The capital of Friesland, Leeuwarden, was elected, together with Valletta, the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2018. This means that the city will have a full schedule this year, with many cultural events. The events can be checked here. Interested already in how to get there? Check this article regarding the public transport in The Netherlands!
The city center is close by the train station and the first touristic attraction is the Fries museum. Friesland is a province in The Netherlands, but, more than this, is unique by the fact that it has it’s own language and traditions. Only for this, the museum should be a must on each traveler’s list. The information is offered in a interactive way, watching movies or playing games – methods attracting young and old, Frisian, Dutch or international. The official website and the exhibitions can be found here.
Not far from the Fries museum, the shopping streets of the city start. As in each Dutch city, the center will be crowded by small shops, family businesses and capitalist stores. Fundamental in each Dutch town, De Waag building is located in the heart of the shopping area. More than 500 years old, the building is, nowadays, a lunchroom. In front of it, a statue still reminds of the period in which dairy products used to be weighted here.
Maybe not everybody heard about Leeuwarden, but, for sure, everyone knows who Mata Hari was. The statue of the mysterious dancer is on Korfmakerspijp bridge, marking her birthplace. It is not easy to identify the house, lost between small stores, but the big pipe in the middle of the bridge will also capture your attention. On the canal you will also see one of the smallest houses in the country.
If the streets are somehow large until this point, passing in the older part of the center it will be easy to get lost on the small, paved streets. More museums are established in this part and beautiful houses are inviting you to admire the elegance with which the homes are decorated. Impressive and old buildings are to be discovered on each street, making each tourist dreaming of living in the area.
Getting lost on the streets is more fun in Leeuwarden as you can spot different street-art work on special corners. The work is so important that multiple tourist offices offer walking tours. But you are free to discover them yourself.
Eating will not be an issue in Leeuwarden. Being the capital of the province, it has many options for each pocket. One of the popular places is Grand-Cafe De Walrus, which offers Dutch and international menu. The interior is wooden decorated and has a special antique atmosphere. But the laughs of the locals are invading each corner, making the place a vivid one.
If you are traveling in The Netherlands, you are exhausted of crowds and a too international place, Leeuwarden is another great place to visit. And don’t forget to visit the oldest functional planetarium from Franeker, only 15 minutes away with the train!