Friesland has no fewer than 100 different nature areas of which the low fen marsh and National Park De Alde Feanen is one of the most beautiful.
De Alde Feanen is a magnificent and unspoilt marsh area just waiting to be explored. There is no need to visit the Everglades in America to experience marsh sailing. A significant difference with the Everglades is that you will not come across any alligators in De Alde Feanen, but stoats instead, and we think this is quite a good and safe alternative.
De Alde Feanen is at the heart of Friesland, in the triangle between Heerenveen, Drachten and Leeuwarden, and covers 2500 hectares of low fen marsh. It has a very diverse landscape consisting of lakes, fen pools, long narrow ponds created by peat dredging, reed lands, brushwood, thickets and swamps. There are also floating fens, peat moss reed lands, nutrient-poor grassland with carnation sedge and, in the Spring, yellow coloured marsh-marigold heathlands. Particularly the latter landscape types are rare in the Netherlands and their survival is under threat.
Southern Adderstongue and Water Strawberry
The enormous variety of landscapes also generates a huge richness of plants and animals. There are, for example, more than 450 sorts of plants in De Alde Feanen, including ferns and peat moss sorts such as the southern adderstongue. You can also find water strawberries and the common sundew and well over 100 varieties of summer birds, including the spoonbill, bearded tit, blue throat, marsh harrier and large colonies of cormorants. All this can be viewed from a number of different hides. Near the water sport centre of Earnewâld, which is located in the middle of De Alde Feanen, there is also an cormorant outpost known as ‘It Eibershiem’.
The information centre ‘De Reidplűm’ near Earnewâld has a permanent exhibition dedicated to the nature area and De Alde Feanen. A significant section of the exhibition is devoted to ‘de Alde Feanen at night’ and visitors are able to go on a nocturnal trip through De Alde Feanen. De Reidplűm is run during the season by an enthusiastic group of volunteers. The information centre is also the starting point of magnificent walking trips through De Alde Feanen. The routes take in hides from which visitors can observe the flora and fauna. After the walk, visitors can take a breather at De Reidplűm, either outside in the sun or inside in the cafe.
All in all, this vast area can best be explored by boat and, if you
want to find out more about the marshes, be sure to visit De Alde
Feanen, where you will be more than welcome!