Royal Frisian – Leeuwarden the European City of Culture 2018


The History has brought many things to be proud of. You will see the historical in a program that is called “The Royal Frisian”. The English name for the typical Frisian horse. Famous names from the past are part of the program, like Escher (one of the World’s most famous graphic artist, famous for his so-called impossible constructions, relativity, his transformationprints and metamorphosis, but also more realistic works), Mata Hari (she was a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who was convicted of being a spy and excecuted in France under charges of espionage for Germany during the World War I) and Lawrence Alma Tadema (a Dutch classical-subject painter of special British denizenship). The Woudagemaal (Lemmer) and the Planetarium (Franeker), the mounds (terps) but also the monastery culture and the Royal family of the Oranjes will be part of the program. All Dutch icons. The Wadden Sea is even listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. With the Dutch Wadden Sea Islands, the 5 Dutch pearls Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog.
Friesland has also a long and internationally recognized watersport tradition, with the specific old (sailing) boats. Every year, in the Nothern summerholidays, you also have the Sneekweek, famous for its “Skûtjesilen” (sailing competition, with 14 old traditional flat bottom freight boats).

Suggested visits for your itinerary – of which we will be glad to be at help! – :

  • Guided walking city tour Leeuwarden( (which was once Royal Place of residence)
  • Fries Museum with exhibitions of Mata Hari, Escher and Lawrence Alma Tadema
  • Porceleyn museum
  • Franeker with its famous Planetrium. In the living room of a lovely Friesian canalside house is the world’s oldest functioning planetarium. This accurately moving model of the solar system was built between 1774 and 1781 by Eise Eisinga.
  • Lemmer “Woudagemaal” . This steam pumping station is the largest (still-functioning) steam pumping station of the World, as also an UNESCO World Herritage. It was build in Rationalism Style by Ir. Dirk Frederik Wouda.
  • “Elfstedentocht” or the “11 Fountaintour”
    Visit the 11 historical cities of the traditional Elfstedentocht. The “Elfstedentocht” is a skatingtour, almost 200 kilometres long, which is held both as a speed skating competition (with 300 contestants) and a leisure tour (with 16,000 skaters). It is leading past all eleven historical cities of the province Friesland. The tour is held at most once a year, only when the natural ice along the entire course is at least 15 centimetres thick. Sometimes on consecutive years, other times with gaps that may exceed 20 years. When the ice is suitable, the tour is announced and starts within 48 hours. The first tour took place at the15th of january 1909 and the last one was at the 4th of januari 1997. In 2018 you can explore the tour not skating, but International artists will build a Fountain in the 11 cities, so you can drive the “11 Fountain tour”.
  • The ‘Afsluitdijk’ (Dam) is the only artwork that can be seen from space. The French company Royal de Luxe brings its gigantic giants to respect this huge artwork. ‘Les Giants’ will be visible on the Dam on the way to Friesland. Nobody knows where they came from, but the Giants will visit Friesland and walk through the friesian countryside.The Frisians are prepared, they have made their own creations to welcome the giants. During the tour of the giants, more people will show up and join: those people are musicians, dancers and artists. This show is a symbolic closure of a major renovation of the dam. A project of the province of Friesland, Noord-Holland and RWS.