—  Municipality / City  —
The Waag of Leeuwarden
Flag of Leeuwarden
Coat of arms of Leeuwarden
Coat of arms
Coordinates: 53°12′N 5°48′E / 53.2°N 5.8°E / 53.2; 5.8Coordinates: 53°12′N 5°48′E / 53.2°N 5.8°E / 53.2; 5.8
Country Netherlands
Province Friesland
 – Total 84.10 km2 (32.5 sq mi)
 – Land 79.74 km2 (30.8 sq mi)
 – Water 4.36 km2 (1.7 sq mi)
Population (1 December 2009)
 – Total 96,578
 – Density 1,148.4/km2 (2,974.3/sq mi)
  Source: CBS, Statline.
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 – Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

Leeuwarden (pronounced [ˈleˑˌwɑrdə(n)] ( listen), Stadsfries: Liwwadden, Frisian: Ljouwert, pronounced [ˈʎɔːw(ə)t]) is the capital city of the Dutch province of Friesland. It is situated in the north of the country.



Historical map of Leeuwarden

The area has been occupied since the 10th century (although recently, remains of houses dating back to the 2nd century AD were discovered during a dig near the Oldehove), and was granted a town charter in 1435. Situated along the Middelzee, it was an active trade centre, until the waterway silted up in the 15th century. In 1901 the city had a population of 32,203.

Famous natives of Leeuwarden include stadtholder William IV of Orange, graphic artist M. C. Escher, and dancer-spy Mata Hari, as well as the theologian Dr. N.H. Gootjes.

Citizens of Leeuwarden welcoming units of the Canadian Army, 16 April 1945

During World War II, after extensive occupation by the German forces, on 15 April 1945, the Royal Canadian Dragoons, disobeying direct orders, charged into the heavily defended city and defeated the Germans, who were driven out by the next day.


The name "Leeuwarden" (or old spelling variants) first came into use for Nijehove, the most important one of the three villages that later merged into one, in the early 9th century (Villa Lintarwrde' c. 825).[1]

There is much uncertainty about the origin of the city's name. Historian and archivist Wopke Eekhoff summed up a total of over 200 different spelling variants, of which Leeuwarden (Dutch), Liwwadden (Stadsfries) and Ljouwert (West Frisian) are still in use.[2]

The second syllable is easily explained. "Warden", Dutch/Frisian for an artificial dwelling hill, is a designation of a few terps, in accordance with the historical situation.[2] The problem is the prefix, which could be interpreted as leeu- or 'leeuw-' (Dutch for lion). Some scholars believe the latter to be true, for a lion is also found in the city's coat of arms. For this to be so, however, an extra "w" would be required. It should also be noted there have never been lions in Friesland.[citation needed] Other scholars argue the name came from the prefix leeu-, a corruption of luw- (Dutch for sheltered) or lee- (a Dutch denotion of a water circulation). The last one suits the watery province of Fryslân.[2]


The coat of arms of Leeuwarden is the official symbol of the municipality of Leeuwarden. It consists of a blue escutcheon, a golden lion and a crown. The fact Leeuwarden carries a lion in its seal seems logical, considering that "Leeuw" is Dutch for "Lion". However, it is very plausible the oldest name of the city conceals an indication of water rather than an animal. Some sources tell the lion had been called into life after the name became official. It's also possible the coat of arms was a gift to the city from the powerful Minnema family.[3]

Population centres

Dutch name Frisian name 2005 census
Leeuwarden Ljouwert 86,324
Goutum Goutum 2,624
Wirdum Wurdum 1,236
Wijtgaard Wytgaard 626
Lekkum Lekkum 469
Snakkerburen Snakkerbuorren 206
Hempens Himpens 175
Swichum Swichum 60
Miedum Miedum 30
Teerns Tearns 16
Total 91,766


One of the grachten of Leeuwarden
Leeuwarden's historic centre with the tower of the church of St. Bonifatius
The Achmeatoren (115 metres tall)

Well-known buildings in the city centre include the Kanselarij (the former chancellery), the Stadhouderlijk hof, former residence of the stadtholders of Friesland, the Waag (old trade centre of the city), the church of St. Bonifatius and the leaning tower Oldehove. The tallest building in the city is the 115 metre tall Achmeatoren (Achmea insurance tower).

Leeuwarden is also the site of the country's largest cattle market, and on Ascension Day, the largest flower market in the Netherlands is held here.[citation needed] The Froskepôlemolen is the last surviving windmill of over 130 known to have stood in Leeuwarden. The remains of the Cammingha-Buurstermolen were demolished in 2000. The bases of two other windmills, Wielinga-Stam and De Haan also survive.[5]


Leeuwarden has a number of respected universities of applied science (HBO in Dutch), such as the Van Hall Instituut (agricultural and life sciences), the Stenden University(economical, media management and catering) and the Noordelijke Hogeschool Leeuwarden (economical, technical and arts).

Although the city has no scientific university, several dependencies are located here, including the Wageningen University, Universiteit Twente and the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. About 16,000 students, among them an increasing number of foreign students, study at technical schools. Besides higher education, the city is also home to two regional vocational schools (MBO): the Friese Poort and Friesland College.


