First mentioned in the 14th century and then continuously for the next 500 years due to its strategic location within protected natural harbors and the former Zuidersee, which is now the Ijsselmeer, and the many attacks by pirates and foreign conquerors, Lemsterland today is a south Frisian municipality of 11,000 people. The town was one of the most important Dutch fishing ports in the 19th century, and in the 20th century became one of the most popular places in the country for water sports. Here, where in its different forms, water sports are the most popular ways to spend free time – people sail on regional waters in the warm months and even in the winter do water sports, like ice skating on frozen canals and parking spots – there are innumerable sailing opportunities and possibilities for renting a boat. A lot of information about the region can be found online, also in English, along with information on houseboat and sailboat excursions. You can find a special itinerary for the Ijsselmeer here. Maritime excursions are readily available not only on the 1100 square km Ijsselmeer, but also along the almost 65-kilometer long Prinses Margriet Channel between Lemmer and Groningen. Equally excellent for cruises and fishing trips are the two dozen Frisian lakes, such as Groote Brekken, Sneekermeer, Tjeukemeer, Heegermeer, Fluessen (Fluezen) and Slotermeer, to name the largest ones, which are in the region and are partially linked to each other. The Bergumer Mar, De Leijen, Groote Wielen, Lauwersmeer, Pikmeer and Eeltjemeer lie a bit further north.
Considering the sailing and seafaring tradition in Lemmer and its environs, it is no surprise that the region boasts a type of boat that was invented and has been built here since 1876. The 10 to 15 meter long flat-bottomed boat known as a “Lemsteraak” is a quick sail, and is used both for speedy transport of herring to markets as well as, in its yacht form, a mode of transportation for the Dutch royal family. As yachts, these boats are, of course, widely available for charter in the region. The five largest and most central marinas in Lemmer are the Tacozijl Water Sport Center, the Lemmer-Binnen marina, the Haven en Sluis Bedrijf, the yacht marina Friese Hoek Lemmer, and the Gemeente Buithaven Lemmer. English and German are spoken at all of them. At Tjeukemeer, close by and more inland, the marina Jachthaven De Merenpoort in Echtenerbrug offers overnight accommodation. Known by sailors, skippers and water sport enthusiasts, Marina Staboren Buitenhaven and Marina Stavoren am Johan Frieson Kanaal in the Stavoren neighborhood of the Súdwest Fryslân municipality are also good marinas which together have several hundred boat moorings. Following the navigable canal via Lake Morra, inland, the Port of Camping de Kuilart in Koudum also becomes a possibility. A bit north of Stavoren, almost hanging in the waters, Hindeloopen Marina and Marina It Soal in Workum/Nijefurd are also potential docking sites. Further south in the direction of Ketelmeer, you can stay as a guest at Gemeente Haven Urk or at the Schokkerstrand Marina in Nagele. For even more sailboat and yacht marinas, the city of Makkum in the Wûnseradiel municipality is known as a surfing mecca. It sits directly on the final dike before the North Sea, as does the port of Flevoland Lelystad, the provincial capital with 75,000 inhabitants. The city is known for its boat models, the famous Batavia shipyard, and Oostvaardersplassen, the protected nature reserve featuring many red deer and wild horses.
Lemmer isn’t known just for its five aforementioned marinas and ports with their ideal locations as a central bases for discovering the western Ijsselmeeres and the bordering waters. The wide range of leisure activities and cultural entertainment, the many lovely places of accommodation, and the beautiful architectural attractions are great places to visit for a bit on your vacation. A popular attraction is almost the largest and last steam workshop, Woudagemaal, still in function in the world. The workshop, built in 1920, is in the very nearby village Tacozijl, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998. For some typically Dutch attractions, the exotic gardens, including a butterfly valley, and the Lori Garden “De Orchideeënhoeve” (orchid garden) in Luttelgeest make good visits. A huge exhibition of historic and modern diving equipment and materials, also very Dutch, can be found at the “Duikmuseum Lemmer”. The “Streekmuseum/Oudheidkamer Lemster Fiifgea” museum is dedicated to the history of cargo ship transport to Amsterdam and the Baltic Sea from the 17th and 18th centuries, and the Indian Motor Museum shows the story of friends who rode their motorcycles all over the world. Known for its collection of toys, the “Speel*Goed Museum ‘De Boerepleats’” in Echtenerbrug can also be booked for children’s birthdays, and in the Lemmer Butterfly Garden, visitors both big and small learn a lot not only about butterflies in the diverse garden, but also about the lives and functions of bees, dragonflies, and bumblebees. Exhibitions, readings and performances are often organized at the “Kunst Werkplaats voor Academisch Schilderen en Tekenen” (KWAST) (Art Workplace for Academic Painting and Drawing; ‘kwast’ in Dutch means ‘brush’), the Lemmer city library, the “S.C.C. de Hege Fonnen” theater, the gallery “Het Gemaal”, in the office of the Frisian Sailing Company, and in the rooms of the “Kunstenaarscollectief INART” (Artists’ Collective INART). A walk, bike ride or horseback ride through the two nearby nature reserves, Gaasterland and Kuinderbos, is a great way to experience the area’s beautiful outdoors.
Almost 50 sailboats are available to hire in Lemmer and its environs via the new yacht-chartering platform for rentals around the world – YACHTICO.com. Search in Lemmer and its surrounding areas, and when you see a boat you like, quickly and easily book it with just a few clicks. The majority of the boats are available for advantageously priced weekly packages ranging from 580 to 999 Euros. Two very luxurious sailing yachts, with eight berths and four cabins, cost just from about 2800 to 3000 Euros per week, and the majority of the boats, produced by well-known manufacturers, were built between 2009 and 2012.