Terpen and wierden land, a story in development

The project


The clay grounds in the northern part of the Netherlands. Around 600 BC, people started to build earth mounds in this area, so-called ‘terpen (terps)’ and ‘wierden’.  These elevated dwelling mounds are still a typical feature of the northern-Dutch coastal landscape.

Terpen- and wierden land, a story in development is a joint project of various organizations, including Landschapsbeheer (landscape conservation management) Groningen, Landschapsbeheer Friesland, the Research Centre for Archeology of the Terpen- and wierden region (the Terp Centre) of the University of Groningen and Museum Wierdenland, which is a partner of the Terp Centre. They initiated this project to make optimal use of the opportunities offered by the history of the Terpen- and wierden landscape.

The project group consists of researchers Jeroen Wiersma and Mans Schepers (RuG), project leaders Oscar Borsen (LBF) and Geert Schoemakers (LBG) and Daniëlle Lokin, the director of Museum Wierdenland. They are in close collaboration with residents and entrepreneurs from the area. These groups will join forces to discover traces of the early history of these villages and their surrounding areas. The basic idea of the project is that every village has its own history and unique story to tell. The project aims to make these stories visible and experienceable. The initiators want to draw a connection between these stories, so that the larger narrative of the entire region can be used as a tool to give the area an economic boost and improve the quality of the landscape.

Village-oriented approachOpening Museum Wierdenland-21

Terpen and wierden land, a story in development has a programmatic structure, which means that the project is carried out in various phases. During the first phase, the initiators will get to work in and together with six villages. Three of them lie in Friesland and the other three are part of the province of Groningen. In these villages, archeologists and landscape experts of the RuG will search for traces of the past, with the help of local residents.

In addition, each village will form a mixed working group. The working group monitors what is needed to restore, maintain and develop characteristic elements of the landscape. This adds a visual element to the village’s history. The working groups will also brainstorm about ways in which these village narratives can be told en what is needed to welcome visitors to share in these stories. Things to be taken into consideration here are for instance the touristic infrastructure and recreational facilities. Want to help?

Expositie, Zeedijk-WEB-Method

The village will not only be involved in the research and the implementation of ideas, but also in the execution of restoration- and development measures. In this sense, the project will work on a method in which village residents collaborate actively in the maintenance and restoration of the quality of the landscape and living environment. Thanks to this methodology, the village receives an instrument to further build on that quality in the future. At the same time, the method is the basis for the next phase of the project terpen- and wierden land, a story in development.

Future perspective

An ultimate goal is to implement the proven method for the entire Wadden coast region by 2022, in order to ensure the continued existence and development of the terps that carry a huge significance for the perception and identity of the terpen- and wierden land. Strong regional marketing, exhibitions and information distribution plus an appealing educational program, will ensure that residents and visitors become curious about the Terpen- and wierden region and wish to explore this fascinating landscape further.

Financial contributorsLeader
Terpen- and wierden land, a story in development is enabled by the support of the provinces of Groningen and Friesland and the municipalities of De Marne, Eemsmond en Delfzijl and Leader.



  • Terpen- and wierden land, a story in development.