The 11 cities
Three churches, two mills, a museum, protected townscape and a train station. So you don't have to sit on a log if you want to fill a day in IJlst. And let that wood be the hub of this town. This is where logs were sawn into planks and wood was used to make handy gadgets. Nowadays, you can completely unwind here and leave for the next town completely zen.
Are you looking for practical information for your trip? Contact VVV Ijlst!
How a rat saws a plank
A sawmill called De Rat stands on the banks of De Geeuw, the centuries-old waterway between IJlst and Sneek. Here you will experience how the wood sawing craft has been practised for more than three centuries. The historic mill is still in operation. When the sails turn, you can see the logs lying in the pond in the mill pit. Slowly they are on their way to the sawing frames, to be transformed into beautiful planks. Experience the scent of wood in IJlst and step back in time.
From old factory to museum
At the Houtstad IJlst Museum, you can learn about IJlst's rich history of timber trading, shipbuilding and woodworking, including Nooitgedagt's world-famous tools, skates and wooden toys and its many skate-making businesses.
The Nooitgedagt name is inextricably linked to the centuries-old Eleven Cities town of IJlst. For more than 138 years, this nationally renowned company produced tools, skates, and wooden toys. Maybe you have something of your own in an old toolbox or in the attic that originates from Ijlst.
Just crossing the road: We would now think it quite odd to cross the road when you want to sit in your garden for a while. Yet that used to be quite common, perhaps because there was less traffic in those days. Crossing the road with your cup of coffee or laundry basket was also an instant way of having a social chat with the neighbours. That laundry basket, by the way, contained the white laundry. On a sunny day, you hung it on a clothing line above the lawn and the sun did the rest; dry and snow-white, you collected the laundry at the end of the day. IJlst is the only place in the Netherlands where the gardens have been preserved; at the other places, only the street names remain.
IJlst was the fourth town in Friesland, after Stavoren, Hindeloopen and Harlingen, to be granted city rights in 1268. This is certainly reflected in the variety of beautiful historical buildings. That is why Ijlst has so much for you to take in. Surely you want to visit this city?
it giet oan
De tocht der Tochten
On foot, by bike, by motorbike or even by boat….but above all known from doing it skating: the 200-kilometre Elfstedentocht (11 Cities Tour). Who doesn't know it? A household name for over 110 years, and not only in Friesland. Shivering, hopefully with well- sharpened blades, thousands of daredevils ventured across the frozen Frisian waters, past the eleven Frisian towns, for the last time in 1997. All along the route, the shore was packed with loyal supporters, cheering on the skaters everywhere possible in the icy cold. With the help of a piece of cake and a ‘zopie’, a warming Boomsa herbal bitter or purely by character, they saw Klasina Seinstra and Henk Angenent cross the finish line within eight hours in 1997. Although it has now been more than 25 years since the Elfstedentocht has taken place, winter remains the time to recall stories about the Tocht der Tochten (Tour of All Tours).