Workum, Netherlands


Workum (Fries: Warkum) is a town in the municipality of Súdwest-Fryslân, in the Dutch province of Friesland, which lies northeast of Hindeloopen, north of Koudum, west of Nijhuizum and southwest of Ferwoude. The city center is located on both sides of Diepe Dolte, which is directly connected to the IJsselmeer via Het Zool.

The Zool flows through the outer dike area, which is called the Geele Strand near Workum. There are several yards, a marina and two holiday parks on the water. There are also a few harbors elsewhere in the city. Workum has had city rights since 1399, making it one of the Frisian eleven cities. In 2020 the city had 4,440 inhabitants. The hamlet of Kleine Wiske also falls under the city.

Until 1979, part of the region Het Heidwezen also fell under Workum, which included the neighborhoods Brandeburen and Het Hel. The region then became independent and since December 1, 1979 it is called It Heidenskip, in Dutch also called Heid appropriation, which means both the region and the village.


Protected city view

Part of Workum is a protected cityscape, one of the protected city and village views in Friesland. Workum has dozens of national monuments.



Workum originated as an agricultural settlement. Due to its location it developed into an important center of sea trade and later shipping. Workum used to consist of the Wijmerts, a dug waterway that connected the harbor with the Frisian inland lakes, and houses along that water.

Over the years, the Wijmerts got various side arms. Since the Wijmerts was filled in in 1785, there is a square in the middle, the Merk, which connects the roads Noard (North) and Súd (South). Some side arms can still be reached via the Diepe Dolte.

In 1297 Workum was mentioned as Waltercom, circa 1327 as Waldricheim, in 1333 as Woldrichem, in 1343 as Wolderchem, in 1374 as Waerkum and in 1505 as Worckum. The place name would indicate that it was the residence (Heem / um) of the person Waldrik.

In the early 1500s, Southwest Friesland was centrally controlled by Albrecht van Saksen. The city of Workum was raided by troops of Charles V. He chased away the Guelders troops who had entrenched themselves in the church, whereby the church caught fire and the separate tower was also lost. His successor was the Habsburg governor Schenck van Toutenburg. In 1533, it was established in a great arbitration that the city was obliged to maintain the sea dikes.

Because trade in the 15th century was faced with competition from Holland and Zeeland, Workum turned to shipbuilding. When polders were created in the 17th century, many mills were also built. For this, pine was used that was taken by the Baltic sailors. In Holland and Zeeland more oak was used that came from France. Shipbuilding brought the economy back to life.

The harbor suffered from silting up, which led to the reclamation of the Workumer Nieuwland.


Municipal reorganization

Until the municipal reorganization of 1984, Workum was an independent municipality. Together with the towns of Hindeloopen and Stavoren and a large part of the then municipality of Hemelumer Oldeferd, Workum became the main town in the municipality of Nijefurd. On January 1, 2011, Workum became part of the municipality of Súdwest-Fryslân.



Workum is split into two parts by the Diepe Dolte, which connects the Zandmeer with the IJsselmeer. From the Gaastermeer the water is first called the Lange Vliet and then the Trekvaart / Workumertrekvaart. North of the city, the Workumertrekvaart bends to the southwest, and from there the water is called the Diepe Dolte. Along the Trekvaart and Workumertrekvaart is a street called Trekwei. A little later this also bends to the southwest, and that street becomes the Noard in Workum and then the Súd. Between the Noard and the Súd is the Merk, a square with a number of prominent buildings.

The former town hall has been expanded over the years, first with an additional building next to it and in the 20th century with a large extension at the rear. Since the municipal reorganization, a new function has been sought for the building. Also on the Merk are the weigh house, which houses Museum Warkums Erfskip, and the Grote or Sint-Gertrudiskerk, which has a separate tower. In front of that church, looking over the Súd, there is a bronze statue of Uffing, a famous Workum monk.

There are several bridges across the Diepe Dolte. At the Súd there is a bridge with a lock and a restaurant called Sluiszicht. The oldest part is from 1777 and the last restoration took place in 1978.

As in more places along the former Zuiderzee, characteristic pottery can also be found in Workum. The Workumer pottery is simply brown with decorations in ring-ring technique.



The city has several museums. The most famous of these is the Jopie Huisman Museum. This is a museum in Workum that exhibits works by painter Jopie Huisman. The museum was opened in 1986, but has been located at its current location at Noard since 1992. The Ecclesiastical Art Museum is also located on the same street. This is a cultural history museum. Since 1985 it has been located in the rectory next to the Sint-Werenfriduskerk. The Waag of the city houses the Museum Warkums Erfskip, about the history of the city. In addition, the city has several workshops.

The Kapper Doeleman & Scheermuseum has been located in Workum since 2014. This museum was originally located in Bakhuizen. The Cow Museum Almost everything about Cows moved to Workum. Before 2016, it had been located in a farm in Nijemirdum since 1997.


Church buildings

The city has several churches. The Grote or Sint-Gertrudiskerk is from the 15th century. In the 16th century, the church was considerably modified. A church tower was then built next to the church, which is strikingly separate from the church. The Mennonite Church is a barn church from 1694. The Sint-Werenfriduskerk from 1877 is a more modern church.



Workum once had seventeen mills in its immediate vicinity, which had different tasks: saw mills, flour mills and many polder mills. There are three polder mills left: De Nijlânnermole, De Snip and Ybema's Mole.



In 2007, the waterway to the Fluessen was made suitable for larger, deeper draft ships. The route has been deepened and dredged as part of the Frisian Lakes project of the province of Friesland. The waterway has thus become accessible to ships with a draft of up to 1.90 m. The Workumertrekvaart, the waterway from Workum to Bolsward, has also been deepened. The Diepe Dolte and Het Zool are connected by the Sluis Workum, a lock.

Near the city, on the Hylperdyk, at the entrance to the harbor of Workum, is the Workum Lighthouse. The lighthouse, which is locally called Toarntsje, is a white square brick tower that used to be a beacon of light for ships on the Zuiderzee. The original wooden tower dates from 1643, when the dike between Workum and Hindeloopen was also built. Later that century or in the 18th century, the tower was replaced by the stone lighthouse.