Friesland Province

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Province of the Netherlands Flag of the Netherlands.svg
coat of arms flag
Friesland wapen.svg Frisian flag.svg
Zeeland Zuid-Holland Baarle (zu Belgien) Noord-Brabant Groningen Bundesrepublik Deutschland Limburg Friesland Flevoland Drenthe Noord-Holland IJsselmeer Utrecht Overijssel Gelderland Frankreich Belgien NordseeMap: Province of Friesland in the Netherlands
About this picture
Basic data
Capital Leeuwarden
Biggest town Leeuwarden
Official languages Dutch and West Frisian
ISO 3166-2 code NL-FR
anthem De âlde Friezen (not official)
Royal Commissioner Arno Brok ( VVD )
Ruling parties CDA , PvdA , VVD and FNP
Residents 647,685 ( 8th of 12 )
Country share 3.7% of the Dutch
Population density 194 inhabitants per km² ( 11th of 12 )
Religion (2015, CBS ) 14% - Protestant
0 7% - Reformed
0 7% - Roman Catholic
0 6% - Dutch Reformed
0 1% - Islam
0 7% - other
58% - none
surface 5,748.77 km²
- country 3,335.62 km² (1st of 12)
- Water 2,413.15 km²
height - 2 to 45 m above sea level NAP
Coordinates 53 ° 12 '  N , 5 ° 43'  E Coordinates: 53 ° 12 '  N , 5 ° 43'  E
Administrative division
Communities 18th
- of which cities 11
Topography of the province of Friesland

Topography of the province of Friesland

The province of Friesland (also in Dutch , English ; but officially West Frisian Fryslân ) is one of the twelve Dutch provinces . All inhabited West Frisian islands belong to it with the exception of Texel . With them, Friesland is the second northernmost province of the Netherlands, located between the IJsselmeer in the west and the province of Groningen in the east. The capital is Leeuwarden ( West Frisian Ljouwert ).

The province is the only one in which, in addition to Dutch , another language is the official language, the closely related Frisian ( West Frisian ). However, almost all residents speak Dutch (also), and most of the texts are written in Dutch. Although there is no significant independence movement, Friesland has a stronger regional awareness than other provinces.

Friesland is known in the Netherlands for ice skating, which brings about the Elfstedentocht race in particularly severe winters . The race is named after the historical eleven cities of Friesland, which are not necessarily the most populous places in the modern province. In Friesland there are also some of their own sports and mudflat hiking is practiced.


Until January 1, 1997, the province had two official names, the Dutch name Friesland and the Frisian name Fryslân . Since then only the Frisian name is official. In 2004 the Dutch Ministry of the Interior decided to generally only use the Frisian name in documents. The Dutch name Friesland is still common in Dutch .

In the German-speaking world, the name Westfriesland is common and correct for the province of Friesland . The name is an analogous formation to the names of the German regions of North Friesland and East Friesland . In international contact, however, this designation can lead to misunderstandings, as " West Friesland " in the Netherlands is the name for the region of the same name in the province of North Holland . In order to avoid this imprecise designation and to avoid confusion with the German district of Friesland or the Friesland region as a whole, the province is also named Westerlauwers Friesland or west (er) lauwersche Friesland after its already historically significant location west of the Lauwers river .

It Heitelân ( German for  the fatherland ) is another common slang term for the province. It is often used when the strong bond to the Frisian homeland is to be expressed. The name is also increasingly used among the national Frisians .

In 1996 the government in The Hague allowed the free choice of place names in Friesland. After that, the municipalities and the province could decide independently whether they wanted to use a Dutch or a Frisian name. The province of Friesland was then renamed Provinsje Fryslân on January 1, 1997 . So far, 11 out of 31 Frisian municipalities have followed this example. There are individual efforts to make Friesland an independent state under the Dutch crown. Overall, however, such efforts are rather weak.


The province of Fryslân lies on the IJsselmeer in the west and on the North Sea coast in the north of the Netherlands . It borders the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe to the east and the provinces of Overijssel and Flevoland to the south .

The highest point in the province of Fryslân at 45 m above NAP is on the North Sea island of Vlieland ( West Frisian Flylân ). On the mainland, the highest point is 27 m high, the deepest - 2 m.

