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Leeuwarden municipality
Flag of the municipality of Leeuwarden
Coat of arms of the municipality of Leeuwarden
coat of arms
province Fryslân Fryslân
mayor Sybrand van Haersma Buma ( CDA )
Seat of the municipality Leeuwarden
 - land
 - water
170.23  km 2
154.41 km 2
15.82 km 2
CBS code 0080
Residents 122,983 (Jan 31, 2019)
Population density 722 inhabitants / km 2
Coordinates 53 ° 12 '  N , 5 ° 48'  E Coordinates: 53 ° 12 '  N , 5 ° 48'  E
height m NAP
Important traffic route A31 A32 N31 N32 N355 N357
prefix 058
Postcodes 8495, 8901-8903, 8911-8919, 8921-8927, 8931-8939, 8941, 9001, 9003-9009, 9011, 9051, 9053-9057, 9071, 9079, 9081-9089
Website Homepage of Leeuwarden
Leeuwarden locator map municipality NL 2018.png
Template: Infobox location in the Netherlands / maintenance / map
View over the city from the Achmea tower
View over the city from the Achmea towerTemplate: Infobox location in the Netherlands / maintenance / picture 1

Leeuwarden [ ˈleːu̯ˌʋɑrdə (n) ] ( listen ? / I ) ( West Frisian Ljouwert ( listen ? / I )) is a city in the Dutch province of Friesland and the administrative seat of the province. In 2018 Leeuwarden was together with Valletta ( Malta ) the European Capital of Culture. Audio file / audio sample Audio file / audio sample


Leeuwarden is located in the province of Friesland in the north of the Netherlands .


The area has been settled at least since the 10th century. Recent excavations may show the remains of dwellings from the 2nd century.

Originally there were three terpene ( mounds ), whereupon the three villages Oldehove , Nijehove and Hoek were. In the 14th and 15th centuries they grew into the new city of Leeuwarden. The city received city ​​rights in 1435 . Due to its location on the Middelzee, a bay in the Wadden Sea , Leeuwarden was a busy trading center until the waterway dried up in the 15th century. After that, the city only had regional importance as a cattle market in the surrounding meadow areas and, after it had submitted to Albrecht of Saxony in 1498 and recognized him as the heir of Friesland, as the administrative center of Friesland.

Around 1600 Leeuwarden was temporarily a large city with 15,000 inhabitants, even under the conditions at the time. Leeuwarden was the seat of the governor of the province of Friesland, one of the seven provinces of the Republic of the Netherlands , from the 16th century . Unlike the five other districts, Friesland and Groningen had their own governors . One of them was Johann Wilhelm Friso von Nassau-Dietz , who was followed by his widow Marie Luise von Hessen-Kassel after his early accidental death in 1711 . This princess, very popular with the Frisians and known as Marijke Meu (Aunt Maria), bought a large house in the city in 1731, which has since been called the Princessehof. Marijke Meu collected precious porcelain; Her collection is still in the possession of the Princessehof Ceramic Museum , which is located in the same building.

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, Leeuwarden flourished again when it was connected to the railway network (around 1868). In 1901 the city had 32,203 inhabitants.

Voorstreek with tower of St. Boniface Church

During the Second World War , the city was occupied by the German Wehrmacht from 1940 until it was captured by the Royal Canadian Dragoons on April 15, 1945 .


The name Leeuwarden was first mentioned in the early 9th century. However, there is great uncertainty about the name, of which over 200 spelling variants are known. Leeuwarden ( Dutch ), Liwwadden ( city ​​Frisian ) and Ljouwert ( West Frisian ) are still in use today .

The second component -warden is the Dutch-Frisian name for a terp . The first syllable can be interpreted as leeu- or leeuw- , Dutch for “lion”. This interpretation is supported by some scholars with reference to the city ​​coat of arms . But there is no w in the name. Other researchers are of the opinion that the name comes from the prefix leeu- , a falsification of luw- meaning “lee”, “protected from water”, or from lee- meaning “water cycle”. A mutilated personal name is also considered a possible origin.


