Take in well-known and less well-known spots
Strolling through Winsum is like going back in time. With no fewer than 59 listed buildings, there’s plenty to see from every street corner. The village features characteristic structures that have remained unaffected by the ravages of time, from a castle to historic farms and everything in between. The Royal Dutch Touring Club proclaimed Winsum the most beautiful village in the Netherlands, and rightfully so. Explore historic and beautiful Winsum on foot, by bike or on the water.
“ ‘HAVE A LOOK INSIDE THE MILL’ ”
The wind is as old as time itself and humans have endeavoured to control it since forever. This is beautifully portrayed by mills, two of which you’ll find in Winsum: De Ster at the Molenstraat and De Vriendschap at the Kerkstraat. Both are flourmills/hulling mills. De Ster dates from 1851, but De Vriendschap was constructed in 1759 and relocated to Winsum in 1801. Both mills are still operated, and De Vriendschap is one of the oldest mills in the Netherlands that is still working. Feel free to look inside when the vanes are turning.
From the water
While there’s plenty to see as you walk through the village, it’s an entirely different view from the water. You can explore places just around the corner that are normally inaccessible. Take the Winsumerdiep canal, for instance. There was a time when no fewer than three local shipbuilding yards built vessels that sailed these waters. Now it’s your turn to set sail in a boat or canoe you can hire at Marenland. Sail past historic houses and under the two bridges that once connected the villages of Winsum and Obergum.
“ ‘SAIL TO PLACES THAT ARE OTHERWISE INACCESSIBLE’ ”
Hills with intriguing history
The province of Groningen is known for its numerous wierden – wide hills that were constructed to live on in areas that flooded regularly. They provided a dry place to live. Winsum has a stunning number of ten wierden, all of which are national monuments. Two of them feature a church on top, which make them stand out literally and figuratively. You’ll have to look around a bit more to find the other eight.
Winsum has two distinctive churches: the Torenkerk at the Kerkstraat and the Sint Nicolaaskerk at the Kerkpad. The latter has a well-maintained ossengang – the path around the church. The ossengang of many other churches are lost, making this this one a historic icon. The village is also home to a synagogue, which is located at the Schoolstraat. But the most distinctive feature of the village lies in the stories about the mediaeval Dominican monastery. Veiled in mystery, until today nobody knows exactly where its location was. True, some traces of its foundation have been found, but that’s about it. Tradition has it that it had an organ and seven altars. So it must have been relatively large, that's for sure.
“ ‘SOMETIMES YOU NEED A SOMEWHAT BROADER OUTLOOK ON THINGS’ ”
Winsum is also a perfect base of operations to explore more of the surrounding countryside. Hop on your bike and set out to see all the splendour around Winsum. From the Het Marenland tourist starting point you cycle straight into the Groningen countryside. Do a tour of the Reitdiep, the Lauwersmeer route or enjoy the fresh air of the northern area of reclaimed land. This area is also great for hikers. So whatever you prefer and however you explore Winsum and environs, this village and surrounding area are balm for the eye, the soul and the mood. Just exhale and relax.