(si prefieres leer ésto en español, sigue este enlace)One of the Frisian cities that I intend to visit again next spring or summer is the town of Dokkum, which is the northernmost city in the Netherlands and one of oldest towns in the Elfstedentocht - the famous long-distance skating race that takes place in eleven cities in the province of Friesland.
Closely linked to the city of Dokkum is the name of a saint: Boniface, or as he is known in Dutch, St. Bonifatius. He was a missionary who propagated Christianity in the Frankish Empire and reached what is today the Dutch province of Friesland. It was here in Dokkum in the year 754 where St. Bonifatius suffered martyrdom at the hands of the local inhabitants.
Today, spread throughout the city, there are reminders of this historical figure, such as the neo-Gothic church of St. Bonifatius -one of the seven that architect Pierre Kuypers built in Friesland. Also, in the outskirts of the town, you can find St. Bonifatiuskapel and well, which is said to have healing powers.
|St. Boniface's Church, built in the 1870s by P. Cuypers.|
|St. Bonifatius chapel and well, in the outskirts of Dokkum.|
|The mitre in the middle of this square represents the path followed by St. Bonifatius during his mission in Friesland.|
In this well-preserved fortified town, the rich past is still visible. Dokkum had until the 18th century a direct connection to the sea and was for a long time an important harbour.
At the Grootdiep, the former harbour of the city and gateway to the sea, we can still today see the Admiraliteitshuis, vestige of a time when the Admiralty of Groningen and Friesland was housed here and whose purpose was to protect ocean trade. In 1963 the building was converted into a regional museum showing mainly popular regional art, collections of ceramics and textiles from the Golden Age and a very interesting exhibition about St. Boniface, his work and life.
|The Admiralty Wharf at Dokkum.|
Another interesting building that one should not miss while walking around Dokkum is the exceptional Town Hall, which dates from 1610 and was restored and extended or renewed in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Dokkum old Stadhuis is situated in the Kleindiep, which is also the turning point of the Elfstedentocht race.
At the local Tourist Information Office or VVV (address and website below) you can find different walking routes which will take you along the most important sights; but you can of course just walk around on your own, rambling along the canals and cute winding lanes or over the bolwerk, which was the old bastion of the city.
|The Hope mill, dating from 1849.|
|Kids from Dokkum meeting for a chat on a Sunday afternoon.|
|A lady tending her garden in Dokkum.|
|The Kleindiep canal or gateway with a view of the Zeldenrust mill.|
|Pretty houses by the canal in the city of Dokkum.|
You can find my posts about three other Frisian cities here:
Stop # 1: Leeuwaarden
Stop #2: Harlingen
Stop #3: IJlst
Tourist information (for maps, routes, etc.)
Regio VVV Lauwersland
Op de Fetze 13
Bonifatius Chapel and well (for information on visiting times, etc.)
Bronlaan 12, 9101 VS Dokkum - Phone nr.:06 – 109 14 645
Museum Dokkum (Het Admiraliteitshuis)
Diepswal 27, 9101 Dokkum - Phone nr.: 0519 - 293134