Thomas Ansell ~ Flying Frisians: the curious sport of Fierljeppen

If you’re passing through Friesland (or a couple of other regions in the Netherlands) this summer and see someone flying through the air on a pole, don’t worry: you’re just seeing Fierljeppen.

Following up from our recent piece on the Frisian sport of Kaatsen– handball – we felt it was only right to turn our attention to another distinctly Frisian activity, namely the sport that sees hundreds of people floating gracefully through the air on top of a pole: Fierljeppen.

The game can be quite well summarised by breaking down its name: in West Frisian, “fier”means “far”, and “ljeppen” means “leaping”. In essence, it is a bit like the Pole Vault, but instead of jumping over a bar and on to a large crash mat, you jump over waterways in Friesland.

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