Leeuwarden is the starting and finishing point for the celebrated Elfstedentocht, a 200 km-long speed skating race over the Frisian waterways that is held when winter conditions in the province allow. It last took place in January 1997, preceded by the races of 1986 and 1985. The city's local football team, Cambuur Leeuwarden plays in the Eerste Divisie. In the season 2005/06, the club narrowly escaped bankruptcy. Its Cambuurstadion opened in 1995. The football team has proposed plans for a new stadium in the east side of the city, which will cost €35 million.[6]


Leeuwarden, as capital of the province of Friesland, is seat of the provincial authorities.

Notable people from Leeuwarden


Train routes with starting number of the train number series:

There are also bus lines:

  • 13 Leeuwarden -> Drachten/Steenwijk (Surhuisterveen, Harkema)
  • 14 Leeuwarden -> Drachten
  • 19 Leeuwarden -> Drachten (Hurdegaryp, Burgum, Suameer)
  • 20 Leeuwarden -> Heerenveen (Drachten)
  • 21 Leeuwarden -> Heerenveen (Drachten)
  • 22 Leeuwarden -> Warten
  • 28 Leeuwarden -> Heerenveen (Grou)
  • 50 Leeuwarden -> Dokkum
  • 51 Leeuwarden -> Dokkum (Damwoude)
  • 54 Leeuwarden -> Dokkum (Stiens,Holwerd)
  • 60 Leeuwarden -> Dokkum (Stiens,Holwerd)
  • 62 Leeuwarden -> Buitenpost (Kollum)
  • 66 Leeuwarden -> Ameland (Holwerd)
  • 70 Leeuwarden -> Sint Annaparochie (Minnertsga)
  • 71 Leeuwarden -> Harlingen (Minnertsga)
  • 72 Leeuwarden -> Sint Annaparochie (Minnertsga)
  • 73 Leeuwarden -> Oude Biltzijl (Minnertsga)
  • 93 Leeuwarden -> Sneek
  • 94 Leeuwarden -> Sneek
  • 95 Leeuwarden -> Joure
  • 97 Leeuwarden -> Harlingen (Franeker)
  • 320 Leeuwarden -> Drachten
  • 350 Leeuwarden -> Alkmaar
  • 513 Leeuwarden -> Drachten (Surhuisterveen)
  • 521 Leeuwarden -> Drachten

And there are citybuses. Most buslines are operated by Connexxion and a few (line 10,13,14 and 320) are operated by Qbuzz

Sister cities

See also


  1. ^ Groot p. 10
  2. ^ a b c Groot p. 12
  3. ^ Jansma p. 45
  4. ^ "Dorpen per gemeente" (in Dutch, Frisian). Doarpswurk. 2005. http://www.doarpswurk.nl/pageid=153/lang=3/Doarpen_per_gemeente.html. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  5. ^ Stichting De Fryske Mole (1995) (in Dutch). Friese Molens. Leeuwarden: Friese Pers Boekerij bv. pp. 69–73, 181, 183, 253. ISBN 90 330 1522 6. 
  6. ^ http://www.leeuwardercourant.nl/nieuws/sport/cambuur/article4844225.ece "Nieuw stadion Cambuur kost €35 miljoen"

Further reading

  • Groot, P.J. de, Karstkarel, G.P. & Kuipers, W.H., 1984. Leeuwarden, beeld van een stad. Zeven eeuwen stadsleven in woord en beeld. ISBN 90 3301341X. (Dutch)
  • Jansma, K., 1981. Friesland en zijn 44 gemeenten ISBN 90 6480 015 4. (Dutch)

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Leeuwarden — Héraldique …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Leeuwarden — / Ljouwert Leeuwarden Bandera …   Wikipedia Español

  • Leeuwarden —   [ leːwardə], Hauptstadt der Provinz Friesland, Niederlande, 87 900 Einwohner; Gerichtshof sowie Kultur und Schulzentrum für die drei nördlichen Provinzen; friesisches Museum, friesisches Literatur , friesisches naturhistorisches Museum,… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Leeuwarden — (en Frisón: Ljouwert) es la capital de la provincia de Frisia, el cual se localiza en el norte de los Países Bajos. Leeuwarden tiene alrededor de 91,693 habitantes (2005). * * * (Ljouwert) ► C. del N de los Países Bajos, cap. de la prov. de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Leeuwarden — (spr. Lehöwarden), 1) Bezirk in der niederländischen Provinz Friesland; hat 8 Friedensgerichte u. 129,800 Ew.; 2) Hauptstadt des Districts u. der Provinz, am Eemkanal, sonst die Residenz des Erbstatthalters von Friesland; ist umwallt, von vielen… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Leeuwarden — (spr. lĕü ), Hauptstadt der niederländ. Provinz Friesland, am Großen Kanal zwischen Harlingen und Groningen gelegen, wird von vielen Kanälen durchschnitten und steht durch Eisenbahnen mit Harlingen, Stavoren, Zutphen und Groningen in Verbindung.… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Leeuwarden — (spr. löw ), Hauptstadt der niederländ. Prov. Friesland, an der Ee und dem Zusammenfluß mehrerer Kanäle, (1904) 34.098 E., Rathaus, königl. Palast …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Leeuwarden — Leeuwarden, Hauptstadt des holländ. Friesland, an der Ee u. mehren Kanälen, mit 27000 E., königl. Schlosse. Leine und Papierfabriken …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Leeuwarden — ville des Pays Bas, ch. l. de la Frise; 85 170 hab …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Leeuwarden — (Dutch, Finnish, French, German), Ljouwert (Frisian), Liwwarden (Town Frisian), Liewarde (Limburgish) …   Names of cities in different languages

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