Tourism and Recreation in Opsterland and Beetsterzwaag.
Tourism, day trips and free time
Characteristic for the Opsterland countryside is that of the many pingos . These are small lakes which arose more than 10,000 years ago during the last ice age. There are more traces from that geological era to be seen in the landscape. The Koningsdiep (also known as Ouddiep and as Boorne) is a unique old rivulet that meanders through the Opsterland landscape. It arose through the meltwater from the ice tongues which covered the Opsterland landscape. In earlier times the Koningsdiep flowed into a firth (the Middelzee) which debouched via Sneek and Leeuwarden into the Waddenzee. Many Opsterland villages were built on the upper sand soil of the rivulet valley.
The Holle Weg over the heath at Allardsoog (vicinity of Bakkeveen). When everything in Opsterland could be considered nature in all its resplendence, those of high esteem determined the location of the connecting roads in the countryside. The Holle Weg at Allardsoog lies on sand soil beneath Bakkeveen. Over the centuries, the road has become worn through heavy use. Sun and wind did the rest. Initial use of the Holle Weg dates back to more than 10,000 years before the start of the solar calendar. From the Middle Ages, this formed an important route from and to Groningen and Drenthe over which peddlers, monks and herdsman with their droves passed by.
Old and new farmsteads fit nicely into the Opsterland landscape. Opsterland has a long tradition of both land and cattle husbandry. On some farms you can buy self-produced products and view the production process.
Beautiful countryside, tranquillity, space in combination with liveability and good accessibility make Opsterland a very attractive residential and recreational municipality. There are basic facilities in all villages, such as a primary school, a family doctor, a village hall, sport accommodations and a supermarket. Each village is of local importance. In the larger villages of Beetsterzwaag, Ureterp, Bakkeveen and Gorredijk there are more facilities. Gorredijk is the largest village in Opsterland and has a regional function. Most facilities can be found here such as a pleasant and varied shopping centre, cultural centre with playhouse De Skâns and a combined secondary school.
Gorredijk is the brisk shopping centre of Opsterland. Here you can find a pleasant shopping centre with graceful old buildings. During the summer the pleasure boats course right through the centre of Gorredijk. A look at the lock is certainly worth your while.
It is good living in both the small as well as the large villages in Opsterland.
Museums, galleries, works of art, sculpture (gardens)
Within the area of art and culture, Opsterland has certainly many sights to offer. Such as the Streekmuseum (*Regional Museum) in Gorredijk. Here you can find regional information concerning the history of Opsterland. In Nij Beets there is an open-air low peat bog museum 'It Damshűs'. Here you can, in an active manner, experience how people lived and worked in the low peat bogs during the period 1863 to about 1920. In Nij Beets there is also a Sudergemaal, one of the first electric pump works in Fryslân (*Friesland). In Opsterland, there are various art galleries in Gorredijk and Beetsterzwaag. In Tijnje and Ureterp you can find inspiring sculpture gardens. In Tijnje there is also the Opel museum. In Beetsterzwaag you can find opposite the former Lyndensteijn Children's Hospital (now a school and rehabilitation centre), a by the 19th century Frisian garden architect 'Roodbaard'-designed bordering garden. Just a bit further, there is in the bordering garden of the Lycklamahűs (town hall) a tropical glasshouse with exotic flowers and fruits.
Open-air peat bog museum 'it Damshűs' in Nij Beets
In this open-air museum, you will be taken some 100 years back in time and get a good impression of the poor and toilsome existence of the peat workers during the peat-turning period.
Tourism, day trips and free time
Opsterland is perfect for all kinds of outdoor activities and is an excellent cycling and walking municipality. The many kilometres of cycling and walk paths along the low peat bogs, polders, canals, woodland, heaths, nature reserves and featureful villages are a real treat. There is also various horse riding routes. Another recreational relaxation is that of canoe or boat sailing on the Turfroute. The route links to the Frisian lakes and it is even possible to sail to Germany via Drenthe and Overijssel, or of course vice versa. A pleasure cruise gives you a good impression of the countryside and villages in Opsterland. Golfers are also catered to in Opsterland. At the Lauswolt Estate in Beetsterzwaag, there is an 18-hole golf course amid the woodland.
Bakkeveen is the tourist heart of Opsterland. Right in the centre of the woodland and countryside you can find here, amongst other things, various family and farm camping's, camping farmsteads, estates and theeschenkerij (*tea pourer) De Slotplaats , an old fighting battlement or rampart, an open-air maze, watchtower, open-air swimming pool, labyrinth park, covered children's playground, bicycle and canoe rental, covered wagon rental and party centres.
The Himrikerpaad, cycle path from Beetsterzwaag to Hemrik. In the beautiful countryside with which Opsterland is blessed, you can find tranquil paths. Not only through the nature reserves around Bakkeveen, Hemrik, Wijnjewoude or Beetsterzwaag, but also elsewhere in the municipality will tou travel across rural areas which are a feast for the eye.
The woodlands of Beetsterzwaag conceal a considerable number of fine walking and cycling routes. There is a good chance that wild deer, birds of prey or a grass snake will cross your path.
It is also at a culinary level that Opsterland has a lot to offer. In Beetsterzwaag and Olterterp there are various quality restaurants to be found. In the Lauswolt Estate in Beetsterzwaag you can eat and spend the night in the style of the 'beau monde' (Michelin star).