Terps in Groningen

Terps are artificial hillocks made by human hands. The Het Hoogeland open-air museum in Warffum shows a terp village in its original environment. Surrounded by field, the original character of this village in enhanced by ancient church paths between the buildings on the museum grounds.

Between 500 BC and 1000 AD, villages developed on the Groningen terps. After the Wadden Coast was dyked in, terps became redundant and some were levelled off. Where terps were not levelled off, in many cases the village church was built on the highest point of the terp.

In the area south of the Wadden sea which is now the Groningen mainland, used to be Frisian islands. Niehove was the main village of the Humsterland Frisian island. The village has retained its original structure and is an important place of interest for which it was crowned the Village of Tradition.

Museum Wierdenland

Wierdenland (Terp Area) museum is located on the outskirts of the terp village of Ezinge, and provides information about the history of the archaeological excavations carried out by Albert Eggen van Griffen around 1930. A walk through the village provides a good image of a village on a terp.


The Reitdiepdal (valley) is Europe’s oldest man-made landscape: water management, an age-old Dutch profession, has clearly left its traces here. The Drenthe Hunze river once flowed here, connecting the city of Groningen to the sea. As such a narrow, meandering river was difficult to sail, during the 17th century it was decided to partially straighten it. The Hunze is now called the Reitdiep. Fortunately, most old twists of the former Hunze remained.


People already lived on the Eenum terp in 500 BC. The Roman church on the terp dates from the 12th century and has an Arp Schnitger organ from 1703. Just outside of the village is one of the highest terps in Groningen, the Eenumerhoogte.

Museum het Hoogeland

Het Hoogeland open-air museum shows a terp village in its original environs. Surrounded by field that have been there for centuries, the original character of the village is intensified by the old church paths between the dwellings on the museum grounds. With twenty buildings in het heart of Warffum, Het Hoogeland open-air museum shows how people used to live and work in the countryside a century ago.

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