Friesland: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Provincie Friesland (nl)
Provinsje Fryslân (fy)
Province of Friesland
Frisian flag.svg Coat of arms of Friesland
Flag Coat of arms
Map: Province of Friesland in the Netherlands South Holland North Holland Friesland Groningen Drenthe Flevoland Overijssel Gelderland Utrecht Limburg North Brabant Zeeland
About this image
Capital Leeuwarden
Queen's Commissioner John Jorritsma
Religion (1999) Protestant 39%
Roman Catholic 8%
 • Land
 • Water
3,349 km² (3rd)
2,392 km²
Population (2006)
 • Total
 • Density

642,230 (8th)
192/km² (11th)
Anthem De âlde Friezen
Official website

Friesland (About this sound pronunciation , West Frisian, official: Fryslân, Dutch: Friesland) is a province in the north of the Netherlands.

Up until the end of 1996, the province bore Friesland as its official name. In 1997 this Dutch name lost its official status to the Frisian Fryslân. Nevertheless "Friesland" is still commonly used by Dutch speaking people, being the Dutch translation of the official name.

Friesland has 643,000 inhabitants (2005) and its capital is Leeuwarden (Ljouwert), with 91,817 inhabitants, in the center of the province.



Friesland distinguishes itself from the other eleven provinces through having its own language, West Frisian, which is also spoken in a minor part of the province of Groningen, to the east. Closely related languages, East Frisian ("Seeltersk", which is different from "East Frisian (Ostfriesisch)", a collection of Low German dialects of East Frisia) and North Frisian, are spoken in the Saterland and in North Friesland areas in Germany, respectively.

Friesland is mainly an agricultural province. The famous black and white Friesian cattle and the well known black Friesian horse originated here. Tourism is another important source of income, principal greatest tourist destinations including the lakes in the south west of the province, and the islands in the Wadden Sea in the north. Technology companies such as Asset Control have also set up base in Friesland.

The province is famous for its speed skaters, with mass participation in cross-country ice skating when weather conditions permit. When winters are cold enough to allow the freshwater canals to freeze hard, the province holds its traditional Elfstedentocht (Eleven cities tour), a 200 kilometers ice skating tour. In the warmer months, many Frisians practice wadlopen, the traditional art of wading across designated sections of the Wadden Sea at low tide. Another Frisian practice is fierljeppen, a sport with some similarities to pole vaulting. A jump consists of an intense sprint to the pole (polsstok), jumping and grabbing it, then climbing to the top while trying to control the pole's forward and lateral movements over a body of water and finishing with a graceful landing on a sand bed opposite to the starting point. Because of all the diverse skills required in fierljeppen, fierljeppers are considered to be very complete athletes with superbly developed strength and coordination. Another interesting feature is the presence of many windmills. There are 195 windmills in the province of Friesland, from a total of about 1200 in the entire country.


The Elfstedentocht passes all eleven cities of Fryslân

The ancient cities of Friesland are shown below:

Dutch West Frisian Charter Granted
Leeuwarden Ljouwert 1285; renewed in 1435
Sneek Snits 1456
IJlst Drylts 1268
Sloten Sleat 1426
Stavoren Starum 1118
Hindeloopen Hylpen 1285
Workum Warkum 1399
Bolsward Boalsert 1425
Harlingen Harns 1234
Franeker Frjentsjer 1374
Dokkum Dokkum 1298

Major towns

Frisian cattle


Amsterdam Almelo Almere Amersfoort Arnhem Assen Breda Den Haag Delft Delfzijl Den Bosch Den Helder Dordrecht Enchede Haarlem Hilversum Maastricht Middelburg Zwolle Lelystad Leiden Katwijk Nijmegen Eindhoven Vlissingen Rotterdam Leeuwarden Heerenveen Groningen (city) Emmen Almelo Apeldoorn Alkmaar Zaanstad Tilburg Venlo Heerlen Drenthe Flevoland Friesland Gelderland Groningen Limburg North Brabant North Holland Overijssel South Holland Utrecht Zeeland
Map of the Netherlands, linking to the province articles; red dots mark provincial capitals and black dots other notable cities or towns.

