Friesland is known for its culture, the beautiful nature and its own traditional sports: Frisian Draughts, Fierljeppen, Ice Skating, Kaatsen, Equestrian Sport (Frisian horse) and Skûtsjesilen.

The Frisian sports plays a prominent role in the programme of the European Sports for All Games.

Frisian Draughts
Draughts is a sport for the mind. A hundred years ago, people from Holland saw that the Frisian people played it differently than they did. In the official way, you could only strike diagonally (in the Frisian language: ‘oer hoeks’). But the Frisians striked both straight, across and diagonally. This is how the name‘Frisian Draughts’ was born.

Fierljeppen
Sprinting, climbing and jumping simultaneously over the water. Fierljeppen is all about who can jump the furthest. The Ljeppers are real athletes! Fierljeppen is (in a competition) a summer sport and it is done by a single competitor (jumper). The jumper runs towards a pole which stands in the water of a canal, jumps on the pole and immidiately climbs up to the top while the pole swings to the other side, jumps out of the pole and then lands in a sand bed on the other side of the water.
In the watery areas of the Netherlands, mainly farmers used in the early days a wooden pole to cross small canals. Thus using the pole as a means of transport from meadow to meadow.

Frysk Hynder
Driving through Friesland, you will most likely see one standing in the pasture: a Frysk Hynder, also named “De Fries”. Many people love this Frisian horse: The Frysk Hynder shows what he is capable of during demonstrations and inspections, championships and competitions.

Kaatsen
Did you know that a variation of the sport ofKaatsen is played in more than 50 countries in the world? Kaatsen is a ball game with two teams of three players. The ball is hit by hand in a way that the opponent cannot play the ball back. One team (called ‘partuur’) serves the ball onto the opposing field and the other team returns the ball by hitting. Both teams can earn points by striking the ball as far as possible between the lines.

Kaatsen is a very old ball sport. It is named the oldest of all ball sportssince sources indicate it being played4000 years ago (2000 years BC).

Ice skating
Ice skating is very popular in Friesland. It is a typical Dutch sport but actually seen as a traditional Frisian sport. As soon as there is only a small layer of ice on the Frisian water many people want to go Ice Skating. They get their skates „out of the fat”*, sharpen the skids and go for Ice Skating on the canals and ice rinks. In the old days, Ice Skating was a sport for everyone: At the end of the Middle Ages, young and old, rich and poor were skating.

*During summer, Frisians keep their skates in a layer of fat to keep them weel.

Skûtsjes
All those big, brown-white sails on the Frisian lakes form a beautiful scenery! These large sailing boats called “Skûtsjes”, can be admired from the shore or from another boat in the water.

Skûtsjesilen is a technical team sport, the crew consists of ten to fourteen people. Each crew member is named differently related to their function or task on board: schipper (skipper), adviseur (advisor/tactisian), schoteman (responsible for setting the sais with the sheets), fokkenist (responsible for the gib), lierenman (responsible for the winch that hoists the main sail) and peiler (responsible for measuring and calling the depth of the water).

Originally the Skûtsjes were built and used to transport potatoes, peet, vertilesoil, manure, cattle and various other goods. Due to the shallow waters the ships often had to sail in, the boat was built “flatbotommed” and long shaped.

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