Leeuwarden is teeming with street art, beautiful town parks and gems of cafés, shops and back alleys. Town enthusiast Henk Leutscher knows the splendid sights of Leeuwarden like the back of his hand, and very much likes to share them with… just about everyone! He shows you the most awesome places in town, on his website as well as during his tours. You can join his Free Tours all year around – every Saturday at noon, starting from the Oldehoofsterkerkhof – they are in English.
Henk’s guided town walks are a wonderful way to get introduced to Leeuwarden, with attention being paid to its history, fun shops and graffiti. In addition, there are also frequent Street Art Tours, Beer Tours and Nassau Tours. Each of them highly recommended! For more information, go to the website of A Guide to Leeuwarden.
Below, a few places of interest are singled out!
De Blokhuispoort was built in 1499 as a fort to oppress the people of Leeuwarden. In 1580, it became a prison and after its close-down in 2007, it has become the cultural heart of Leeuwarden.
De Oldehove is one of the most characteristic buildings in town. This Leeuwarder ‘tower of Pisa’ was built in 1529, and intended to have a top of 120 metres high. This ambitious building plan came to a halt when the tower started to lean after 10 meters already, and it was decided to stop building after 40 metres. De Oldehove is located at the Oldehoofsterkerkhof. At this square, various events and festivals are held, such as the Leip! Festival as an opening of the college year. Alongside this square, you also find the council offices where you can take care of your civil affairs.
The Wilhelminaplein (Zaailand)
Here, many activities are held! The square underwent a huge makeover, but is now brimming more than ever, with shops, outdoor cafés and festivities. The Wilhelminaplein also harbours the Fries Museum (Frisian Museum),the biggest provincial museum of The Netherlands, in a magnificent new building which is also home to Slieker Film and the film theatre of Leeuwarden. Definitely worth a visit!
At this square, ‘Us Heit’ (our father) was put down in 1906. A statue of Willem Lodewijk van Nassau Dietz. He was the first Frisian ‘stadholder’. This ‘stadholder’ lived in the Stadhouderlijk Hof, which now is a hotel. Furthermore, the Gouverneursplein offers numerous bars and cafeteria’s with outdoor cafés.
The Doelesteeg is one of the most favourite places among the students of Leeuwarden, because of the bars. Each Thursday night, they already herald the weekend here. However, you are also welcome on the other days of the week. It’s always party time @ Doelesteeg!
Do you wish to get away from the town bustle for a while, then you can peacefully sit in and enjoy a town park. The Prinsentuin is a park at the north side of Leeuwarden’s inner city. In 1648, the park was laid out there, on the authority of prince Willem Frederik van Nassau. It is wonderful to chill out there! The park is located at the waterside, which entails there are many boats to be found during summer time. In the park, there often are musical events. In summer, it hosts for example the ‘Prinsentuin-concerts’ and at Bevrijdingsdag (Liberation Day) the Prinsentuin is one of the main performance stages in town. The park also includes the Koperen Tuin-restaurant.