Above the city of Groningen, we find Middag-Humsterland National Landscape, the oldest cultivated land in the Netherlands. Excavations findings have been found to date back to 500 B.C., revealing that Middag-Humsterland has been inhabited for many centuries. The landscape looked completely different in earlier times.
A thousand years ago, Middag and Humsterland were two islands in the Lauwers Sea. The water slowly retreated, wetlands dried up and the islands were swallowed up in the landscape. The silted up water channels can be recognized today as twisting roads or winding ditches in the landscape.
The farmland of Groningen
The Middag-Humsterland National Landscape is a farmland full of fields, ditches and ancient villages. The vast landscape provides the panoramic views that were also very popular among the painters of the artist collective De Ploeg in the early nineteenth century. In the Groninger Museum you can find many paintings of the Middag-Humsterland landscape, but it's best to experience the vast landscape for yourself.
If you are hiking or cycling through Middag-Humsterland, it is impossible to escape the numerous historical monuments. One of the highlights is the 12th century Cistercian monastery at Aduard, which also has a museum explaining the history of the building. Other attractions include the Romanesque churches, traditional farms and many picturesque villages. The villages in this area are all built on a mound (against flooding) and are therefore called "wierdendorpen".
Biking and hiking in the Far North
Middag Humsterland is a wonderful area to explore and take in the fresh air. The facilities for cyclists and hikers are in prime condition. There is a range of shorter and longer trips to choose from, or you can follow the famous Pieterpad. Don't count on any hills or mountains here. The only resistance you can expect to meet is the wind. Accommodations in Middag-Humsterland range from hotels to farmhouses, and it is a culinary delight to dine at Herberg Onder de Linden.