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The Frisian Peat Course

On the track of peat bosses, peat cutters and -skippers

Turfroute Copyright Friesland Holland
 Frisian Peat Course (Click here to download the map)


The Frisian Peat Course is throughout the world a unique historical course. It’s an extensive system of canals with sluices and bridges in the southeast of the province of Friesland (Netherlands), excavated between 1630 and 1830 for the transport of peat. Peat, dried bog, represented until 1900, when coal was coming on, an important fuel in The Netherlands.

The so-called associates, the cooperating peat bosses, handled the extraction of peat in the vast Frisian low and high moor all around Heerenveen, Gorredijk and Appelscha. The most important – and also most widely known – waterway they excavated is the Opsterlandse Compagnonsvaart (Opsterlandse Associates Course): from Gorredijk up to Appelscha at the Drenthe border, 34 km. Also the partly canalised river Tjonger, flowing from Oosterwolde in westerly direction to Schoterzijl and Kuinre to the former Zuiderzee, constituted and constitutes a part of the Peat Couse. Subsequently smaller unlocking channels were developed, Dutch “wijken” (make ways), Frisian “wiken”.

Sailing and cycling
Thanks to the Foundation De Nije Kompanjons of Friesland, cruisers can follow the ancient track of the peat skippers on waterways, wijken and small rivers, all the way up to Drenthe and Overijssel. If you want to lose yourself in the turbulent and contrasty past, the world of moor and peat, you are welcome in the peat museums of Nij Beets, Gorredijk or Heerenveen. Golden hint: Take your bicycles on board or rent them in one of the villages along the course. Every meaningful place of interest is within cycling or walking distance from the course.

Welcome to East Friesland!

Important information for navigation on the Frisian Peat Course

Turfroute Copyright Friesland Holland
 Frisian Peat Course (Click to download the map)


Dimensions of the boat
For sailing the Frisian Peat Course, some restrictions apply with regard of the pleasure craft.
Maximum dimensions
Length: 28 meters
Width: 5 meters
Maximum draught: 1,10 meters (New: 1,30 meters on the route Oosterwolde-Smilde)
Max. vertical clearance:
3,25 m, 3,70 m, 4 m
(see below “Trajectories and vertical clearances”)
The permitted maximum cruising speed is 6 km/h.
Opening hours course
14 May to 10 September 2016. The locks and bridges will also be operated at Whitsuntide. The Peat Course will also be navigable then and the days after.
For opening hours in 2017 see
Free operating and self-operating
The bridges and locks of the Frisian Peat Course are operated free, except for a number of swing bridges. These should be self-opened and closed.
Operating times
Monday to Saturday from 09.30-16.30 hours. Closed on Sundays and holidays.
From 1 July to 31 August 2016 (high season) also on Sunday.
Entrance fee: € 20,–
In order to outweigh a part of the route maintenance and the operating of locks and bridges, an entrance fee of € 20,– will be charged each time you will pass through one of the entrance locks to the “Frisian Peat Course”. These entrance locks are indicated on the map as “entree/access”.
The harbour Oldeberkoop is freely accessible.

Biking, Boating and Walking in and around Giethoorn

National Park Weerribben-Wieden-Rottige Meente

Ossenzijl-Kalenberg in De Weerribben.
Ossenzijl-Kalenberg in De Weerribben.

National Park Weerribben-Wieden in Northwest Overijssel is, together with nature reserve Rottige Meente in southern Friesland, the largest continuous marshland area in Western Europe. The tourist highlights are Giethoorn, Wanneperveen, Kalenberg and Ossenzijl. Neighbouring historic towns such as Blokzijl, Vollenhove, Zwartsluis, Steenwijk and Wolvega add extra attraction to a holiday in this region.

This water abundant area is the habitat of hundreds of extraordinary plants and animals (including very rare ones, such as the otter) and of people who have a close bond with nature. The best way to explore this region is by bike, boat (tour boat, electrosloop, rental yacht or canoe) or simply on foot, following well-signposted routes. The variation in the wetland is huge. Here an outdoor cafe; there a bridge. Small farms, meandering rivers, woodland, reed fringes and stacks of reeds, meadows with cows, dikes with sheep. A multitude of cosy hotels, bed and breakfasts and camping sites offers accommodation to tourists from all over the world.

Country Estate ‘De Eese’

Huis De Eese (1619), the castle. The square core of Landgoed De Eese, approximately 80 ha, is an officially protected national monument, a so-called Cultural-historical Country Estate. Landgoed De Eese has developed from a 12th century fortified farmstead.
Huis De Eese (1619), the castle. The square core of Landgoed De Eese, approximately 80 ha, is an officially protected national monument, a so-called Cultural-historical Country Estate. Landgoed De Eese has developed from a 12th century fortified farmstead.

STEENWIJK (NL) – Landgoed De Eese is a medieval estate of some 800 ha on the border of Friesland, Overijssel and Drenthe. It is largely owned by the family Van Karnebeek. A small part of this estate belongs to the Dutch National Forest Service.