In 1825, Delfzijl was one of the last Dutch cities that was granted privileges. The name Delfzijl was first mentioned in a document from 1303, and was derived from ‘zijl’, meaning sluice. ‘In the Delf’ refers to the former name of the Damsterdiep canal.
Originally there were three zijlen (sluices) in the Delf. People quickly took up residence at these sluices once a lockkeeper was appointed; this heralded the development of the current Delfzijl.
These people, however, were not the first inhabitants of the area currently known as Delfzijl. In 1982 a megalith was found under the Heveskesklooster artificial dwelling hill east of Delfzijl, indicating that people have lived in this area since early times. From the dyke it can be clearly seen that over recent decades the city has developed into a main industrial port.
‘A round of Delfzijl’, 25 km
Signposting via bicycle junctions 87-85-87-83-79-26-66-99-98-28-27-23-25-85-87
International Dollard Route
Delfzijl is part of the international Dollard route. This 300-km-long bicycle route traverses the province of Groningen and the adjoining Rheiderland, Ostfriesland, Germany. The bicycle route passes through various idyllic villages and the panoramic polder landscape that was reclaimed from the sea in a century-long battle against the water. The route is signposted. The crossing from Delfzijl to Emden and Ditzum in Germany is part of the Dollard Route. Go to www.dollardroute.de and www.borkumlijn.nl for more information.
‘Waterways and sluices’ trail, circa 16 km
Signposting via junctions of the Waddenwandelen Startpunt near Eemshotel: (junction 70) 70-61-60-30-40-70