Harlingen/Harns received city rights in 1157. At first the town was standing in the shadow of Franeker because this was once a university town. Yet Harlingen grew due to its location by the sea. Also interesting to know: the city used to be a lot more to the west. The sea regularly washes away land.
In 1644 the admiralty was established in Harlingen, after the sea arm near Dokkum had silted up. The admiralty is similar to the Navy of today. However, they did not have to concern themselves so much with military shipping; commercial shipping was far more important. Many skippers sailed to the Wadden Islands, to various places in the province and to ports on the Zuiderzee, especially Amsterdam. It brought Harlingen much prosperity. In the city you can find shipyards, breweries and brick and potteries, among other things. Unfortunately, Harlingen developed in the same way as the other cities around the Zuiderzee; Amsterdam and Rotterdam became many times bigger. However, Harlingen remains important for Friesland because of its large fishing port and the new van Harinxmakanaal.
Nowadays Harlingen is the port for the ferries to Vlieland and Terschelling, so there are lots of people coming and going. But Harlingen has much more to offer than that:
its location on the Wadden Sea, various maritime events, the beautiful warehouses in the protected city center and more than 600 monuments.
Where to get the stamp?
The stamp for Harlingen can also be collected at Campsite de Zeehoeve. So you don’t have to worry about getting your stamp in Harlingen!
Harlingen motorhome site
As a motorhome site in Harlingen, we recommend Camping de Zeehoeve. From here you have beautiful views over the Wadden Sea.
From November 1st there are a number of camper pitches available in the parking in front of the campsite. This is to allow the tour and to collect the stamps in low season. It’s a self service check in. The stamp is at the reception and the payment is done in good faith by putting the amount of €12.50 through the letterbox.
The campsite has spacious motorhome pitches and is equipped with many conveniences. The campsite is located near the center. So you can just leave your camper and explore Harlingen by foot.
From the campsite you can undertake in the summer various activities. Among other things you can rent sup-boards, which you can use to paddle over the canals of Harlingen. You can also go on a cruise with a guide who can tell you everything about the history of Harlingen. Prefer to hit the road? Rent an electric scooter and discover the suroundings of Harlingen.
What can you do in Harlingen?
Of course, you could just go to Vlieland or Terschelling for a day, but that would be a waste. There is in fact a lot to do in Harlingen. These are our tips!
In Harlingen you will find the fountain not in the center of the city itself, but in the sea. There in the water lies a sperm whale. It looks as if he is lost and no longer alive, but still, every now and then a splash of water rises to the surface. The sperm whale stands for the influence that man has on the sea. Because of this influence, more and more species of whales end up in low water, also in the wadden area, where occasionally a whale has to be rescued. The fountain was created by Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla. After you visit the fountain, take a city walk along all the highlights in Harlingen.
The Hannemahuis is one of the earliest houses in the Harlingen city center. It has been regularly remodeled, but the interior is still reasonably intact. The mirror above the fireplace in the back room has been hanging there since 1790. The last occupant, Leendert Jacobus Hannema, turned it into a museum and donated it to the municipality after his death so that the museum would continue. Now it is a museum and municipal archive. The museum has exhibitions about Harlingen`s history and art. Furthermore it presents temporary exhibitions with historical themes, but also with contemporary visual arts.
Restaurant ’t Havenmantsje is located in the port of Harlingen. You eat and drink at top level for an affordable price. They offer excellent service and the delicious food and drinks and tasteful interior together form the ingredients for a perfect afternoon or evening. You can choose individual dishes from the menu, together with a nice beer or cocktail, but ‘t Havenmantsje also serves surprise menus of three to eight courses with matching wines.
Want to cook yourself? ‘t Havenmantsje also has a cooking studio where cooking lessons are given. In the tasting room, they organize tastings.
Grand Cafe Levels
Grand Cafe Levels is the hotspot in Harlingen where you can enjoy an informal dinner. Levels owes its name to the different Levels in the interior, these Levels you see not only back in the interior but also in the construction of the menu. For every moment of the day, for every taste, and every weather, there is always something delicious. Enjoy a good cup of coffee or a delicious cocktail and compose your own burger or enjoy a delicious piece of homemade cheesecake.
4. Expedition ship of Willem Barentsz
Volunteers are building a reconstruction of Willem Barentsz’ expedition ship in Harlingen. Willem Barentsz left for China in 1596. More than 30,000 hours of hard work and dedication have gone into making the ship. Now it is almost ready and the ship can be found near the exhibition space on the Willemskade Harlingen. It is worth taking a look!
Every year in August the Fishing Days take place in Harlingen. For four days there is plenty to do and see in the city. There are many markets, there is traditional ring riding, there is a fair and in the evening there are performances by many famous and less famous artists. View the entire calendar of Harlingen here. Harlingen is also regularly one of the cities of the international sailing event The Tall Ships Races. During this race, beautiful old ships arrive at the port of Harlingen. You’ll be amazed by all the large ships that enter the port. Many of these ships will even let you go on board. Check out the planning of Harlingen here.
6. Zeedijken Route by bike
If you like cycling, you’ve come to the right place. The ANWB has mapped out a beautiful cycle route from Harlingen to Makkum that takes you along various dikes and charming Frisian villages. The cycle route is 47 km long and takes about 3.5 hours. There are also charging points for electric bicycles along the way.
7. Harlinger Pottery and Tile Factory (Harlinger Aardewerk en Tegelfabriek)
The Harlinger Pottery and Tile Factory is still the only company in the Netherlands that makes authentic pottery and tiles. The pottery and the way it is made is also known worldwide as Delft Blue, but Harlinger Blue would have been a better name ;). You can take a tour of the factory or look around the store yourself.
8. Homminga's fine store
Homminga has been a household name in Harlingen for 90 years. You can go there for advice on cheese and other specialties. The range of Dutch and foreign cheeses is very diverse. The cheeses come from various European countries. You will find cheeses from Belgium, England, Spain, Switzerland, Italy and France, among others. The same goes for the range of meats. They also offer a wide range of salads, patés, tapas and 15 kinds of nuts. So stock up for a good snack in front of the motorhome, or assemble a sandwich for lunch.
9. Liquor store Hans Mooij
Please visit Liquor Store Slijterij Hans Mooij for a wide range of products, including beautiful local products! This includes a exclusive promotion for the participants of the camper elfstedentocht. By purchasing a great bottle of Sonnema 1860 you will receive a complementary glass as a gift. Please show your card at the shop