Nature & Outdoor Activities

German Fen Route – a route with a view for everyone

Papenburg: Ship in a sea port ©Lookphotos (Christian Bäck)

The loop spanning more than 170 kilometres and starting and ending in Papenburg is ideal for a leisurely bike ride through the green plains in the area near the border between Germany and the Netherlands, a canal-based sailing adventure or a relaxed car journey.

The German Fen Route runs between Papenburg in the south and Aurich in the north, with the district of Ammerland to the east and the River Ems forming a natural boundary to the west. Navigable fen canals (Wieken) with locks and bascule bridges, meadows, hedgerows, splendid gallery windmills and quaint fenland villages can be seen along the way. The route takes its name from the Dutch word "fehn" meaning "fen", which dates back to a method of cultivation used in the 16th and 17th centuries to dig up canals to drain areas of marshland.

The countryside is dotted with embankments, meadows, nature reserves, waterways and a spectacular view all the way to the horizon. Small museums tell the eventful tales of moor settlers and sailors and showcase East Frisian customs and traditions. Seafaring and ship building remain important industries in this region, as demonstrated by the charming, vibrant ports of Leer and Papenburg.

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