rivers and lakes. Because of the large number of participants, the race requires a minimum ice thickness of 15 centimetres. As a result and because of generally warmer winters, the event only occurs irregularly. In the last 100 years, the race has been held only 15 times. The last time it was staged was in 1997, though it was a tough call in 2012 after a few weeks of seriously cold weather. If it takes place, the start and finish are in Leeuwarden and the race travels clockwise through the following places: Sneek, IJlst, Sloten, Stavoren, Hindeloopen, Workum, Bolsward, Harlingen, Franeker and Dokkum.
Oerol means everywhere in the dialect of Terschelling, and Oerol is a 10 day festival that takes place everywhere on the Island, so it's a fitting name. The Festival brings musicians, and artists from all kinds of different arts together, and along with them come 50.000 visitors. Performances can take place anywhere on the island. On the beach, in sheds, in the dunes, you name it, and it is possibly a venue. The festival takes place in the middle of June, more information can be found on Oerol.nl
One of the best parties in Friesland is the Sneekweek, a week of matches on the water, combined with a lot of partying after the races. The week starts around the 1st saturday of August, as that is the traditional starting day of the races.
A skûtsje is a boat, and silen means sailing. Every year there is a competition between towns with these typical flat bottom boats, with their big black sails and a smaller white one. Skûtjesilen takes place in different towns, during 2 weeks in the months of July and August. More information including the dates and location of the races can be found on skutsje.nl.
In 2013, the Dutch throne was passed on to King Willem-Alexander and what used to be Koninginnedag (Queen's Day) will from 2014 become Koningsdag (King's Day). The date will be changed to the 27th of April, which is the king's birthday. In 2014 however it will be on the 26th of April because the 27th falls on a Sunday. On this day the streets of almost every sizable town in the country come alive with activity.
Temperatures on average are lower than average in both summer and winter compared to the rest of the country, though differences between coastal areas and more inland can be high, even during the same day. Check the Netherlands weather section for more info.
Although the famous 'Elfstedentocht' (see above) is held here when winters are severe, this is not the coldest part of the country.
There is no airport in Friesland itself, but there is a smaller airport near Groningen. However there are not a lot of flights going there, so the best way to get to Friesland by plane, is to fly to Amsterdam-Schiphol airport, and continue the travel from there by train or bus.
The Dutch national railways, NS provides services to and from Friesland.
There are well maintained highways leading to Friesland. The A7 from Groningen, the A32 from Drente and Overijssel provinces and the A6 from the province of Flevoland are the main connections. The A7 continues through Friesland and on to the famous 'Afsluitdijk', which goes to the province of Noord Holland.
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