See also


External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Traditional boat on the IJsselmeer
Traditional boat on the IJsselmeer

Friesland is a province of the the Netherlands known for its water sports facilities.


Friesland (Frisian and official name: Fryslân) has 11 cities. They vary in size from the provincial capital Leeuwarden (+92,000 inhabitants) to Sloten, with less than 1,000 inhabitants. In the order of the 11-cities-tour, these are (Dutch - Frisian):

  • Leeuwarden - Ljouwert
  • Sneek - Snits
  • IJlst - Drylts
  • Sloten - Sleat
  • Stavoren - Starum
  • Hindeloopen - Hylpen
  • Workum - Warkum
  • Bolsward - Boalsert
  • Harlingen - Harns
  • Franeker - Frentsjer
  • Dokkum - Dokkum

The 11-cities-tour (Frisian: alvestêdetocht) is a skating event, which can only be held in winter when all the water through and between those 11 cities is frozen. Friesland has only 11 cities, settlements with historical city rights. Major towns are Drachten and Heerenveen.


Frisia (Dutch: Friesland, Frisian: Fryslân) has a long history. Its inhabitants are first referred to by the Roman writer Tacitus, in his work Germanica. After the collapse of the Roman empire, Frisia grew in importance, and at one point Frisian kings controled the entire coast of what is now the Netherlands up into Belgium and parts of Northern Germany (which are still known as Ostfriesland or Eastern Frisia).

The Frisians were later subjugated by Charlemagne, and have never achieved independence since. During the Dutch golden age in the 16th and 17th century, Frisia has stood in the shadow of Holland, remaining largely rural while trade and later industry flourished in other parts of the Netherlands. During this period, peat was dug from the soil, causing lakes to form. Also, all transport was done via water. This combination of lakes and connecting canals has made Friesland a mecca for water sports enthausiasts.

Nowadays, Frisia is one of the most sparsely populated provinces in the Netherlands (with 'only' 160 people / square km) and is mostly known for its lakes, wide open spaces, and general peace and quiet, as well as for its population. Frisians have a well-earned reputation for bloodymindedness and distrust of authority.

As The Netherlands are sometimes referred to as Holland, let it be known that Friesland is not part of Holland. This is a common mistake among tourists, and one which can be almost guaranteed to grossly offend any native Fries you may be talking to. Holland is comprising only the (coastal) provinces of North-Holland and South-Holland.


Friesland is bilingual, with Frisian, the local language, enjoying equal status as Dutch. Everyone in Friesland speaks Dutch; however the preference for Frisian is strong with some. Signs, streetnames, etc. are mostly in two languages, depending on the community council.

As in the rest of the Netherlands, almost everyone in Friesland speaks at least some English, and especially young people are likely to be fluent or near-fluent.

Get in

It is only possible to travel overland to Friesland. By train one can travel from the direction of Groningen (city) or Zwolle. And by bus from Den Helder or Hoorn. In the latter case you will pass through the Afsluitdijk, a 30 km long dike separating two seas. The bus stops at a viewpoint halfway on the dike.

Get around

The train system is low-grade by Dutch standards, which means that only the major cities are connected by rail. Sneek, Leeuwarden, Franeker, Harlingen, Heerenveen and Grou are accessible by rail. To get to the smaller town towns you will have to take busses, which usually leave from the train stations as well. See the article on the Netherlands for more details on the baroque system of public transport, and note that bus services will be sparse in the summer vacation.

Another way to get around is by boat. Friesland is noted for its large amount of lakes, but especially for the way they are all interconnected by canals. It is therefore possible to travel from one city to the next by sailing-boat. See the Do section for more information.

Like the entire Netherlands, Friesland is extremely bike-friendly. See the main article on the Netherlands for details.

  • The main event in Friesland each year is the yearly sailing contest between 14 ships on the various lakes, which takes place in early August. The 14 10-meter long boats, each with a crew of more than ten people, compete over 14 matches on anything from the huge IJsselmeer to tiny Veenhoop. This event is called Skûtsjesilen, Skûtsje being the traditional type of sailing boat used in these contests.

