Using terpen and wierden to stay dry

In the north of the Netherlands, between the high sky and the distant horizon, there are hundreds of heirlooms going back to ancient times. These are known as terpen in Friesland and wierden in Groningen: artificial dwelling mounds built by hand on the coast. A smart solution when there were no dikes to protect people from the ruthless water of the sea. People lived a prosperous life in harmony with the sea on these terpen and wierden. The coastal region of the northern Netherlands was the centre of the North Sea economy in the early Middle Ages. Many terpen and wierden expanded into picturesque villages with lovely churches, historic houses and farms.

Waddenzee Werelderfgoed - Wierde Ezinge zomer Peter Nijenhuis

Go for a short climb

The highest terp in the Netherlands and Germany, too, is located in Friesland. Situated 8.8 metres above the Normal Amsterdam Water Level, the Hogebeintum terp is unique. After a climb you can enjoy the fresh northern air and a sweeping view. To find out more about the history of the village, visit the beautiful old church and the officially designated Archaeological Steunpunt (archaeological visitor centre), on top of the terp. Would you like to see more terp treasures? The Fries Museum in Leeuwarden has a fantastic collection.

A long hike through terp country

The terp route is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea site. You walk past places where the water flowed across the plains for centuries. The route, which is approximately 20 kilometres, also takes you to the highest terp in the Netherlands: Hogebeintum!

The Pompeii of the North

At one point, there must have been more than 1,000 wierden in Groningen. The construction of dikes along the Wadden Sea coast rendered them redundant and they were subsequently excavated. A dozen or so wierden remain intact, including Ezinge, an archaeological treasure trove. Nowhere else in the Netherlands have so many archaeological discoveries been made as here. A visit to Wierderland Museum opens up this treasure house of the oldest cultural landscape in the Netherlands to you.