Located in the northern province of Friesland in The Netherlands, is the city of Leeuwarden. This charming town is a cultural hub and is filled with quaint cobblestone streets; historic buildings and canals that run throughout the city. The heart of Leeuwarden is dotted with Dutch houses from the 17th century, and the relaxing center is surrounded by water. It has laidback energy due to being a university town, and the shops reflect the contrast between old and new architecture. The history, landmarks, and events make Leeuwarden a popular city to visit and absorb Dutch culture.
Leeuwarden is an area that has a long history, and has been inhabited since the 10th century; however, in 1435 it was enfranchised as the main economic hub of Friesland. In 1504 the city became the provincial capital and a central government and judiciary were established. A prominent historical period for Leeuwarden was during the extensive occupation during the Second World War by the Nazis. In a heroic event, which went against direct orders the allied powers of the Royal Canadian Dragoons attacked and drove out the Germans. Throughout the war, tragically the Jewish population was deported and exterminated. These horrible events lefts its mark on many towns in Europe that were occupied by Germany, and for Leeuwarden the Jewish community was not the same after the war. Today, the town of Leeuwarden is an economic hub in the Netherlands and due to its popularity 2018 it was awarded the European Capital of Culture.
As the capital of Friesland, Leeuwarden is filled with landmarks and attractions due to its rich history. There are beautiful monuments and buildings styled in array of architectures, which adds to the character of the town. It is known for its old historic center that is filled with a blend of modern and traditional terraces that overlook the canals. Adorned with charm and buildings that date back to the Dutch golden age of the 17th century it is a picturesque area that is home to many attractions. Some of the popular places to visit in Leeuwarden are the Dutch Ceramic Museum, Nature Museum, Fries Museum, and the Museum De Grutterswinkel. The Dutch Ceramic Museum is located in a grand palace from the 1600’s and within the walls of the building are exhibits that feature ceramics that date back to the 3rd century BC. Throughout the halls there is also a collection of European artwork that can be admired. The Nature Museum is also housed in an old historic building that is from the Golden Dutch Era and the institution displays exhibits that teach about local natural, which includes animals, birds, trees, and plants.
One of the main features is a huge whale skeleton discovered in the 1990’s, which shows visitors the size of these ocean mammals. The unique culture of Friesland can be discovered in the Fries Museum, collections teach visitors about the traditions and the language of Frisian, which is more similar to old English than to Dutch. The collections housed here are home to objects that range from modern art to rare archeological finds; there are also a number of rotating exhibitions that are featured in the museum. One of the favorite spots to visit in Leeuwarden is the Museum De Grutterswinkel, which is an old grocery story that opened in 1901. It closed down1973 but was reopened in 1992 as a heritage site that showcases the shop in its original splendor. The authentic grocery store filled with antiques also serves as popular place to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee. Leeuwarden has a charming and friendly atmosphere that welcomes all visitors to explore its streets, its historic buildings, museums, shopping center, cafes, and restaurants.
The laid-back university town is home to a variety of events that happen throughout the year. There are hundreds of festivals, shows, performances, and concerts that take place in Leeuwarden. One of the most popular events is the Oranjewoud festival, which invites people to listen to musicians from all over the world that gather together to play different arrangements of classic music. It is unique because musicians play on diverse locations such as a country house, an underground bunker, or even in the middle of lush gardens. With a variety of events and museums, the capital of Friesland has become a beloved tourist spot that welcomes everyone to enjoy the charm and culture of the quaint city of Leeuwarden.