Leeuwarden Mini Guide
What Can you Tell me About Leeuwarden?
Leeuwarden is an attractive destination and the main city and capital of Friesland. It is typical amongst Dutch cities in having a canal system, used more for defence than for trade or drainage, and is also blessed with many old Dutch buildings lining the canal. It was an important trade city until the fifteenth century when the waterway became clogged with silt. Whilst Leeuwarden doesn’t have its own university, campuses of other universities bring 16,000 students to the city each year.
How do I Get to Leeuwarden?
The closest airport is at Groningen
, around thirty minutes away. Flights there come mainly from Mediterranean destinations as holiday traffic or from the Austrian ski resorts although there is a daily flight with BMI from Aberdeen. UK travellers can get a flight from many regional airports to Aberdeen then continue their journey from there. An alternative is to catch a flight to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport
then get the intercity train for a two and a half hour journey into Leeuwarden.
What Can I See and Do in Leeuwarden?
The medieval centre of the city is fascinating with old buildings stacked side by side fronting the waterways and canals. The main ones of interest are the former chancellery, the stadtholder’s residence and Leeuwarden’s very own leaning tower called the Oldehove. Its story is remarkable in that the citizens wanted to compete with the Martini Tower in Groningen and commissioned a tower to be built on a mound. The tower soon began to sag, then lean. The builders decided to build kinks into the tower to keep it vertical but failed to keep up with the angle of lean. Eventually they gave up and the unfinished tower now leans more than the one in Pisa.
What can I Buy in Leeuwarden for Gifts for Friends?
Leeuwarden is renowned for its flower markets and you’ll often pick up unusual bouquets at great prices. If your airline will let you take the flowers on board, they’ll make special gifts for friends and family back home.
What is There That’s Special to eat in Leeuwarden?
Leeuwarden is also known for its beef and a weekly cattle market is held in the city. The butchers and restaurateurs often get the best beef from the markets which is very fresh when served in the city restaurants. Unusual dishes abound with beef in cream sauce being a favourite as well as steaks served with peppercorn sauce.
What Should I do in the Evenings in Leeuwarden?
The large student population makes for a lively night scene where the favourite venue is the club called Rumours which has a student night on a Monday. The local distillers, Boomsma do a delicious beerenburg which is a herb flavoured gin which has to be tried whilst on an evening out. Served neat with ice or with lemon and tonic, it’s certainly different.
Few cities in Holland look more typically Dutch than Leeuwarden with its canals and old Dutch houses. A camera is an essential tool for so much of the city is picturesque. It was officially named in the ninth century although recent archaeological excavations have found homes dating back another 700 years.
It was an important port until the 15th century when the waterway linking it to the sea silted up. Its importance in the area remained firm and it is the capital of the region of Friesland and now a popular destination for tourists.