The order that Prince Willem of Orange issued on 7 April 1581 was one that Dokkum continues to benefit from to this day. The Prince wanted Dokkum to be surrounded by hexagonal fortifications. Six projecting fortifications, a canal 24 metres wide and ramparts more than five metres high were meant to protect the town from its enemies. As it turned out, Dokkum was never attacked.
And good thing too! Now the town’s perfect fortifications are enjoyed daily by locals and visitors alike. Th 2.4-kilometre walk around the fortifications is a popular activity, with sights such as the Zeldenrust and De Hoop windmills, the four town gates, 19th-century canons and spectacular views.
This section is known as Baantjebolwerk. The Zeldenrust windmill here was built as a corn and chaff mill in 1862. The next section is known as Zuiderbolwerk. The De Hoop windmill there was built as a corn mill in 1849. These monumental windmills are both very picturesque. If you want a photo, the best angle is from the other side of the water. If you happen to be outside the city walls at 21:50, you may hear the bells ringing. In earlier times, the sound of the bells reminded people, “You have just 10 minutes to enter the town! The town gates are about to close!”