Het Groene Huisje



The Little Green Cottage in the village of Molenrij is situated on the unique Hogeland, a sparsely populated rural area since ancient times, boasting wide open spaces, farmland, and picture postcard villages. Gradually, during many centuries, parts of this area were literally taken from the nearby tidal Wadden Sea and turned into meadows and fields.

The lovely Wadden Sea with its string of islands and neighbouring Lauwersmeergebied with its woods, inlets and lakes are Dutch areas of outstanding natural beauty and Unesco World Heritage sites. So, staying in the Little Green Cottage offers wonderful opportunities for nature-lovers, hikers, bikers, swimmers, anglers, bird-watchers, photographers, writers, filmers and painters! Gardeners will make a bee-line for high-quality nurseries in the neighbourhood and music-lovers from all over the world rave about the historic pipe organs in our village churches. (see: things to do/further information).

On your bike

Easily reached by bike are many charming villages with 12th-19th century churches, stately homes and gardens, nurseries, cosy restaurants and pubs, plus some family favourites such as Zoutkamp harbour, the seal sanctuary at Pieterburen and adventure park Waddenfun in Leens (please check below at ''outdoor activities'' for more information and websites).

The island of Schiermonnikoog

From Lauwersoog harbour (only 20 minutes by car) you can take the 45-minute ferry to the picturesque island of Schiermonnikoog, on the brink of the Wadden Sea and North Sea. This jewel in Holland's crown is practically car-free, (not surprisingly one rents a bike...) offers endless sandy beaches - the widest in Europe! - and makes a perfect day-trip.

Downtown Groningen

Should you prefer city life for a day, visit bustling, lively Groningen. This medieval university city, rightly famous for its Groningen Museum, shopping area and wide range of pubs and restaurants is only 35 minutes away by car, or a little over an hour by bus and train.

And more...

Tour Middag-Humsterland (another World Heritage site!), a region well-known for its beautiful old villages like Ezinge, Feerwerd and most of all Garnwerd, on the Reitdiep river. A little further afield are more eye-catching villages, like Huizinge and Westeremden, nestling between farms and fields; or visit remarkable BlauweStad, a completely new village, literally built in water.

Green shopping

Fluitekruid well-stocked shop in Winsum (12 km), open on Monday afternoons from 13 hrs. and on Tuesdays - Sataturdays, 9-17 hrs.
Markets at Groningen city centre (Groote Markt) on Fridays and Saturdays, 9-17 hrs, several stalls selling organic fruit and veg and cheeses.
* You'll find a list of restaurants (also serving organic food) in the cottage.

Things to do

Introduction to the area

We live in the so-called Wadden Area, a region on the North coast of the Netherlands formed by tidal seas and rivers - reaching far inland - and by man, who tried to conquer the elements first by building dikes and drying muddy waters in order to turn them into arable land and meadows. Monks from the earliest monasteries played an important part in this development, making the area one of the oldest cultured landscapes of Europe, reminding us of the past.

You can read the lie of the land by its dikes and by ''wierden'', manmade early medieval hillocks where dwellings and hamlets were built to be safe from flooding. Winding lanes and roads that still connect these villages were built on river banks, thereby showing us even now where they once flowed. There are some livestock farms here, but most farmers till the fertile soil for crops of wheat, spelt, barley, sugarbeet and seed potatoes. (Fortunely more and more switch to organic agriculture). A unique experience on these tidal shores is ''wadlopen'': hiking at low tide on the outlying salt marshes, mud-flats and sandy ''bottom'' of the Wadden Sea, starting from the village of Pieterburen. Please note this is only possible accompanied by experienced guides.(see below at outdoor activities").

Our top tips

Rent a bike - we'll gladly help you - and cycle along the Wadden dikes enjoying wonderful views of land meeting water, or follow bike route Met mest en vork (fietsroute, named after one of our books!) or download
Stroll on the "kwelders", salty marshes formed just outside the outermost dikes; see and hear nature, and nothing else!
Take a hike if only for a couple of km's - on the famous Pieterpad long distance trail (it starts in the village of Pieterburen, 5 km from here).
Rent a canoe in our own village of Molenrij and paddle along the lovely waterways.
Go for a swim in the lakes of the Lauwersmeer or in the North Sea (at Schiermonnikoog).
Join a guided "wadlopen"-hike see above and outdoor activities"
Visit high-quality nurseries only 5 km or 12 km from Molenrij

Especially for garden-lovers

at 10-30 minutes by car:
Eenrum internationally renowned nursery and garden De Kleine Plantage
Eenrum Arboretum/Noataristoen (tree garden and "the Notary's Garden")
Baflo nursery Kwekerij Brandenburg perennials especially
Pieterburen botanical garden Domies Toen, ("the Vicar's Garden"),one of oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands, beautifully draped around the 15th church of St. Peter
Warffum lovely, informal nursery & tea garden De Beemd, many organic plants
Leens stately home and formal gardens Landgoed Borg Verhildersum
Uithuizen stately home and formal gardens Menkemaborg
Please check opening times and entrance fees on websites!

at 60-90 minutes by car:
Meeden nursery & bric-à-brac Foltz
Suameer nursery Kabbes for unusal and usual plants
Wapserveen organic nursery De Vrolijke Noot, specializing in fruittrees and soft fruit
Wapserveen nursery De Heliant, specializing in plants from the wild
Ruinerwold Het Blauwe Huis biodynamic nursery, specializing in flowers and herbs
Wilhelminaoord nursery Arborealis, small trees and a wide ranges of shrubs
Please check opening times and entrance fees on websites!

Outdoor activities

Pieterburen "wadlopen"-hikes Pieterburen Wadlopen Pieterburen
Pieterburen "wadlopen"-excursions Waddenexcursies
Garmerwolde "wadlopen"-excursions (small groups) Wadlopen met kleine groepen
Lauwersoog cruises on the lakes of het Lauwersmeer Rondvaarten Lauwersmeer
Leens swimming pool Zwembad De Marne
Borough of Het Hogeland hikes in the Wadden Sea area Feel the Waddensea
Lauwersoog Cruises on the Wadden Sea and lake Lauwers Beleef waddenwater

Nature, Art, Culture

Lauwersoog National Park Lauwersmeer Nationaal Park Lauwersmeer
Pieterburen Seal Sanctuary Zeehondencreche Pieterburen
Warfhuizen Art, Frames, Bits and Bobs Nou nog mooier
Molenrij Art Route 99 Route 99
Houwerzijl Tea factory (tea museum and teashop) Theefabriek
Warffum Open-air museum Het Hoogeland
Leens stately home and gardens Landgoed Borg Verhildersum
Uithuizen stately home and gardens Menkemaborg
Groningen Groninger Museum (modern art, special exhibitions, silver)

Further information

Waddenland tips on the area Waddenland Groningen
De Marne Cultuur Information on culture in the borough of De Marne
Groningen Landscapes Groninger Landschap
Groningen Churches Churches and Organs Groninger Kerken
Tourism Groningen Toerisme Groningen
Experience Wadden Beleef de waddennatuur
The Wadden Society (in protection of the Wadden Sea) De Waddenvereniging

12th saddle roof tower of St.Mary's church at Wierum, Wadden area Wadden area, the salt marshes Lovely, unspoilt Lauwersland Lauwersmeergebied, Highland cattle cool off Geese on the wing, crossing salt marshes near the Wadden Sea The Lauwersmeergebied, a haven for birds Sheep in the sunset on a Wadden-dike

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