It is quite possible to watch these matches from the shore, and many people do so. Inquire locally about the best place to watch, and be prepared to come early or the locals will beat you to the best places. It is also possible to watch these matches from the water, but be advised that certain areas of water may be off-limits for spectators.

If you are traveling by boat, make sure you get a program of this because certain lakes or parts of lakes will be closed off, and the waterways towards those lakes will be filled with traveling spectators.

  • Kaatsen is a sport dating to the middle ages, still being practised in Friesland, the Basque_Country, and parts of southern France. A precursor to tennis; the game consists of two teams hitting a solid leather ball with their bare hands. The main event each year is the PC, in Franeker. The city will be filled with spectators. Warning: Kaatsen is to Frisians what cricket is to the English, ie: you will not understand a thing of what is happening.
  • Fierljeppen (far-jumping) - a sport where contestants attempt to jump as far as possible over a ditch, using a 10-foot pole.
  • Wieuwerd mummies - a small town where local chuch crypt created the right conditions for natural mummification.
  • Fries museum - the local museum on the area (located in Leeuwarden)
  • Jopie Huisman museum (Workum) - an art museum dedicated to an eel fisher turned realist painter
  • Eise Eisinga's planetarium (Franeker) - a school teacher created the world's oldest still working planetarium (1774) to disprove claims that the world was going to end.
  • Hindeloopen - A small town comparable to Volendam or Marken, though not as overly touristic.
  • Sloten - A small fortress town with a rich past.
  • Go walking, to the islands. As the sea is dry at lowtide, it is possible to walk to some of the islands. Take a guide.
  • Go boating on the lakes or canals.
  • Fryske dúmkes, sweet cookies with crushed hazelnut
  • Oranjekoeke, a kind of cake with orange snippers
  • Drabbelkoeken, a buttercake, only in Sneek
  • Sûkerbôle, a sweat bread with 40% sugar and cinnamon
  • Beerenburg, the "national" drink of Friesland. An alcoholic drink, made by adding herbs to jenever. It has an alcohol percentage of around 30%.
  • Frysk Hynder (Frisian horse), the only Frisian whisky, distilled in Bolsward.
  • Ús Heit (Our father), Frisian beers, brewed in Bolsward


Do not refer to the local language as a dialect of Dutch, as this might be considered insulting, as well as being untrue. Although they are somewhat mutually intelligible, and nearly all Frisian people are able to speak Dutch, the language is old and distinct, bearing more linguistic similarities to English than to Dutch. Otherwise, the general mentality and rules of etiquette are the same as in the rest of the Netherlands. The region is by no means separatist, but there is a strong national feeling among Frisians. Its relationship to the Netherlands is comparable to the relationship between Scotland and England within the UK.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun


  1. A province of the Netherlands.



See also



  • IPA: /ˈfris.lɑnt/

Proper noun

Friesland n.

  1. Friesland, a province of the Netherlands.


Proper noun


  1. Friesland

Simple English

Friesland (Fryslân in Frisian, Friesland in Dutch) is a province in the north of the Netherlands The capital of Friesland is Leeuwarden (Ljouwert in Frisian). People in Friesland speak Frisian and Dutch. The Frisian language is also spoken in a small part of Groningen (province), and in East Friesland and North Friesland in Germany. In North Holland there is a region called West Friesland, but people who live there are not called Frisians.

Agriculture and tourism, on the lakes and the isles in the Wadden Sea, are important sources of income.

The province is also famous for its ice skaters, and also for the Elfstedentocht (Eleven cities tour), an ice skating race of 200 kilometers.

Famous Frisians

In Friesland the Frisians live. They are an old ethnic group. Members of this ethnic group are:

  • Pier Gerlofs Donia, was a giant from Friesland. He was said to be about 7 feet tall (2m 15).
  • Wijerd Jelckama, a legendary freedom fighter, rebel and warlord. Was no shorter then his uncle Donia.
  • Mata Hari, Famous courtesan and spy, was born a Frisian.
  • Doutzen Kroes, Frisian born supermodel, is known for speaking and promoting the Frisian language.


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