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Traveling with 6 in the Netherlands & Friesland - car or train?

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Apr 10th, 2015, 07:13 AM
  #1
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Traveling with 6 in the Netherlands & Friesland - car or train?

I think I made a mistake in getting a group of 6 together to travel for 11 days in mid-May in Holland and Friesland. Some of us have been to NL once before, but stuck to the larger cities and used the trains. It looks like renting a car would work better to see the smaller places once we have been in Amsterdam and Haarlem. A friend in Friesland said we should rent a car, but a car for 6 doesn't really exist. And biking for some in our party is not possible. Any suggestions on buses or day trips by renting a van? We have 2-3 days in Friesland after being in Amsterdam before taking a train to Arnhem. We have a hotel reservation in Leeuwarden. And what are the must-sees in Friesland and Arnhem?
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Apr 10th, 2015, 07:29 AM
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hetismij2 will surely answer and she is an absolute expert on the area she lives near and visits often. a lovely area off the radar of most foreing tourists but which should not be. Trains and buses go everywhere but for a group rent a mini-van - lots available IME in Holland in general.
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Apr 10th, 2015, 09:05 AM
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If you rent a mini van.. which you will have to stuff yourselves into ,, remember.. pack LIGHT,as mini vans have little space for luggage.
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Apr 10th, 2015, 09:36 AM
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Get a luggage rack for the top - often an extra charge perhaps?
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Apr 10th, 2015, 11:09 AM
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Near Arnhemis the famous Hoge Veluwe National Park with in it the acclaimed Van Gog museum - Kroller-Muller which also has an outstanding outdoor statue park - those who want to ride bikes a bit can get free ones at the entrance to the national park and ride to the museum - several kiolmetres.

Arnhem also has a famous outdoor museum of traditiona Dutch life - old farm buildings and old trades being performed.

and of course the Bridge Too Far is in Arnhem - made famous by WW2 Operation Market Garden

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Market_Garden

Otherwise Arnhem is a neat largish town with its own unqiue kind of German look - not surprising as the German border is just a few miles away.

A few hours in the town itself will suffice but the things around it could occupy a few days.
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Apr 10th, 2015, 02:34 PM
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Where in Friesland do you want to go?

Leeuwarden is on the train line to Sneek - Stavoren and Franeker - Harlingen.

Of these, Franeker is the nicest town historically, but Sneek is the more interesting town, I think (disclaimer, my mother lives there) the Scheepvaart Museum in Sneek is very good, surprisingly so, for a small town, specialist museum.

Beyond Sneek, the same train line will get you to Workum and Hindelopen and ultimately Stavoren.

Or, from Leeuwarden, take the bus to Holwerd (about an hour) and take the ferry across to Ameland (45 minutes). This could be done in a day, although an overnight would be more comfortable. Nes has a few pretty good hotels.

Or, take the train from Leeuwarden to Grouw or Akkrum (Akkrum most convenient I think) and rent a launch (Drijfveer in Akkrum) and head to the lakes. This, I think, is the best way to see Friesland and is what the province is famous for: sailing from village to village. To this day, farms in this area can often be reached better by boat than by car)

En route to Arnhem, I'd like to recommend Deventer, old Hanseatic city on the river IJssel. The connection to Arnhem is excellent. Deventer's a beautifully preserved city. In fact, much of A Bridge Too Far was filmed here.

In Arnhem, check out Hartenstein, allied headquarters during operation Market Garden. There's a signposted walk you can do, past the old church in Oosterbeek, along the Rhine towards Arnhem. I did this last year, and it was extremely enlightening as to what the Allied forces were up against. Memories abound of the King's Own Scottish Borderers who fought galantly there. It makes one aware of how much of the warfare there was urban in character: advance and retreat took place in ordinary streets, garden by garden, house by house, along Utrechtseweg. The Pegasus Walk guides you through this theatre of war.
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Apr 10th, 2015, 03:02 PM
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I will try add to Menachem's reply tomorrow. It has been a long day today.
Harlingen is my favourite city - my son lives there so I am baised.
In Franeker you can visit the wooden planetarium.
More tomorrow
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Apr 10th, 2015, 03:17 PM
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Kampen is one smaller city that I loved in the Ijlmeer region - an old Zuider Zee port with character - I told the B&B owner in Amsterdam - an old cigar-smoking guy about 80 who could barely mumble - I was going to Kampen the next day by train - he just kep muttering :Ah Kampen they got good coffee in Kampen - over and over. So try a cup of famous Kampen coffee as well as a neat old town.
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Apr 10th, 2015, 09:02 PM
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All these cities on the IJssel are special. Zutphen is another one.
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Apr 11th, 2015, 04:58 PM
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All of you have offered some good information not available in the travel books!! Thanks. We all have a Friesian heritage, so we want to check out some of the smaller places. And Arnhem wasn't on my list until I got a tip from another Friesian/American cousin. It looks like it is possible to take a train or bus to and from various places from our hotel in Leeuwarden and then down the next day to Arnhem. We have done a stop/start in N. Holland last time, but it didn't work out as easily as I hope this will. Deventer sounds so interesting. Is Giethoorn worth going out of our way to see?
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Apr 11th, 2015, 10:24 PM
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Which smaller places do you want to visit?

