Susi and Austin's

Travelling the Rivers and

Canals of Europe


Lemmer-ing along

Thursday 16 May 2024 5:28 PM

For the past four days, while getting over a nasty Dutch cold, we have stayed in Lemmer! It's a long time staying in one place for us, but we needed the break, and Lemmer is such a great place to hang around. The former fishing village, lying between the Frisian lakes and the Ijsselmeer, is now a busy tourist hub! 

The trip from Blokzijl to Lemmer is very picturesque. Small canals lead along quaint, thatched-roofed houses and neat gardens. As the canals merge into Friesland's beautiful lakes, sailing boats are getting bigger in size and numbers. They compete with a rich birdlife of ducks, swans, cormorants, storks, herons and gulls. Approaching Lemmer, hundreds of masts emerge from the many yacht harbours. 

To moor in the old centre along the restaurants, shops and bars, one has to pass two moveable bridges with a third bridge and lock leading out into the Ijsselmeer. Bridge money is to be deposited into a colourful clog on a fishing rod dangled over the gunnels by the bridge keeper; here in Lemmer, being such a tourist magnet, it's 7€, the most we ever paid. But, fair enough, it covers the three bridges and the lock, which are constantly in use.

Here, "Double- mooring" is more the rule than the exception, especially leading up to the long Whit Sunday weekend. So it didn't take long until a sailboat attached itself to us. In the meantime, we had three different "neighbours", the last ones came from close to my hometown, from the so-called "Sauerland".

We enjoyed all the amenities Lemmer has to offer. Sitting in the sun on Lodi, we watched the comings and goings of people and boats. Some seriously "over the top" cruiseboats went by and dwarfed Lodi! We ate a great fish meal at one of the many restaurants and talked to two lovely Dutch doctors at the table next to us. We also enjoyed shopping for Dutch delicacies at the nearby Albert Heijn supermarket. The weather stayed mainly sunny and warm, with only two short showers making us close the hatches.

Being the Whit Sunday weekend, the quays were packed with boats - all double parked -and the terrace cafés, bars and restaurants alongside were also packed. It was hard to imagine that in winter this part of the canal can freeze over and people ice-skate through town. 

This time around, we managed to get to the UNESCO World Heritage Pump Station, a 40-minute walk along the beach from town. Built in 1920, the Wouda Gemaal Pump Station is an amazing hydraulic engineering marvel.

In the early days, these steam-powered pumps saved the land from flooding or, as the Dutch like to put it “they kept our feet dry". The plant can pump more than 4 million litres per minute from the Frisian lakes and canals back into the Ijsselmeer. Nowadays, the huge Afsluit-Dam, which closes off the Issijlmeer and a modern pumping station in Stavoren, mean that the Lemmer station is only in action during extreme flooding.

As a matter of fact, we are heading to Stavoren on the Ijsselmeer today. Austin misses the infamous "Lady of Stavoren."

Previous  | Index |  Next