Leeuwarden- the European Capital of Culture 2018

Leeuwarden- the European Capital of Culture 2018

08 July 2018 by Dilyana
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We are true Groningen fans, but let’s give some credit to Leeuwarden for being selected as one of the European Capitals of Culture in 2018. Leeuwarden is the next close to Groningen city with its different language, culture and environment which are worth visiting. The capital of culture has been selected by the European Commission and currently the region is more alive than ever with diverse activities.

What is Capital of Culture?
The European Capitals of Culture initiative is an idea from the European Commission and it is designed to highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe. The Capital of Culture prepares a year cultural program which is promoted in the EU countries as a top year travel destination. In that way the region is helped to develop in diverse ways as the international profile of the cities, enhancing the image of the cities in the eyes of their own inhabitants, breathing new life into a city’s culture and boosting tourism.

Alright, let’s dive into Leeuwarden…

Where is Leeuwarden?
Leeuwarden is west from Groningen, approximately 40 minutes away by train, and it is the capital of the province Friesland. You might have heard but in Friesland, the people talk in Friesian (not Dutch) and they are very proud of their cultural uniqueness. As would TripAdvisor say, Friesland is green, rural, with nice open sea sights (beaches) and peaceful region. Yet, Leeuwarden also has a vibrant student life and cool things to see.

What about the cultural program?
The calendar is promising very lively days in Friesland. The museums are exhibiting world famous artists who are born in Friesland as for example M.C. Escher (a Dutch graphic artist who made mathematically-inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints); Mata Hari ( was a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who was convicted of being a spy for Germany during World War I) and many more. There is more to see as the mind-blowing Eise Eisinga Planetarium in Franeker which is 237 years old and it has a clock of the universe which continues working so perfectly. The program contains events related to sustainability, film and music festival, tattoo and ceramics and much more. Friesland has their own national sport called Fierljeppen (Canal vaulting) which is basically a jump that consists of a sprint to the pole, jumping and grabbing it, then climbing to the top of the pole while trying to control its forward and lateral movements over a body of water, and finishing by landing on a sand bed opposite to the starting point (or in the water). The Fierljeppen this year happens on 25th of August and it is a unique Friesland experience. Moreover, the event European Sports for All Games has invited nationals teams for 4 days Canal vaulting competition and where you can try by yourself to jump over the canal. The fresh fish in Harlingen and the Tall Ship Races Harlingen 2019 is also a reason to travel that far for it! Pisa has a leaning tower, but so does Leeuwarden with their Oldehove tower.

Are you already hyped to see Friesland? Check out the cultural calendar here.