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Frisian Castle Tour ‘North Friesland’ Zoom

Frisian Castle Tour ‘North Friesland’

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5-day interesting hotel-cycling package along Frisian manors and small castles in and around Leeuwarden. Price per person:

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The nicer places to stay



• Attractive cultural-historical cycling holiday in and around Leeuwarden
• Special route past Friesland’s most beautiful stinzen and states (= Frisian manors or small castles)
• Cycle through green meadows, historical villages and small towns
• Stay and dine in hotels near a stins or state
• No worries concerning luggage: Friesland Holland transports your luggage from hotel to hotel
• 4 cycling days

Cycle and car route past six extraordinary manors in Friesland

BEARS (NL) – Of the fifty or so small castles, manors and country houses in Friesland (formerly) owned by the nobility or gentry, only a handful of these stinzen and states are of particular interest. Most historical manors cannot be viewed inside, such as Huize Oranjewoud in Oranjewoud, property of Friesland Bank. Many old manors no longer feature their authentic interior. Now and again, in some places, the gardens are accessible for the general public.

The top six
Because of their cultural-historical value and accessibility these six manors are very much worth seeing: 1. Poptaslot in Marssum; 2. Dekemastate in Jelsum; 3. Fogelsanghstate in Veenklooster; 4. De Schierstins in Feanwâlden (Veenwouden); 5. Uniastate in Bears (infocenter stinzen and states); 6. Princessehof in Leeuwarden. These are the six that feature in the new manor tour of the bureau for tourism of Fryslân, Friesland Holland: the Frisian Manor Tour in and around Leeuwarden. Leeuwarden is the administrative and cultural capital of Friesland.

Stinzen and states
The first buildings in Friesland that were erected with natural stone or brick were fleeing towers, or stinzen. Stins means stone. These rectangular, spireless stinzen served as a place of safety for their owners, the peasant-nobility. These headmen formed a kind of rural aristocracy before 1500 as there were no counts or dukes in Friesland.

Natural stone
The first ‘houses’ in Friesland consisted of wood or reeds because natural stone near the surface was not available in the region. Churches on the other hand were built with natural stone, namely tuff from the German Eifel mountain range. The tuff was transported up north on the river De IJssel via the cities Deventer and Kampen.

Monks: the brick makers
During the late Middle Ages (after 1200), monks taught the Frisians to make bricks with local clay. Old writings show that one of the first stone houses, so-called castella, stood near Dokkum in 1223. Those were not homes but tower stinzen, towers for the farm’s residents to flee to in case of danger. In those days the farms were often surrounded by a moat. The stins often held food supplies in the case of a prolonged siege. The need for stinzen to provide refuge was especially obvious during 1350-1500 when two Frisian camps, the Schieringen and the Vetkopers, were giving each other a hard time. Back in those days there was no central authority to put matters right. Sometimes even monasteries became involved in the struggle between the headmen’s families. An end was put to the feuds between the rivalling ‘clans’ with the arrival of the Dukes of Saxony and Charles V.

The first stinzen were located on a mound, a so-called ‘stinswier.’ Between Berlikum and Menaldum there is still a medieval stinswier without a tower. Only in Veenwouden rests a stins tower, the Schierstins, with its door openings far above ground level. Also towns used to have stinzen, such as Cammingha or Liauckama-stins at the Grote Kerkstraat in Leeuwarden. (Museum Princessehof).

Stinzen on clay
On the treeless clay ground in the north and west of Friesland (Westergo) there used to be many stinzen which the peasant-nobility were in charge of. In the Middle Ages they had their own law as well as a small army. In certain former stinzen, remnants of a jail are still visible. As the years went by, certain stinzen expanded into palatial homes with defence passages.

After 1500: small palaces
With the central authority getting a foot in the door as well as the changes in battle tactics after 1500, the rural areas became safer places to be. The uncomfortable castle-like buildings were renovated to become palatial manors: stinzen became states. Friesland featured around 200 states at the beginning of the 17th century; these nobility manors were often surrounded by a moat as well as a park-like forest, as were the stinzen. In the sparsely populated southeast of Friesland there were hardly any states, but all the more in the northwest. Many state residents, such as the Liauckama’s in Sexbierum, stayed in the city of Leeuwarden during winter.

In the course of the 17th century the peasant-nobility was joined by rich merchants. During the first half of the 17th century, the Golden Age, states became small centres of art, culture and science. One of the few states in the southeast of Friesland was ‘Oranjewoud,’ a manor with pleasure garden built in 1676 at the request of Albertine Agnes (the widow of Frisian viceroy Willem Frederik who initiated the construction of the Prinsentuin in Leeuwarden in 1648). Until the end of the 18th century attractive gardens with mid and south European plants were constructed. The development of stinzen flora had begun.

Only a couple of  the 200 states survived into modern times, such as the 15th-century Dekemastate in Jelsum near Leeuwarden. Many beautiful stinzen and states were demolished from 1750 onwards, making way for farms. In many cases the gatehouse was preserved, as at Liauckamastate in Sexbierum. There, also the moat and rampart were preserved.

