All energy in It Damshûs


NIJ BEETS The energy transition will be a topical theme in the coming years. This was already the case in Nij Beets more than a hundred years ago, when petroleum and coal displaced the peat mined there. This peat extraction is inextricably linked to the early history of Nij Beets and the surrounding area. With all the social conditions and abuse that came with it: The great poverty among the workers, the poor living conditions, the forced purchases, alcohol abuse. This history (1860-1920) comes to life in the open-air museum It Damshûs. With furnished workers’ housing, work sheds and the peat manager’s bar-cum-shop.

The conditions in the peatlands proved to be a good breeding ground for great tension and social unrest. At the end of the nineteenth century, the socialist Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis condemned the appalling poverty at the national level and made peat workers aware of the need to stand up for their rights. This part of Fryslân therefore played an important role in the rise of socialism. The role of pastor Van der Brugghen was also important. During his so-called ‘snart sermons’ in the tree emergency church, he provided snark to promote church attendance. ‘It Houten Himeltsje’ has been recreated in full size on the museum grounds.

The peat also played a major role in the landscape design of the area. In the museum area, the development of the landscape before and after the peat is clearly visible.

The Suder pumping station

When cultivating the landscape after peat extraction, pumping stations were essential to pump water to the higher canals. Built in 1924 and still operating, Sudergemaal is one of the oldest electric pumping stations in Fryslân. A beautiful piece of industrial heritage.

The Damshûs Frilandsmuseum is a pleasant surprise for those who have never been there. A pearl unknown to many, often so close. And a museum where more than a hundred volunteers take care of the organization.

Frilandmuseum It Damshûs, Domela Nieuwenhuisweg 59B Nij Beets. 0512-46 15 99 (reservation 06-8369 4095).

Discover Nij Beets and surroundings

boat trips

From It Damshûs, volunteers with two boats, Turfbok and ‘de Snikke’ organize boat trips to the surrounding nature reserves. For example, to Kraenlannen, where a guide is ready for a walk through the area, followed by a snack in the local cozy tavern. The distance between the museum and Sudergemaalet can also be easily bridged by boat.

Group meetings

It Damshûs is a great place for a fun day with family or friends, with sixty seats in the spacious entrance building. Walk through the grounds, enjoy the beautiful peat landscape, take time to identify plants, get a taste of culture at the cinema, the tractor cabin or the peat boss’s shop or enjoy a boat trip. A natural combination of culture and landscape.

Theme days

It Damshûs regularly organizes activities on the museum grounds. A good example is the annual Boartersdei, where children have ‘old fashioned’ non-digital fun. Or Stoppeldei, which focuses on the traditional harvest. It Damshûs likes to offer a platform for activities around social and regional themes from then and now.

The Suder pumping station

The sudergeamalet regularly starts the engines. The water is then pumped around with the thunder. Inside works a fine example of historic technology, maintained by volunteers. Full of shiny copper work and cool pumps.

Hiking trails
The walking and cycling route Domela’s Paad (25 km) leads from Nij Beets past Tijnje, Ulesprong and Oud Beets. The route also includes a self-service chain ferry between Nij Beets and Tijnje. The Rûntsje Ald Djip hiking trail (11 or 16 km) starts at It Damshûs. Rink van der Velde Kuier (6 km) through the Kraanlannen nature reserve is named after the famous Frisian author. All routes can be found at

Polder main channel
Nij Beets is located on the Polderhoofdkanaal, which was dug in 1875. The canal served for water management in the large peat polder. It was closed to shipping in the 1960s. Decades of planning led to the re-opening of the canal to pleasure craft in 2014. It has since formed a better connection between the Frisian Lake District and the Turf route.

roll call master
De Appèlmeester has been located on Domela Nieuwenhuisweg since 1988. The statue is modeled after the figure of Jan Hankel, strike leader of the great peat strikes of 1890 in Nij Beets. The statue symbolizes the social struggle that took place at that time.

Swimming pool De Blauwe Kamp
Sand was needed for the construction of the sports field. For this purpose, a hole was dug at Blauwe Kampwei and the swimming pool was simply created from it. Many adjustments and renovations have been made over the years.

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