Leeuwarden is the economic center of the province of Friesland . Numerous jobs in Friesland are located in Leeuwarden. In addition, Leeuwarden is one of the largest service cities with u. a. many financial service providers, government agencies and government institutions. Tourism is also an important pillar. Industrial products in Leeuwarden include clothing, rayon, linen fabrics, machines and food.


The city is on the German-Dutch holiday route Oranier Route . In the vicinity of Leeuwarden are the motorways A32 towards Heerenveen and Zwolle , and A31 to the final dike / A7 to Den Helder and Amsterdam .

Canals connect the city's port with Groningen (via the Langdeel connection to the Prinses-Margriet Canal ) and Harlingen (Van Harinxmakanaal).

There are train connections from Leeuwarden station to Amersfoort via Zwolle ( Intercity , once an hour); Stoptrein ( local train ) to Zwolle, to Groningen, Harlingen and Stavoren via Sneek (all local trains).


You can study at the Noordelijke Hogeschool Leeuwarden, the Van Hall Instituut and the Stenden Hogeschool , which currently teach around 15,000 students. Furthermore, the University of Groningen , which is one of the oldest universities in Europe, has been represented by a satellite campus in Leeuwarden since 2018 .


Distribution of seats in the municipal council

Local elections 2017
Gains and losses
compared to 2013
 % p
± 0.0

The local elections on November 22, 2017 resulted in the following distribution of seats:

Political party Seats
1998 2002 2006 2010 2013 a 2017 b
PvdA 13 10 15th 11 12 11
Progressieve share Leeuwarden / GroenLinks 3 4th 4th 5 4th 5
CDA 7th 7th 5 5 6th 5
VVD 5 5 4th 5 4th 4th
D66 2 2 0 2 4th 4th
Community affairs Leeuwarden 3 2 2 4th 4th 2
FNP 0 1 1 1 2 2
ChristenUnie - 1 2 2 2 2
Lijst058 - - - - - 2
50PLUS - - - - - 1
PvdD - - - - - 1
Verenigd Links-Feriene Lofts - - - - 1 0
SP 3 3 4th 2 - -
Leefbaar Leeuwarden - 2 0 - - -
GPV / RPF / SGP 1 - - - - -
total 37 37 37 37 39 39
  1. Parties that took part in the election but were unable to obtain a seat on the council will not be considered.
aDue to the incorporation of part of Boarnsterhim into Leeuwarden on January 1, 2014, the municipal council elections took place on November 13, 2013.
bDue to the incorporation of Leeuwarderadeel and part of Littenseradiel into Leeuwarden on January 1, 2018, the municipal council elections took place on November 22, 2017.


Sybrand van Haersma Buma (CDA) has been the acting mayor of the municipality since August 26, 2019 . His colleagues include the alderman Sjoerd Feitsma (PvdA), Henk Deinum (PvdA), Friso Douwstra (CDA), Hilde Tjeerdema (D66), Herwil van Gelder (Progressieve Share Leeuwarden / GroenLinks) and the community secretary Reindest Hoek.


In addition to the city, the municipality of Leeuwarden also includes numerous villages and smaller rural settlements (Buurschappen).

City (as part of the municipality) and rural settlements, population as of January 1, 2012:

Surname Pop.
Dutch   Frisian  
Leeuwarden Ljouwert 95,949
Grouw Grou 5,757
Goutum Goutum 2,565
Warga Wergea 1,660
Mistake Jirnsum 1,292
Willum Wurdum 1,040
Roordahuizum Reduction 1,096
Wait a Waiting 948
Wijtgaard Wytgaard 590
Lekkum Lekkum 425
Snakkerburen Snakkerbuorren 225
Hempens Himpens' 155
Idaard Ideard 96
Friens Friens 89
Swichum Swichum 50
Warstiens Warstiens 41
Miedum Miedum 30th
Aegum Eagum 28
Taring Tearns 16

Source: CBS



Kanselarij (Chancellery) from 1566
Achmea building
Bridge over the Zuidergracht

Many typical narrow-breasted town houses from the 17th and 18th centuries have been preserved in the old town. Known other structures are for example

  • the crooked Oldehove , the landmark of Leeuwarden
  • the Kanselarij from the 16th century, seat of the court of Friesland
  • the Stadhouderlijk Hof , later the seat of the governor of Friesland, now a hotel
  • the Waag (the old trading center)
  • the Grote of Jacobijnerkerk from the 15th century
  • the Catholic Church of St. Boniface from the 19th century
  • the Blokhuispoort , a former penitentiary and prison
  • the Slauerhoffbrug , a movable bridge.

