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Interessengemeinschaft "Deutsche Fehnstraße e.V."
Friesenstr. 34-36
26789 Leer

German Fen Route
Cycling sans frontières, with the wind at your back

People loading a tractor with freshly harvested yarrow

The German Fen Route is a 163 kilometre circular tourist route located in north-west Germany, roughly 65 kilometres south of the North Sea coast. It passes through what used to be tracts of peat marshland and fen colonies. Fen drainage canals, working locks and the region's typical bascule bridges, ancient brick-built churches and imposing windmills line the route. The word fen is of Germanic origin and in this area of Germany is associated with a particular method of cultivation in use during the 17th century that involved digging canals and secondary channels to drain areas of marshland. Several places along the route still retain the word "fehn" as part of their name.

Three cyclists on the Fen Route

No matter what your age or sex, if you are a keen cyclist this is the place for you. The countryside is so flat here that people joke about being able to see in the morning who is coming for afternoon tea. The magnificent views stretching all the way to the horizon awaken feelings of space, freedom and grandeur. "Moin, Moin" is a typical north-west German greeting that you will hear over and over again as you explore the expanses of East Friesland fen country by bike. Narrow roads across fields and meadows and along the dikes evoke the feeling of being alone amid nature in a perfect world of woolly white sheep grazing, birds circling overhead and clouds scudding along behind them. There are leisurely, level cycle trails criss-crossing the whole of this countryside where the original character of the region remains very well preserved, even today. Cyclists who would rather not be completely worn out after a hard day's ride would be well advised to cycle from west to east. As the sea breeze usually blows from a westerly direction, it is a good idea to use the tail wind to advantage. If the wind really is too strong, simply get off your bike and take a break.

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Basic information

  • Length
  • Themes
    Marshland, sandy heathland, bog, fen houses, nature, sport

Highlights in brief

  • Apen
    St. Nicholas Church
  • Wiesmoor
    "East Friesland's Flower Bed", museum, lock, East Friesland's only water organ
  • Saterland
    Dutch gallery windmills
  • Moormerland
    Boekzeteler Meer (fenland), Veenhusen nature conservation area, abbey cemetery
  • Leer
    Trading/harbour town, Leda floodgate, town hall, museum
  • Near Leer
    Mitling-Mark windmills and "Grannie's Kitchen" museum
  • Jümme
    Stickhausen Castle
  • Papenburg
    Shipbuilding town, shipbuilding yard specialising in large ferries, Germany's biggest fen colony
  • Elisabethfehn
    Marshland and fen museum, Germany's only navigable fen canal
  • Westgrossefehn
    Eiland Fen Museum