Fryslân is divided into six different landscape areas


(in %)
Otherwise. j
Gains and losses
compared to 2015
 % p
Otherwise. j
Template: election chart / maintenance / notes
j D66 4.12% (–2.85%), PvdD 3.22% (+0.65%), 50PLUS 2.55% (+0.14%), Provinciaal Belang Fryslân 1.79% (+1 , 79%), SGP 1.07% (+1.07%), Natuurlijk Fryslân 0.98% (+0.98%), DENK 0.17% (+0.17%), Friese Koers 0.00 % (-0.38%), LP 0.00% (-0.15%), Verenigd Links-Feriene Lofts 0.00% (-0.13%)
4th 6th 8th 4th 6th 
A total of 43 seats

The Provincial Parliament ( Dutch Provinciale Staten ) has its seat in the Provinciehuis in the provincial capital Leeuwarden . According to the population in the province, the parliament has 43 seats.

In the provincial election on March 20, 2019, the parties obtained the following shares of the vote: CDA 16.67% (8 seats), FvD 13.43% (6 seats), PvdA 13.40% (6 seats), VVD 9.41% ( 4 seats), FNP 7.93% (4 seats), GroenLinks 7.69% (3 seats), ChristenUnie 6.60% (3 seats), PVV 5.80% (3 seats), SP 5.17% ( 2 seats), D66 4.12% (2 seats), PvdD 3.22% (1 seat), 50PLUS 2.55% (1 seat), other 4.01%. The turnout was 59.12%.

The next provincial election will take place on March 22, 2023.Template: future / in 2 years

At the head of the province is the king's commissioner . Since March 2017 this has been the legal liberal Arno Brok . The college van Gedeputeerde Staten , i.e. the government, has been formed by a coalition of CDA , PvdA , VVD and FNP since 2019 .

coat of arms


Friesland is sparsely populated with an area of ​​5,724 km² and 647,685 inhabitants compared to the other Dutch provinces. As of January 1, 2019, it is divided into 18 municipalities :

De Waterpoort in Sneek
local community Residents
Achtkarspelen 27,870
Ameland 3,685
Dantumadiel 18,928
De Fryske Marren 51,458
Harlingen 15,740
Heerenveen 50.271
Leeuwarden 122,983
Noardeast-Fryslân 45.151
Ooststellingwerf 25,518
Opsterland 29,667
Schiermonnikoog 932
Smallingerland 55,935
Southwest Fryslân 89,739
Terschelling 4,858
Tytsjerksteradiel 31,813
Vlieland 1,141
Waadhoeke 46.119
Weststellingwerf 25,877

(Residents on January 31, 2019)


An early culture with settlements on terpenes ( terps ) emerged in Friesland around 400 to 200 BC. The Romans called the inhabitants Frisii . In the 8th century Friesland became part of the Franconian Empire and it was Christianized. During the Middle Ages , Friesland was gradually incorporated by the Counts of Holland .

After a period of independence in the 15th century, Friesland returned to Holland and came under the rule of the Habsburgs . Since 1581 it had a relatively independent status within the Republic of the Seven United Provinces . As one of the few provinces by the sea, it had its own Admiralty of Friesland . In 1795 Friesland became part of the Batavian Republic , in 1806 of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Holland and in 1810 of the French Empire . Friesland has been a province of the newly established Kingdom of the Netherlands since 1815.


In 2015, the regional gross domestic product per inhabitant, expressed in purchasing power standards , was 90% of the EU-28 average . In 2017 the unemployment rate was 5.5%.

Livestock farming ( milk , cheese , beef ) is an important economic factor .

Friesland is the "home of origin" of one of the oldest horse breeds in the world, the so-called Friesian horse , also known as "Friesian".

Culture and sport

Friesland is the most culturally independent of the twelve provinces in the Netherlands. The Frisian language is still relatively widespread in the province and the Frisian identity is very pronounced. The Frisian clubs and associations in the province work together with the Frisians in Germany through the West Section of the Frisian Council ( West Frisian Fryske Rie ).


The spread of languages ​​and dialects in the north-eastern Netherlands.

