Cycle route Historic Westerwolde
Bourtange, Wedde, Jipsinghuizen
During this beautiful route, you cycle along the Musselkanaal canal. This was dug by the city of Groningen from Bareveld to Ter Apel in 1765 to promote the reclamation of the raised bog of the Bourtang swamp. The canal eventually acquired a length of 38 kilometres and was completed in 1856. The peat trade made it one of the busiest shipping routes in the Netherlands in the nineteenth century. At the locks, waiting times could reach several hours. Cafés and shops were then established at these places, such as in Stadskanaal and Musselkanaal.
In 1580, none other than William of Orange ordered the construction of a fort on a sand ridge in the Bourtang swamp. The aim was to prevent the Spaniards from supplying the city of Groningen. When the fortress was no longer needed in the 19th century, an agricultural village arose, built with the stones of the old buildings. Decay continued, until the municipality of Vlagtwedde took the initiative to reconstruct the fortress. Ramparts were raised again, moats dug and soldiers' barracks were built. Imagine yourself back in the year 1742 in a fortress that was never taken.
Another beautiful place is Jipsinghuizen. Here you will find a monument dedicated to the work relief in Westerwolde. The work relief was organised by the NV Vereenigde Groninger Gemeenten, founded in 1924.
Start (and end) your cycling day at the beautiful Gasterij Natuurlijk Smeerling in a restored Saxon farmhouse, and enjoy this beautiful, historic cycle route!
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