The Lauwersmeer National Park, Zoutkamp, Reitdiep and the island of Schiermonnikoog are all located North of the city. The rich and varied flora and fauna of the NP is ideal for walking, cycling and sailing. In addition to beautiful scenic areas, the bicycle paths take in characteristic villages such as Zoutkamp. Fish trade used to draw many people to the village; this was one of the places from which fishing boats set out to sea. The Reitdiepdal (valley) is Europe’s oldest man-made landscape: water management, an age-old Dutch profession, has clearly left its traces here. As such a narrow, meandering river was difficult to sail, during the 17th century it was decided to partially straighten it. Fortunately, most old twists of the former Hunze remained. There are various beautiful walking and cycling routes along the Reitdiep.
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