In the province of Friesland is in addition to the standard Dutch and the Frisian as an official language in use. In addition to these two official languages, various other dialects and language varieties of Frisian, Dutch and Lower Saxony are spoken in the province.


A separate language within the Frisian language group - and not a dialect of Dutch - is West Frisian (also called Westerlauwerssches Frisian), which in Fryslân is called Frysk and is recognized here as the official language alongside the standard Dutch language. Of the approximately 650,000 inhabitants of Fryslân, around 450,000 speak Frisian, around 360,000 of them as their mother tongue. There are different dialects, but also a standardized variant of the language. Of the four Wadden islands of Fryslâns, only Terschelling ( West Frisian Skylge ) and Schiermonnikoog ( West Frisian Skiermûntseach ) are Frisian- speaking . West Frisian is by far the most vital branch of the Frisian language family. The varieties of North and Sater Frisian still spoken in Germany , on the other hand, are acutely threatened with extinction.

Especially in the private sphere, Frisian is once again the first language among the Frisians in large parts of Friesland. But the Frisian language is also gaining more and more importance in everyday life. For example, the applications in the Frisian town halls must be in Dutch as well as in Frisian, and the residents of Friesland have the right to conduct all official matters in Frisian, which on the other hand requires the Frisian officials to have a knowledge of the Frisian language.

Every three years the administration of the province of Friesland in the Netherlands awards the Gysbert Japicxpriis ( German  Gysbert Japicx Prize ), a Frisian literary prize named after the Frisian writer Gysbert Japicx , which is endowed with a sum of 5,000 euros. The provincial administration follows the recommendations of an expert committee and regularly awards prose and poetry works.

Frisian-Dutch mixed dialects

In the Frisian cities, a dialect called Stadt Frisian is often spoken, which consists of Dutch vocabulary and Frisian grammar. Dutch-Frisian mixed dialects are also the Bildts in the municipality of Het Bildt and the Midsland on the island of Terschelling . The island of Ameland ( West Frisian It Amelân ) has its own Frisian-Dutch language, Amelânsk or Amelands ( German  “Ameländisch” ). This language was previously promoted by the Lords of Ameland, the Cammingha family, and modified from Frisian.

The various mixed dialects are assessed differently by linguists and partly assigned to the Dutch dialects , partly treated as a separate group.

Lower Saxon

Lower Saxon dialects are traditionally spoken in some areas of the province of Friesland . In the Stellingwerven is Stellingwerfs common. The dialects widespread in the Kollumerland are either assigned to the Gronings or combined with the dialects spoken in the neighboring Groningerland as Westerkwartiers . The almost extinct Kollumerpompster is considered to be a Lower Saxon, but very strongly Frisian-influenced transition dialect to Frisian.


The standard Dutch language has official status in the province, as in the rest of the Netherlands, and is mastered throughout. For many people in the province, Dutch is now their first and mother tongue. Traditionally, a Dutch dialect was only spoken on the North Sea island of Vlieland , but it is considered extinct.


The Frisian population also has its own traditions in sport , which are cherished and cultivated.

Typical Frisian sports are:


The tourism is of great economic importance. This is especially true for spa tourism on the coast and on the islands. Friesland is a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts, also because of the lakes, which are an attraction for many sailors and other water sports enthusiasts. The small but beautiful cities are another attraction.


The comedy film New Kids Nitro from 2011 largely deals with the province of Friesland.

Individual evidence

  1. Religieuze betrokkenheid; kerkelijke gezindte; regio. CBS , December 22, 2016, accessed November 19, 2018 (Dutch).
  2. Provinciale Staten 20 March 2019. In: Kiesraad , accessed May 1, 2019 (Dutch).
  3. Provinciale Staten 18 March 2015. In: Kiesraad , accessed May 1, 2019 (Dutch).
  4. Bestuursakkoord. In: Provincie Fryslân, accessed July 12, 2019 (Dutch).
  5. Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand . In: StatLine . Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (Dutch)
  6. Eurostat. Retrieved April 15, 2018 .
  7. Unemployment rate, by NUTS 2 regions. Retrieved November 5, 2018 .

Web links

Commons : Province of Friesland  - Collection of images, videos and audio files