Leeuwarden in Friesland

Monday, 16 April 2018 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: European Union, General, European Capital of Culture

© panoramio.com - L-BBE/cc-by-3.0

© panoramio.com – L-BBE/cc-by-3.0

Leeuwarden is a city and municipality with a population of 108,000 in Friesland in the Netherlands. It is the provincial capital of the States of Friesland. The Elfstedentocht (Eleven Cities Tour), an ice skating tour of eleven cities in Friesland, started and finished in Leeuwarden.

The region has been continuously inhabited since the 10th century. It came to be known as Leeuwarden in the early 9th century AD and was granted city privileges in 1435. It is the main economic hub of Friesland, situated in a green and water-rich environment. Leeuwarden is a former royal residence and has a historic city center, many historically relevant buildings, and a large shopping center with squares and restaurants. Leeuwarden was awarded the title European Capital of Culture for 2018, together with Valletta on Malta.

© panoramio.com - L-BBE/cc-by-3.0 Willemskade and Zuiderstadsgracht © Wutsje/cc-by-sa-3.0 Museumhaven Leeuwarden © Bouwe Brouwer/cc-by-sa-3.0 Voorstreek with St. Bonifatius Church © Bouwe Brouwer/cc-by-sa-3.0 © panoramio.com - L-BBE/cc-by-3.0 Former weigh house © C messier/cc-by-sa-4.0 Oldehove © C messier/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Voorstreek with St. Bonifatius Church © Bouwe Brouwer/cc-by-sa-3.0
The oldest remains of houses date back to the 2nd century AD in the Roman era and were discovered during an excavation near the Oldehove. Inhabited continuously since the 10th century, the city’s first reference as a population center is in German sources from 1285, and records exist of city privileges granted in 1435. Situated along the Middelzee, it was active center of maritime trade until the waterway silted-up in the 15th century. On Saturday 19 October 2013, a fire broke out in a clothes shop on a busy pedestrian street. The fire started late in the afternoon and burned through the night, destroying five shops and eleven flats. The only casualty was a 24-year-old man who was living in one of the flats. The birthplace of Mata Hari was at first thought to be destroyed, but survived, albeit with considerable smoke and water damage.

Well-known buildings in the city center include the Kanselarij (former chancellery), the Stadhouderlijk hof (former residence of the stadtholders of Friesland), the Waag (old trade center), Saint Boniface church (an important part of the neogothic movement), and the leaning unfinished church, Oldehove. The tallest building in the city is the 114-metre (374 ft) Achmeatoren (Achmea insurance tower), built in 2001 and designed by Abe Bonnema – who also designed the second-tallest building, Averotoren at 77 m (253 ft). The historic train station was built in 1863. Leeuwarden is also the site of the country’s largest cattle market. On Ascension Day, the largest flower market in the Netherlands, Bloemenmarkt, is also held there. Built in 1896, the Froskepôlemolen is the last surviving windmill to have stood in Leeuwarden. The remains of the Cammingha-Buurstermolen were demolished in 2000. The bases of two other windmills, Wielinga-Stam and De Haan also survive. The Slauerhoffbrug is a fully automatic bascule bridge named after Jan Jacob Slauerhoff. It uses two arms to swing a section of road in and out of place within the road itself. This movable bridge is also known as the ‘Flying’ Drawbridge. One of the main designers is Emile Asari.

Read more on Leeuwarden, holland.com – Leeuwarden, Wikivoyage Leeuwarden and Wikipedia Leeuwarden (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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