Dokkum is the most northern town of the Eleven Cities Route. This is the turning point not only for the ice skaters but also for the camper. But before you turn around here and drive (via Bartlehiem) to the finish in Leeuwarden, there is still a lot to discover!
Dokkum is not only a beautiful town, its history also demands to be discovered. One of the most famous events in the history of Dokkum is the murder of Bonifatius in 754. He had come to Dokkum to convert the inhabitants. The locals, however, did not want to hear about it and Bonifatius was eventually murdered.
Dokkum received city rights in 1298. Jurisprudence, taxation and market law ensured that Dokkum became a prosperous city. What also played a part in the prosperity was that in 1597 the Admiralty of Friesland and Groningen settled in Dokkum. The Admiralty can be compared to today’s navy. They were engaged in trading, shipping security, coastal protection and warfare at sea. When the sea arm next to Dokkum silted up, prosperity stopped and the Admiralty moved to Harlingen. In the center of Dokkum, the Admiralty House now serves as the Museum of Dokkum. Also, the annual Admiralty Days take place. During this time there are many activities on the water and various musical and cultural events in the city.
Besides the Admiralty Days there is much more to experience in Dokkum. The best activities and attractions can be found here! Also, every Wednesday the weekly market takes place in the Grote Breedstraat. It is said that this is one of the oldest weekly markets in the Netherlands.
What can you do in Dokkum?
There is always something to do in Dokkum, so you can easily spend a few days here. We have made a list of the best things to do.
Tip: you can take a lovely route to Dokkum via the Wadden coast, but you can also drive via Leeuwarden. Especially because at the Jumbo in Zuiderburen you will receive a free traditional frisian sugar bread from Tije de Boer when you show your stamp card and purchase groceries for €25+.
The fountain in Dokkum is also a highlight. This last fountain is even a real ice fountain that is changing every day. How much ice is visible on the fountain depends on the sun, humidity, temperature, wind and precipitation. The ice fountain was created by Birthe Leemeijer. In autumn the trees around the fountain turn red in memory of Bonifatius and his followers.
The city walk through Dokkum also starts at the fountain. You walk for a while over the stronghold of Dokkum and pass by the two windmills that are still active. You will also pass the turning point of the ice skating tour. This point is marked by benches in the form of Frisian ice skates. Take a break here to look at the facades of the buildings and the boats passing by.
2. Beer breweries
In its glory days there were 19 breweries in Dokkum. Now there are only two. De Stadsbrouwerij is one of the two breweries you can still find in Dokkum. The other brewery is Brouwerij Dockum, which you can’t skip anyway because this is where you get your stamp for Dokkum. And if you’re there anyway, also taste a Kâld Kletske or a Dutch IPA. You can sign up for a tour so you can learn all about the beers and how they are brewed in a sustainable way. There is also a tasting room where you can not only taste the beers, but also get explanations about which beer goes well with which dish. Regularly they have great offers and you can take a gift for the people at home. So they also get a taste of Friesland.
They don’t only brew beer at Kâld Kletske. They also take you to discover the surroundings. So you can go out on the mudflats or into the Fryske Wâlden.
3. Museum Dokkum
Museum Dokkum is located in the former headquarters of the Admiralty. In the museum you will find information about the culture and history of Northeast Friesland covering the last 2,000 years. You can admire, among other things, old utensils, an extensive Frisian silver collection and Frisian pottery. There is also a permanent exhibition about Bonifatius. You can also book a guided city walk at the museum. The address of the museum is Diepswal 27, 9101 LA Dokkum.
The Bonifatiuskapel is an important place for pilgrims. Previously, the only place where you could find the Bonifatius spring with holy water was here. Partly on the initiative of Father Carmelite Titus Brandsma (who we know from Bolsward), an additional chapel was built here. In the chapel you can sit on one of the benches for a moment of reflection. In the processional corridor in the chapel the history of Boniface is depicted. Near the chapel you will also find a 2.5 m statue of Bonifatius.
5. Dokkum view from the water
Around the center of Dokkum there is a canal and through the center run two rivers, the Klein Diep and the Groot Diep. That’s why it’s so nice to explore the city from the water. You can join a boat tour, but you can also rent a canoe or a small boat at Schreiershoek or a SUP at SUP Skool Dokkum.
6. Explore the surroundings
Not only is the city itself beautiful, the surroundings of Dokkum are also very worthwhile. After 15-minutes driving you are at the Wadden Sea, part of the Unesco World Heritage. Here you can take a guided walk across the mudflats, take the boat to Ameland or Schiermonnikoog and take a look at the artwork “Wachten op hoog water” (Waiting for High Tide). This artwork consists of two women who look out over the mudflats.
In addition to the wadden region, National Park Lauwersmeer, National Landscape Noardlike Fryske Wâlden and National Park De Alde Feanen are not far from Dokkum either. Each of these beautiful areas has its own cultural and historical characteristics. You can make beautiful walks and cycle tours. You can find more information at www.eropuitinfriesland.nl. Nice to know: National Park Lauwersmeer is one of the two Dark Sky Parks in the Netherlands. Here you can see the stars in the sky because there is hardly any light pollution!
Between Dokkum and Leeuwarden is Bartlehiem with the famous Eleven Cities Bridge. It is very busy here during the Elfstedentocht on ice skates. The skaters pass here twice! A little further on you will find the tile bridge, the last bridge before the finish. The tiles on the bridge are a photo mosaic with pictures of people who have skated the Eleven cities tour. The tiles are placed in such a way that, from a distance, they form an image of skaters riding one behind the other. King Willem Alexander skated the Elf Cities Tour in 1986 under the alias W.A. van Buuren. He also got his own tile. Can you find him?
7. Ice cream and pastry store W'iis
At W’iis you can get ice cream, ice cream cake, chocolates and much more! The products are all prepared according to traditional methods by Wiebe de Jong. He prepares the ice cream with love and has just opened his new store in a beautiful building in Dokkum. Definitely worth it to drop by and get something tasty!
In the historical building from 1622, a beautiful lifestyle store is located: 1622lifestyle. Besides home accessories and gifts you will find the most beautiful fashion items and shoes. For a complete outfit or for some inspiration, this is the place to be. Please feel free to drop by or take a look on the webshop.
Would you like to shop for the perfect look? Go for women’s clothing to Io Sorrido. Shop your outfit or check out the trends. Open from Thursday to Friday.
Van der Gang
Are you looking for the right outfit for business, party or other occasions? At Van der Gang they are happy to help you assemble your outfit. They combine complete outfits for men with accessories and matching shoes.
De Bonte Hont
De Bonte Hont designs and makes furniture. You can admire it and buy it in their store in Dokkum. In addition to their home-made furniture, you can also find nice home accessories, lighting and clothing for both men and women. Great for a souvenir or just to browse. You will find the store at the Grote Breedstraat 10, 9101 KJ in Dokkum.
10. Ut Streekie
Would you like to enjoy various Frisian regional products on the way? That is possible at Ut Streekie. You can buy separate products, but you can also put together a nice Frisian package. If you are looking for a souvenir, you will find both Frisian and Dutch souvenirs here. Nice to give away or to keep as a memory of your Elevencitytour! Ut Streekie can be found in 3 of the 11 cities. Besides Dokkum you will also find them in Leeuwarden and Franeker. See the website for the possibilities and locations. The address in Dokkum is Keppelstraat 34.