The dark building of the Achmea insurance company, located near the train station, is the tallest building in the city at around 114 meters.


  • the Princessehof : built in 1693, contains a museum of ceramics of national importance
  • The Fries Museum owns around 170,000 objects from the art, culture and history of Friesland, including a considerable collection of objects made of silver : Friesland was in the 17th – 19th centuries. Century known for its silversmithing.
  • the Verzetsmuseum is a 'museum for the resistance against the Nazis in World War II '
  • in the Prinsentuin in the northern city park is a museum dedicated to the sculptor Pier Pander (1864–1919)
  • historical Museum
  • Literature Museum

Regular events

  • A cattle market takes place in Leeuwarden.
  • The largest flower market in the country takes place on Ascension Day .
  • Domino Day : took place annually from 2002 to 2009 in the Friesland halls
  • The annual Air Force Open Day takes place at the air force base in Leeuwarden, alternating with the base in Volkel ( Uden ) . The Dutch name for this airshow is Open Dagen .
  • The annual central licensing of the Friesian stallions takes place in Leeuwarden in January , which is organized and carried out by the KFPS (Koninklijke Vereniging "Het Friesch Paarden-Stamboek").
  • Since 2013 there has been a large psytrance festival called "Psy-Fi" in the local recreation area "De Groene Ster" not far from the city in August , which has meanwhile become an attraction for the hippie and Goa scene in Europe

European Capital of Culture

View of the language pavilion, in front of it the large-format multilingual text "Language makes us human"

For 2018, one of the two titles of European Capital of Culture, limited to one year, was awarded to the Netherlands. On September 6, 2013 it became known that Leeuwarden was able to prevail in the Dutch selection committee ahead of the remaining competitors Eindhoven and Maastricht with the Euregio Meuse-Rhine . Another European Capital of Culture in 2018 is Valletta (Malta).

The program and the cultural activities were organized by Leeuwarden together with the province of Friesland under the abbreviation LF2018 and extended across the entire province. Eleven fountains were built in the eleven Frisian cities , major events were held in Harlingen and other places, and an open-air gallery with over 400 paintings was set up in Sloten . Leeuwarden itself focused on the topic of language under the title “Lân fan taal” (Land of Language): A pavilion opposite the Oldehove demonstrated the multitude of languages ​​spoken, another “Living Room of Languages” was a venue for weekly changing languages ​​and cultures. References in the cityscape to the topic provided food for thought.



Sons and daughters

People with a relationship to the city

Web links

Commons : Leeuwarden  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Leeuwarden  - travel guide

Individual evidence

  1. a b Burgemeester Buma maandag geïnstalleerd in Grote Kerk. In: Leeuwarder Courant . NDC mediagroep, August 20, 2019, accessed August 26, 2019 (Dutch).
  2. Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand . In: StatLine . Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (Dutch)
  3. European Capitals of Culture - Creative Europe - European Commission. Retrieved July 29, 2018 .
  4. Result of the local elections: 2013 2017 , accessed on June 17, 2018 (Dutch)
  5. ↑ Allocation of seats in the municipal council: 1998–2002 ( Memento of the original from June 15, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. 2006 2010 2013 2017 , accessed June 17, 2018 (Dutch) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / nlverkiezingen.com
  6. College van burgemeester en wethouders Gemeente Leeuwarden, accessed on June 17, 2018 (Dutch)
  7. CAPITAL OF CULTURE: Leeuwarden surprisingly asserts itself against strong competition. University of Münster, September 12, 2013, accessed on September 15, 2013 .
  8. Leeuwarden-Friesland European Capital of Culture 2018. In: German-language website of the LF2018 organizers. Leeuwarden-Fryslân 2018, accessed September 2, 2018 .
  9. Lân fant taal. In: German-language website of the Lân fan taal working group. Team Lân fan taal, accessed on September 2, 2018 .