After landing in Frankfurt we boarded a train to Utrecht where we rented a car to make the drive to the northern part of the Netherlands. The province of Friesland is the least densely populated province of the Netherlands and is known for its lakes, wide open spaces, and general peace, making it the perfect place for us to relax and acclimate to the new time zone. We’ll definitely appreciate the rest and relaxation because next we are spending five days in Amsterdam to celebrate Chris’s birthday.
Friesland is primarily an agricultural province and derives much of its revenue from tourism. Our tiny home we are renting is situated on the residential portion of a farm and comes equipped with a wall of windows and a patio overlooking miles of fertile farmland. We chose to stay just outside of Lemmer because it is close to the Noordoostpolder municipality, known for its endless fields of tulips, and is considered the “gateway to Friesland”.
Approximately 2,000 hectares of tulips, equivalent to about 8 square miles, are planted each year in the Noordoostpolder municipality which produces around 1 billion sellable bulbs. Tulips blossom in early spring but are available for purchase year round around the world because of tulip cultivators, called “forcers”. The forcers store bulbs and force them to blossom in other seasons by exposing the bulbs to a cold environment, which makes them think it is winter time, and then they are transferred to a warmer environment to grow. Unfortunately for us tulip season ended about a week ago and almost all the tulips have been harvested leaving behind green pastures of flowerless tulip plants. The remaining tulip bulbs will be harvested soon and taken to markets around the world to be sold.
During our time in Friesland, we ate dinner at t’Vaticaan in the village of Sneek. The restaurant is very quirky with a bunch of religious art. The following day, after sleeping in, we grabbed coffee and lunch at Doppio Espresso in Joure and walked around Park Heremastate. We also visited Penningasmolen which is one of the 195 windmills in the province. For dinner we stuck to our neighborhood and ate at Pizzeria Ristorante La Gondola in Lemmer.
Multiple friendly locals inquired where I am from which is always a fun question. I usually respond, “Take a guess”. The guesses included Italy, France, England, South Africa, and Australia. These guesses are interesting and I think it hints at the fact that a ton of foreigners speak English fluently or close to fluently, so it’s not a given that I am from the United States just because I speak English.
Friesland lived up to its reputation of wide open spaces and peace. We thoroughly enjoyed our time leisurely exploring the small villages and relaxing on our patio overlooking miles of farmland. Although we missed the tulip season by only a week, we’ll definitely visit this area again in the future to see the colorful fields of blossoming tulips.