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Flag of Appelscha
Location of Appelscha
Country Netherlands Netherlands
Province Friesland Friesland
 • Total c. 5,000

Appelscha (West Frisian: Appelskea) is a village in the municipality of Ooststellingwerf in the province of Friesland, the Netherlands. It has just under 5000 inhabitants.

History and background[edit]

Appelscha is a village of about 490 hectares in size of which 8 hectares consists of water, it was first named in written documents in 1247 as Appels which is the translation of apples. The last part of the name Appelscha has its origin due to the woods around the village. ‘Sche’ or ‘scha’ means woods and was therefore added to the name of the village. It consisted from a few farms surrounding the Boerestreek (what was called high-Appelscha) for centuries,the hamlets Aakinga, Terwisscha and De Bult close by. Appelscha remained a small village, tucked away between sand dunes and wet peat. In 2007, Oude Willem, a small natural area in between Appelscha and Zorgvlied was even chosen as most beautiful place in the Netherlands by readers of HP/De Tijd which is a popular magazine in the Netherlands (Nieuwe Ooststellingwerver, 2007).

Sand and Peat[edit]

Around 1450 dikes were constructed to ensure the acid leakwater from the peat returned to the fields. The old Appelscha suffered much of drifting sand from the dunes. In 1881 people therefore started with the construction of the forest. After 1827 the village extends with the advent of thousands Frisian workers for peat extraction, and the modern village was created. The Social conditions were however, very poor. By the time peat yielded much less than coal, a huge strike broke out (1888). Because of this large immigration of Frisian workers in the nineteenth century, Appelscha became a Frisian-speaking village,in a municipality where otherwise Stellingwarfs was spoken, a dialect of Dutch.

Sanatorium Beatrixoord[edit]

In 1922, the Friesch Volkssanatorium from Joure transferred to Appelscha. Many thousands of patients spent years in the huge forest to try to cure their tuberculosis. Today only the X-ray department of the Sanatorium is left. This is the only tuberculosis museum in the world.

Surroundings and Tourism[edit]

Appelscha is located at the edge of the 61 square kilometre Nationaal Park Drents-Friese Wold which is one of the biggest natural reserves in the Netherlands located on the border of the provinces Friesland and Drenthe. The landscaped forest and the sand dunes present around the village attract many tourists to Appelscha, and became famous in the Netherlands for its natural beauty. For this reason Appelcha provides tourists Alongside the Boerestreek you'll findwith restaurants and , regular markets during weekends and summer along the Boerestreek, which is used to be the touristic centrum of the village. Many other attractions at Tthe Boerestreek also hosted other tourist activities in the past, ppealed to tourists as well, like an amusement park ‘Duinenzathe’ and a miniature park. The amusement park moved to the edge of the village in 1997 after the municipality planned to reorganise the Boerestreek.. The miniature park closed its doors in oktober 2002 after decreasing amounts of visitors after the reorganisation (RTV Drenthe, 2002). Due to its history of a peat producing village, Appelscha is located along the Opsterlandse Compagnonsvaart which is the canal that flows through the village and connects surrounding villages with each other. Nowadays this canal is a popular touristic route for those who own a boat and therefore attracts major amounts of tourists to Appelscha every year. In 2012, 11% of short domestic holidays, and 13% of long domestic holidays by the total amount of Dutch people was spend in the area on the Groningse, Friese, en Drentse sandgrounds which Appelscha is part of (CBS, toerisme en recreatie in 2012). Though, tourists in Appelscha not only spend their holidays solely on their boats. Appelscha is a host for a couple of campings of which RCN De Roggeberg is the largest and most popular. Staying on this camping during the summermonths can be combined with free entrance to the open air swimming pool called ‘Bosbad Appelscha’, situated next to the camping. Bosbad Appelscha is, as its name already reveals, a large pool surrounded by the woods. Swimming in Appelscha is however not the only sports or leisure tourists can enjoy in the village. Since 2007 interested tourists can fully enjoy playing golf on the green of Golf Resort De Hildenberg which consists of nine holes over a total distance of 1944 meters (, Quality Golf Resort De Hildenberg). Tourists demanding more luxury can even rent one of the 129 villas on the property of the golf resort which is again near to Bosbad Appelscha (Hogenboom vakantieparken, Buitenplaats De Hildenberg). Though for the more adventurous ones, Appelscha recently hosts a new kind of activity called ‘Klimbos Appelscha’. This adventure park is located near the Boerestreek, in the middle of the forest where the company ‘Appelscha Outdoor’ developed climbing trails from tree to tree at heights varying from four till 14 meters. Starting from the central platform adventurers taller than 1.40 meter are able to choose from the several trails available with each trail requiring different skills (, Klimbos Appelscha).


Although the present facilities available for tourists seem quite sufficient for such a small village, Appelscha faces a decrease in tourist numbers over de last decade. The touristic centrum, the Boerestreek, after the movement of Duinenzathe and the shutdown of the miniature park, experiences tough times. Though, in the near future the community is planning to improve this harsh situation. This year, a new plan for the reorganisation of the Boerestreek is developed which should encourage tourists to spend their holiday time here again. The new plan’s main idea creates a more natural environment where terraces are more connected to the nature of the forest, making it more attractive for tourists to enjoy a drink or meal at one of the terraces present. Furthermore, Klimbos Appelscha is incorporated into the plan by providing them the opportunity to expand their climbing trails. On the Boerestreek will be a climbing tower in order to create a link between several climbing routes. In doing so, tourists on the terraces and the Boerestreek in general, somehow, will be entertained by the people who are defying the trees (Beune, F. 2013).


In the last days of World War Two, the area was the site of a sharp battle between German forces and the Free French, combined with the Canadian forces.


Appelscha’s inhabitants consists about half man half women. The largest group representing 32% of the population is in the age of 45-64. The smallest age group is in the age of 15–24 years which makes its population age quite old on average. 47% of its inhabitants are married while only 7% is divorced. Another 7% is widowed (CBS, 2012. Cijfers en statistieken over de buurt Appelscha in Ooststellingwerf).

Population • 1954 - 3.331 • 1959 - 3.367 • 1964 - 3.113 • 1969 - 3.333 • 1974 - 3.547 • 2009 - 5.123 Municipality Ooststellingwerf. • 2012 – 5535 (CBS, 2012)


→ Quality Golf Resort De Hildenberg. Retrieved from: Last access: 29.10.2013.

→Beune, F. 2013. Herinrichting Boerestreek Appelscha.

→CBS, 2012. Cijfers en statistieken over de buurt Appelscha in Ooststellingwerf. Retrieved from: Last access: 29.10.2013.

→CBS, 2012. Hoeveel inwoners heeft Appelscha? Retrieved from: Last access: 29.10.2013.

→CBS, 2012. Tourisme en recreatie in 2012. Retrieved from: Last access: 29.10.2013.

→Hogenboom vakantieparken. Buitenplaats De Hildenberg. Retrieved from: Last access: 29.10.2013

→Municipality Ooststellingwerf - Gemeentegids 2009-2010.

→National Park Drents Frisian Forest. Retrieved from: national Park Drents Frisian Forest. Last access: 29.10.2013.

→Nieuwe Ooststellingwerver, 2007. Appelscha nu echt het mooiste stukje van Nederland. Retrieved from: Last access: 19.10.2013.

→RTV Drenthe, 2002. Miniatuurpark Appelscha. Retrieved from: Last access: 19.10.2013.

→ Klimbos Appelscha. Retrieved from: Last access: 29.10.2013.

→Website Association for history Appelscha. Retrieved from: Website Association for history Appelscha. Last access: 29.10.2013.