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The canal running through the middle of Sloten (Sleat).

De Fryske Marren (Dutch: De Friese Meren) is a municipality in southwest Friesland.



De Fryske Marren (Dutch: De Friese Meren; English: The Frisian Lakes) is a municipality in Friesland created in 2014 out of the former municipalities of Gaasterland-Sloten (Frisian: Gaasterlân-Sleat), Skarsterlân, Lemsterland and a part of Boornsterhem (Boarnsterhim). The municipality counts some 51,200 inhabitants and is the fourth biggest municipalities of the Netherlands, being behind on Noordoostpolder, Súdwest-Fryslân and Hollands Kroon. Amongst the towns in the municipalities you will find the fortified town of Sloten, with the biggest places being Balk, Joure and Lemmer.

Being named after the biggest and most predominant feature of the region, the Frisian lakes, has a large quantity of water. Some of the biggest lakes are the 1 Groote Brekken (Grutte Brekken) , 2 Koevordermeer (De Kûlfurd) , 3 Slotermeer (Sleattemer Mar) , 4 Sneekermeer (Snitser Mar) and 5 Tjeukemeer (Tsjûkemar). Water infrastructure in general is highly represented, with over forty canals, streams and waterways spanning between the different lakes. The highlight of the area is the Ingenieur D.F. Woudagemaal (Engineer D.F. Wouda Pumping Station) in Lemmer, which is listed as UNESCO World Heritage. Historical and noteworthy buildings can be found throughout the region, though Sloten, Balk and Lemmer make up the top ten, with 50, 33 and 29 respectively.

Get in

De Fryske Marren may look like a wasteland during winter, but that wasteland is home to the most popular and anticipated ice-skating event of the Netherlands, if not Europe; The Elfstedentocht.

By car


By far the easiest way to get to De Marren is by car. The A6 and A7 highways meet at the interchange just south of Joure, which can be found in between Sneek and Heerenveen (both on the A7) and Lemmer (A6). Exits 17 and 19 of the A6 are the best exits to use, with them connecting to Lemmer and Sint Nicolaasga respectively, while Joure has an entire interchange with off-ramps for itself.

By public transit


The Frisian Lakes have no train connection to be found. Instead, buses make up the public transit in the area, with the main hubs being in Joure, which is accessible from Groningen and Emmeloord (line 315), Heerenveen (lines 41 to Balk, 98, 99 and 199), Leeuwarden (line 95) and Sneek (line 99 and 199). All of these destinations have their bus halts right outside the station, with Heerenveen being the closest station that is serviced with Intercity trains.

By boat


The region, being littered with waterways and lakes, has, to no-ones surprise, some twenty marinas[dead link]. When coming from outside the region, the IJsselmeer is most likely your best way in.

Get around


If you do not have access to a car, your best chance at getting from A to B is by public transit. Bus lines aren't numerous, but they get the job done. If the weather allows for it, renting a bike is advised. De Fryske Marren is mostly flatland, so cycling won't take too much effort. Bikes can be rented at three locations. Some of them allow for online orders, but do require you to have an address in the Netherlands. It's best to drop by the shop sometime and ask them if they have a bicycle to let.


The Woudagemaal in Lemmer, overlooking the Noordoostpolder.
Map of De Fryske Marren

  • 6 D.F. Wouda Steam Pumping Station, Gemaalweg 6, Lemmer. Designed by D.F. Wouda, this is the largest steam-powered pumping station in the world that is still in operation, although due to developments in pumping stations and land reclamation it nowadays only works one week a year. It dates from 1920, and has been pumping away excess water in Friesland ever since. It can pump 4,000 cubic metres of water per minute at full power. It is just outside of Lemmer and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998. Ir.D.F. Woudagemaal (Q1121835) on Wikidata Ir.D.F. Woudagemaal on Wikipedia
  • Joure has three old churches, all of them along the main street. Most notable is the Hobbe van Baerdt Tsjerke with its early 17th-century clock tower. The rest of the church was destroyed by fire and rebuilt after the Second World War.
  • 7 Museum Joure, Geelgietersstraat 1-11, +31 513 412 283. Tu-F 10AM-5PM, Sa-M 2PM-5PM. A large museum consisting of 10 old buildings, covering everything that makes Joure what it is today; like the history of coffee and tea, old Frisian clocks, a local metal workshop and old (newspaper) printing methods. Also has a lovely shop selling Dutch candy from yesteryear. €5, kids for €2.50.
  • 8 Sloten, Heerenwal 48, Sloten, +31 514 531 541. Sloten is a lovely and small fortified city and is one of the Eleven Cities. The town was founded in the 13th century and has been fortified sometime in the 15th century. The town that stands today is loved by watersports enthusiasts. Sloten (Q73099) on Wikidata Sloten, Friesland on Wikipedia
  • Friese Ballonfeesten (Frisian Hot Air Ballooning Festival), +31 513 416 030, . Roughly €5.


Being mostly covered in nature, the Fryske Marren is a beautiful place to take a hike, especially early in the morning or during dusk.
  • As the region is nearly literally drowning in water, it should not come as a surprise that water sports are a popular activity. Whether you're looking for a canoe (kano) or kayak rental, windsurfing school or general sailboat rental, a watersportcentrum shouldn't be hard to come across.





In Lemmer


In Joure








Go next

Finish line of the 1956 Elfstedentocht.
  • Sloten is one of the eleven cities that make up the route of the Elfstedentocht, following the course, the next cities are:
  • Stavoren (Starum) — The oldest city of Friesland, ironically, lacking the feel of a city with under a thousand inhabitants.
  • Hindeloopen (Hyplen) — Another small city along the former Zuiderzee and a former member of the Hanseatic League.
  • Workum (Warkum) — Small historical city with a protected monumental city centre.
  • Bolsward (Boalsert) — Historical city with the appeal of a town.
  • Harlingen (Harns) — Gateway to the Waddeneilanden of Vlieland and Terschelling.
  • Franeker (Frjentsjer) — Small city known best for its planetarium.
  • Dokkum — One of the larger eleven cities, known for the murder of Northumbrian Saint Boniface around 750-760 CE.
  • Leeuwarden (Ljouwert) — Start and finish of the Elfstedentocht, as well as the capital of Friesland.
Routes through De Fryske Marren
Joure  N Rijksweg 6 S  LelystadAlmere
ZaandamAfsluitdijkSneek  W Rijksweg 7 E  GroningenBad Nieuweschans
BolswardHindeloopenStavoren  N Provinciale weg 359 S  Lemmer

This city travel guide to De Fryske Marren is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.