As for buses from Leeuwarden: do research them well using 9292.nl. For instance, on sunday there are hardly any scheduled buses in outlying areas, and it's all shared shuttle services that you have to book an hour before you depart. I was nearly caught out by this in Makkum last year.

Other services have been scaled back or even cut.

I hope you do mention you're Frisian. Frysen om ûtens returning are always well loved

I still remember Simmer 2000 when there was a big reunion. Lots of descendants of emigrants from the little villages (that were sometimes half empty of inhabitants after the big migration in the 1950s) in my mother's village.

Incidentally, if you do decide to go to Arnhem and if you do visit the open air museum, there's a Frisian farm there (kop hals romp boerderij) that has an interesting exhibit explaining Frisian migration and the Frisian diaspora.

And in Leeuwarden do visit the recently built Fries Museum.

http://www.openluchtmuseum.nl/ontdek...rij-midlum-fr/
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Apr 13th, 2015, 06:42 AM
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Thanks so much! Yes, those places should be interesting. Last time we went to NL, we visited my husband's N. Holland roots (Broek op Langedyk) looking at the museum and walking around. Very worthwhile.

I am now looking at renting a large car after all, probably from Leeuwarden to Arnhem, since that may give us more options. If renting a car from North Holland makes more sense so we go on the N Holland coast and then over the dike, I am not sure from which city? Any suggestions on that? Or any cautions on renting a car in advance from the US?
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Apr 13th, 2015, 06:53 AM
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I'd rent a car in Amsterdam and then travel to Friesland via Alkmaar and Afsluitdijk. Straightforward enough. If you can drop off the car in Arnhem, that's excellent of course. That way you can perhaps do a bit of the Frisian IJsselmeer coast, visiting Kampen, as PalenQ suggested, and/or Zwolle, traveling along the river IJssel towards Arnhem. That's a very scenic route!
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Apr 13th, 2015, 12:25 PM
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My apologies for not getting back sooner, been ridiculously busy the last few days.

If you have a car then I can recommend a trip down to Hindeloopen and Makkum, with Sneek and Bolsward worth a visit too. Visit the lakes area, and enjoys watching the saiing boats.In Harlingen you will see some of the 'bruine vloot' the old sailing ships, now used as charter ships. My son owns one, which is why I love Harlingen. Nearby is Franeker, also well worth a visit, the planetarium there is a must see. You could drive along the Wadden sea and enjoy the UNESCO site, or follow the eleven towns route, as circular tour which starts and ends in Leeuwarden and roughly follows the route of the epic skating race.
You may enjoy the Kazemattenmuseum at the Friesian end of the Afsluitdijk, and possibly the Woudagemaal in Lemmer, the largest steam pumphouse in the world still working, another Unesco site, which you could visit on your way to Arnhem perhaps, if you choose to go through Kampen as well.

Arhnhem is only about 90 minutes from Leeuwarden on the motorway, so you could get off the motorway and explore more areas on your way there.
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Apr 16th, 2015, 07:04 PM
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Thanks to all those who contributed good ideas. OK, it looks possible to rent an Opel for 6 and do some driving through N. Holland for a couple days in Friesland, and then down to Alkmar to catch a train there to Haarlem. I am still working out the options, but now I can discuss with other members of the group what they would like from your menu. Thanks!!
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Apr 17th, 2015, 04:45 AM
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to get to Alkmaar from Friesland you go over the long behemoth enclosing dyke that dykes off the North Sea from the former Zuider Zee - now the inland fresh-water Isjelmeer - quite a treat:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Afsl...=1600&bih=1075

One of the modern wonders of the world - consider bopping by Enkhuizen and the fantastic open-air museum there en route to Alkmaar - Edam is also a neat old town to stop by.
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Apr 17th, 2015, 11:16 AM
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If you want to go to Alkmaar, both Enhuizen and Edam are (considerable) detours
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Apr 17th, 2015, 01:27 PM
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considerable detours for a Dutch person maybe but that part of Holland is so so tiny it can't be too much of a detour - how much longer would it take? They could even go to Marken and Volendam- Marken is of course a huge tourist destination for tours from Amsterdam and bus tours.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Mark...=1600&bih=1075

Marken is an open-air museum of life on the former Zuider Zee around 1900 I think - untouched old village with locals in old time garb (hokey but nice) - worth a quick look if not in a hurry to get to Alkmaar.
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Apr 18th, 2015, 09:22 AM
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No. Marken is not an open air museum. It's a working (though very touristic) island village. You're confusing it with Zuiderzee Museum.

Also, maybe look at a map of the Netherlands, perhaps? What may seem short stretches to Enkhuizen and Edam and back to Alkmaar, add up to almost a day of driving short stretches very soon if you're not careful. Alkmaar really is pretty far up north. Enkhuizen is definitely not "en route" to Alkmaar.
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Apr 18th, 2015, 10:30 AM
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I've been to Marken several times and if not tecnically an open-air museum for all practical purposes it is - there is nothing normal about it - totally for tourists - the old styles houses and locals in old garb - that's what I meant not that it was an official museum.

Hokey is what it is if it purports to be a real town. Volendam is a real town in all regards but Marken is a hoax of a turn-of-the-century Zuider Zee town.
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