Leeuwarden Highlights

Leeuwarden-Fryslân European Capital of Culture in 2018

VPRO - Friesland van boven


Follow the trail of the Oranje Nassaus through Friesland!

Palace Hotel Stadhouderlijk Hof

When the Frisii entered into a treaty with the Romans in 12 BC it was impossible for them to imagine how their region consisting of a disorganised collection of Frisian tribes was to develop. In 1498 the freedom of the Frisians came to an end but it also meant the end of the chaos that had existed in their system of government: the German Duke Albrecht of Saxony was appointed hereditary ruler of Friesland by Emperor Maximilian.

Earnewâld - National
Park De Alde Feanen


Earnewâld • www.grouholland.nl

EARNEWÂLD (NL) - Some people have jokingly referred to the ‘De Alde Feanen’ national park, which is located between Leeuwarden and Drachten in Northern Friesland, as the largest amusement park in Europe. However, Henk de Vries, director of the nature protection organisation ‘It Fryske Gea’ (the Frisian landscape), and Henk Dijkstra, who is director of the ‘Frysk Lânboumuseum’ agricultural museum, believe doing so is sacrilege.

Gateway to National Park De Alde Feanen

Grou: Leeuwarden’s Water Park


Grou • www.grouholland.nl

In the summertime, Grou is one of Friesland’s busiest and most pleasant water sports centers. It lies to the south of Leeuwarden, the 2018 European Capital of Culture. The local lake, the Pikmeer, functions as a sort of roundabout, from which you can navigate in all directions. Towards Sneek, for example, or National Park de Alde Feanen, and now also Drachten, the center of which has become accessible byboat, and the Turf (peat) Route.

Frisian castles

From a medieval tower (‘stins’) to a palace (‘state’)

Martena State

The first buildings to be built in Friesland using natural stone or bricks were stone refuge towers, known in Friesland as ‘stinzen’. ‘Stins’ means stone. These squat towers with rounded peaks served as a refuge for their owners, the farming gentry. These people were the rural aristocracy in Friesland, which had no earls or counts before 1500.

Natural stone
The first ‘houses’ in Friesland were made from wood and reeds because of a lack of readily available natural stone in the region. However, churches were built of natural stone, primarily tuff stone from the Eifel mountain range in Germany. The stone was transported to the North of the country along the river IJssel via the towns of Deventer and Kampen.

Publicatiedatum: 2 februari 2015
Reporter: Albert Hendriks - Friesland Holland Nieuwsdienst - www.friesnieuws.nl

Leeuwarden, European Capital of Culture 2018

City by the sea became a royal 'Country city' and international knowledge centre for dairy products and water technology

De Oldehove

Leeuwarden, in Frisian ‘Ljouwert’, European Capital of Culture in 2018, is since 1524 the capital of Friesland. The city has more than 500 monuments worthy of seeing and has always had distinguished and relative wealthy residents. The rich and diverse cultural history is well preserved and is to be found in the city centre and in museums such as the Fries Museum (Frisian Museum) and the Princessehof. Leeuwarden (108,000 inhabitants) is in the 21st century widely known throughout the entire world, for example, as far away as China, and as a hub for dairy products and water technology enjoys its illustrious reputation with companies and institutes such as Friesland-Campina and Wetsus.

Leeuwarden is also home to the Royal House of Orange-Nassau and the world-famous spy, Mata Hari. The Frisian Royal Family of Nassau are the forebears of the King of the Netherlands, William-Alexander. To strengthen his connection to Leeuwarden and to also underline this in a sporting sense: on February 26, 1986, he took part In the Elfstedentocht (Eleven cities ice skating tour) under the pseudonym W.A. van Buren. The Frisian capital is the start and finishing point of this 200 km journey along eleven Frisian cities, that was skated for the first time in 1909. The Elfsteden-route is now the most popular tourist cycle route in the Netherlands. Through global warming, that has allowed the winters in Friesland to be less severe, the route can be cycled during this season but rarely be covered on skates. For this it has to substantially freeze for a period of 14 days. The last Elfstedentocht on skates took place on January 4, 1997.