There's lots to discover

More bicycles than inhabitants

Cycling in the Northwest is more than a means of transportation: it's a way of life. That is proven by the large number of Dutch-style bicycles, which demand an upright riding position. In larger towns and cities - in particular, those with a high proportion of students, people depend on bicycles to get around. It is therefore no wonder that there are actually more bicycles in the city of Oldenburg than there are inhabitants. No matter whether they are young or old, heading for the office, to school or to the market: almost everyone here is a pedal pusher. Moreover, the topography of the Northwest is perfectly suited to biking tours. On the "flat" land there are scarcely any obstacles to overcome, although there is always a headwind to deal with.

Dedicated cycling tours can unleash the significant potential contained in cycle tourism as it grows in importnace (including in economic terms). The best and most extensive routes are the Ammerlandroute, the Frisian Army Way, the Hunte Way, the German Fehnroute or the Cycle Path along the River Weser.

Neighbors and friends

Just 130 kilometers from Oldenburg is the youngest city in the Netherlands, winner of the 2005 award for "Best downtown area in the Netherlands". That city is Groningen. This university city is worth a visit for more than just the traditional "Bloemetjesmarkt" (Flower Fair): many options for Sunday shopping, the many cultural offerings (first among which is the Museum Island) and cultural specialities such as "Pannekoekschips" mean that a day trip is not enough to make the most from a visit.

Whether by bus or by train, it's quick and easy to take a trip into a different culture from your base in the Northwest. The narrow streets of the second largest city in the northern Netherlands contrast noticeably with the wide open spaces of northern Germany. The best way to discover them is in typically Dutch style: by bicycle, as in the Netherlands there are twice as many bikes as there are cars. Nevertheless, the many canals in Groningen are an ideal opportunity to discover the city and its surroundings. A new, even faster rail link into the Northwest is already being planned.

Active on and in the water

When discussing water in relation to the Northwest, people's thoughts inevitably turn at first to the North Sea, but the rivers that flow into the sea are every bit as beautiful. The most famous river is the Weser, which is ideal for extended river tours with castles and fortresses along its banks. But the river which gives the Emsland its name also has a surrounding landscape to be proud of. The Ems rises in Senne and flows to Emden on the North Sea coast.

The standing bodies of water in the Northwest are also something special: framed by the Damme Mountains and the Steinweder Berg is the Dümmer, Lower Saxony's second largest inland lake. It is the central focus point of the Dümmer Park, nestled in a unique lowland moor and heath landscape. The extensive network of cycle paths provides opportunities for leisure activities to young and old alike. Somewhat smaller yet just as beautiful is Zwischenahner Lake in the region around Oldenburg. It will make every water sports enthusiast's heart beat faster, as everything is possible here, from surfing to sailing.