The Frisian Manor Tour leads past numerous welcoming and historical places where you can eat and drink. If you book this package, the bureau for tourism Friesland Holland will send you a folder containing the route as well as information about the lifestyle of the Frisian elite, for your enjoyment and in preparation of the tour.

Starting day
High season: As you wish.
For more information about luggage service please read 'Service'.

Number of days of cycling

Start and finish

Price information

• Reservation fees
• 4 nights’ accommodation
• 4 breakfasts
• 4 three-course dinners
• Tourist tax
• Luggage transport from hotel to hotel
• Breakdown service (replacement of rental bicycle or transport of your own bicycle to repair shop in destination area)
• Informative cycle route folder

• Free Friesland Holiday Passport (unique five-language information book of Friesland worth € 4.95)
• Free Fries Voordeelpas worth € 25, - for hundreds of euro's discount on attractions and products

• Travel and cancellation insurance
• Lunches and drinks

Daily programm

Day 1

This first day you’ll be expected in Hotel Weidumerhout in the second half of the afternoon. This hotel is located at the stream De Zwette, just outside the village of Weidum. You can explore this area by bicycle as well as on the water. Dinner and overnight stay in this hotel.

Day 2

First cycling day: to Franeker.
From Weidumerhout you’ll cycle to Bears. Here you visit the first state, Uniastate. This state was rebuilt in steel in 1998 in the same place where the original state once stood. Only the gatehouse was preserved. In the church in Bears a visitor’s centre provides information about the history of Uniastate as well as information about the church. Here you’ll also find a Tourist Info ‘Folderpost’. From Bears you cycle to Deinum, Dronrijp and Franeker. Franeker has a number of attractions, such as Martenahuis, the Coopmanhus and the Planetarium.
Dinner and overnight stay in Hotel De Stadsherberg in Franeker.
Distance: approx. 31 km.

Day 3

Second cycling day: to Leeuwarden.
You will leave the town of Franeker and cycle to Menaldum. This village has a rich history and used to have three states: Orxma State, Gralda State and Hemmema State. From Menaldum you’ll cycle to the village of Marssum where you’ll find the Poptaslot. Today you will also visit the Dekemastate in Jelsum. Via the Martenastate in Cornjum and the small village of Britsum you will cycle back to Leeuwarden. Dinner and overnight stay in the Leeuwarder Eurohotel.
Distance: approx. 48 km.

Day 4

Third cycling day.
Today you’ll cycle from Leeuwarden via Oentsjerk, Munein and Roodkerk to Veenwouden where you visit the Schierstins. At the end of the explorations you cycle back to Leeuwarden via the Kleine Wielen.
Dinner and overnight stay in the Leeuwarder Eurohotel.
Distance: approx. 57 km.

Day 5

The fourth and last cycling day: back to Weidum
After breakfast you will visit the city of Leeuwarden. On the programme are, among other things, the Eysingahuis, Princessehof and the Stadhouderlijk Hof. Additionally, you can also visit the Oldehove as well as the Fries Museum. The return route leads past Goutum and Wergea where you can visit the museum Ald Slot. You will also visit the villages Warten and Grou before you cycle back to Weidum.
Distance: approx. 33 km. End of package.


The Frisian Manor Tour ‘North Friesland’ starts at the rural hotel-restaurant Weidumerhout at the stream De Zwette (‘Eleven Cities’ route) in Weidum, ‘twenty meadows’ south of Leeuwarden.

Close to this attractive farm hotel lies the village of Bears. In the local church you’ll find the information centre for stinzen and states. The church is next to the location of the former Uniastate. On this spot an imposing steel construction was erected, giving an impression of the size of such a residence of the nobility. From Bears you will be lead to preserved states in Franeker and Leeuwarden and surrounds. Almost all of them will allow you to take a peek inside as well as in the gardens.
You will stay in a comfortable room with its own sanitary facilities.

3 pompeblêden

Evening dinners
The hotels have their own restaurants.

Your car can be parked for free at the start hotel.


Route information

Per booking you will receive an extensive information package:

• Friesland Travel Guide Tourist Atlas (quadrilingual, 260 pages)
• Tourist maps and magazines
• Road maps
indicating node points
• Situation maps from the Eleven Towns track to the accommodations and vice versa
• Eleven Towns stamp card (per person)
Guest information mentioning the reserved accommodations, distances per day and other practical information (no accommodation vouchers)
• Luggage tags
• Reservation terms and conditions

It is possible to order several information packages.

Depending on the chosen cycle arrangement, a relevant selection of above mentioned documents will be included in your information package.

Extra night

In case you do not want to drive back home on the last day of your package, you could choose to book an extra night in the starting hotel.
It is strongly recommended to reserve this extra night in advance, during your reservation of the package.


Luggage Service

High season
During the months May, June, July, August and September you may start a Friesland Holland package with luggage transport on any day. 

