The intriguing name Pingjumer Gouden Halsband refers to the 1000 -year old ring dike that was built to protect the village of Pingjum from the water in the Marne estuary.
Flood waters flowed into this channel, at one time connecting Hanzestad Bolsward with the open sea, freely and in the Middle Ages a complex dike system was established, one of the oldest in the Netherlands. This dike system protected the area behind it from flooding, even in early February of 1825 when the Frisian sea dikes burst during a heavy western storm.
From that time on the focus was on protection against the sea water and the sea dikes, so inland dikes such as Pingjumer Gulden Halsband lost their water defence function. In 1892 the provincial government of Friesland decided to end the Pingjumer Gulden Halsband's function as protection against the sea.
But it's still easy to see how the Frisian Wadden coast was a tidal landscape openly connected to the sea until the early Middle Ages. It was a soggy labyrinth of gullies, marshes and swamp forests. The first pioneers in this ruthless landscape lived in hill dwellings, often on marshes or elevated embankments along channels such as the Marne.
Experience the cultural landscape
Luckily a large portion of the `necklace` has remained intact and is easily accessible. Among others, five active villages (Arum, Kimswerd, Pingjum, Witmarsum and Zurich) have joined forces to ensure that this centuries-old cultural landscape is attractive and accessible to visitors.
No matter how you look at it, this north-western part of the Wadden coast with its peaceful, open spaces and rich cultural history is always a wonderful place. Did you know it is also the birthplace of the Baptist church? The church now has 1.3 million members worldwide and its founder Menno Simons was born in Witmarsum in 1496. Another famous son of the area is Pier Gerlofs Donia alias Grutte Pier, the legendary Frisian freedom fighter born 16 years earlier in Kimswerd.