you'll discover something new
Fancy a breath of fresh air? Whether you’re heading for a quick wander, or want to spend the entire afternoon wandering, you’re sure to discover something new each time.
Check out the Historic City Centre
In Leeuwarden’s city centre, you’ll find streets filled with historic buildings, stately homes, and centuries-old attractions. And, if you feel a little directionless, head to one of our vending machines at the Wilhelminaplein, the Oldehoofsterkerkhof, or the station to get an illustrated map.
Did you know that Leeuwarden was the royal capital of the Netherlands between 1584 and 1747? You’ll find the roots of the current Dutch royals here, too, so head out for a princely stroll through the centuries. Finish off your royal tour with a journey through the Prinsentuin, which was kept as a private pleasure garden for the royals.
Right next to the Oldehove, on the Grote Kerkstraat, you’ll find the Princessehof. The palace was once the residence of Maria Louise van Hessen-Kassel, a Princess in the Oranje-Nassau dynasty from 1688 to 1765. Nowadays the palace is the National Ceramics museum!
The Grote or Jacobijnerkerk
At the end of the Grote Kerkstraat, on the Jacobijnerkerkhof, sits the 14th-century Jacobijnerkerk (also known as the Grote Kerk). It’s the oldest in the city, and in the cellar is the royal crypt of the Nassaus.
Paleis Stadhouderlijk Hof
Before she moved to the Princessehof, Maria Louise lived in the Paleis Stadhouderlijk Hof, the family home of the Nassaus. Now, it’s a hotel!
The Prinsentuin was laid in 1648, on the orders of Willem Frederik van Nassau. King Willem I opened it to the public about 150 years later as a public park in 1795.
A wonderful leftover from Leeuwarden-Fryslân 2018 (when the city and province were European Capital of Culture), is the 11Fountains project. There are eleven historic cities in Friesland, and each one received a special piece of art in the form of a fountain. Each fountain has a corresponding walking route around the city; in Leeuwarden you have to see Jaume Plensa’s ‘Love’ fountain next to the station!
If you’re a fan of art in atypical places, we highly recommend the Street Art Tour, where you’ll see that Leeuwarden truly is an open-air gallery! You’ll only see incredibly wall murals, but also everyday items transformed into art; from substations, to empty storefronts.
Miniature People Leeuwarden
In more than 60 places across the city centre, you’ll see ‘Miniature People’: a series of tiny vignettes around two centimetres tall. The idea begun as an art project, but is now one of the best kid-friendly walking tours in the city. Remember to look high and low for the mini Leeuwarders! You can get the Miniature People route via both Google Maps, or for 1 euro in various shops in the city if you’d prefer a physical route card.