Low season
In the low season months March and April you have to start on a Sunday or a Monday.
If you would like to start on another day than a Monday or Sunday during low season, Friesland Holland will charge €25,- extra per person per package.

Luggage service is only provided in the period of the 1st of April until the 1st of October. After the 1st of October, Friesland Holland can transfer suitcases for groups larger than 10 persons on request. In case you have any questions you can contact Friesland Holland Travel Service 0031 (0)561 615 364 or send and e-mail to [email protected]

Your suitcases will be picked up every day at 9 am at the reception of the hotel and will be dropped off between 9 am and 6 pm at the next lodging address. The information package which you have received at home has luggage labels inside which you need to attach to your suitcases in order to make use of our luggage service.

Mobility Guarantee

The mobility guarantee has been included in the price of every Friesland Holland cycling package. With this unique service you will be insured in Friesland, with the exception of the islands, of a replacement vehicle. This is if the bike breaks down or if you had an accident with your own bicycle or rented bike and this cannot be restored at that place or at a bicycle repair specialist nearby within 1 hour. You will receive an excellent replacement bicycle with 7 gears and cyclebags or you will be taken by the Friesland Holland Assistance car to your ending destination of that day, no costs involved. The Friesland Holland Assistance car is able to take your bike to a bicycle repair shop in the neighbourhood near the lodging address if you wish. The costs of repairing the bike are for your own expense. Friesland Holland Assistance helps you to continue your trip in Friesland. The service is provided from the 1st of April until the 1st of October, 7 days a week, from 10 am until 6 pm. A tire repair set is provided when one rents a bike.

Tip: put on anti-puncture tires. Our rental bikes are equipped with such tires as well. This brings the chance of getting a flat tire to the minimum.

Bike rental info

Rent-a-TopBike ®
Rent a new model Batavus touring bike with lots of extras!

The tourist office Friesland Holland Bicycle Company 's Bike Corner in Gaasterland Oudemirdum selected for the rental of bicycles for Friesland Holland cycling packages. This company offers above average service and very friendly staff.
At the request of Friesland Holland rents' t Bike Corner the latest and the best suited for the purpose Batavus bikes (made in Heerenveen) and accessories and delivers it to the accommodation address where the cycle begins. The bikes are not standard rental bicycles, motorbikes but with many extras. They cost therefore complete about 860, - Euro each.

Touring bikes:
For adults, Rent-a-TopBike special Batavus Holiday's included in the program. This smooth-running and very comfortable two-wheelers have a sporty design aluminum frame, 7 gears, suspension for and under the saddle, roller brakes (super brakes by Shimano), anti-lekbanden and two practical hard panniers. Saddle and handlebars are easy to adjust quickly, without key! Each bike is equipped with a key-and puncture, a frame lock and a cable for attachment to a lamppost, fence or other real estate (both required to use to prevent theft!).
Price: EUR 12.00 per day

Mountain bike bike (MTB):
You can rent a Merida Mountain bike at Friesland Holland. The bike is tested on roads, muddy forest trails and even in the snow.
Price: EUR 15.00 per day.

Merida ATB:
Merida mountain bikes are specially developed for use on asphalt and on forest paths and for long trips.
Type: Merida Big Nine TFS 300 ATB. The bike kicks extra light and has flat proof tires.
Price: EUR 15.00 per day.

Child-touring bikes:
For the kids, new Batavus Fox with 3 speeds and additional hand brakes deployed. Nice tour through town and country!
Price: EUR 7.50 per day.

Touring bikes with an electric auxiliary motor:
You can increase your own strength twice a bicycle with an auxiliary electric motor. Refer to the electric motor, which is powered by an easy to charge battery, like a little boost. It is not a complete drive source as a gasoline engine, you must have stairs. The radius of a bicycle with an auxiliary electric motor is between 100 and 200 km. Range is affected by how often you bet the motor, the weather, the road surface, the temperature and the use of the gears. You must recharge after each stage as charging. The charger is in the pannier.
Price: EUR 22.00 per day.

For the safe transportation of children are seats available for mounting behind or on the bike.
Price: EUR 3.00 per day in combination with a rental bike

Kidcar + FH-TopBike ®:
A safe and comfortable way for children up to 6 years to take along during your cycling is the combination of a so-called KidCar, a very good child bicycle trailer of The Bird, and a 7-speed Batavus Genova as "tractor". The new trailer has room for two children. Along the way, they are well protected from wind and weather. In addition, extra stuff, toys, along.
Price: EUR 17.00 per day including bike with 7 gears and bags.

You can only KidCar rent it after your own bike linking. The clutch is easy to assemble by yourself. Specifications: see above.
Price: EUR 10.00 per day.

Friesland Holland regulates the rental and delivery and return the bike for you. This service is only a small fee: 7,50 Euro per bike. The bikes and extras on the first day, on the first day of cycling for 10:00 at the accommodation address and delivered at the end of the rental period, the last day of cycling, again at 18.00 retrieved.

Price Delivery and return: EUR 7,50 per bicycle rental, KidCar or child, regardless of the duration of the rental period


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