Fries Museum


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The Fries Museum showcases the very best of Frisian art and culture, and delves into the rich history of the Frisian people. Located in the heart of Leeuwarden, the bold new building housing Friesland’s treasures is a sight to behold on its own.

  • Discover Friesland’s rich cultural heritage and art icons
  • Dive into Mata Hari’s personal scrapbooks, and Gerrit Benner’s lush landscapes
  • A rich treasure trove of Frisian paintings, modern art, relics, costumes and Hindelooper rooms

Friesland’s precious treasures

The museum’s collection tells the stories of Friesland and its people, with objects ranging from rare archeological finds to modern art, from Mata Hari’s personal scrapbooks to beautiful paintings by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Gerrit Benner. Benner’s landscapes especially resonates with the heart and soul of Friesland. Characterised by low horizons that seem to stretch to infinity, his paintings evoke a melancholy view of the region and its people “who can live in isolation, who can take care of themselves, and who allow the rest of the world with its hustle and bustle to glide by silently, like a train on a distant horizon. People from the far north have made friends with the water, with the sea and the falling rain.”

Modern architecture

Even the new, modern building is true to its roots. The bold open-plan building was designed by Hubert-Jan Henket of Bierman Henket Architects bureau, saying that it has a “strong identity, firmly rooted in the ground and has no unnecessary embellishments – typically Frisian in every sense.” The building includes a giant protruding roof elevated 25 metres from the ground on steel and wooden columns and an imposing glass facade. 

After taking in impressive Frisian art and culture, go out and experience what inspired these artists in the first place - the true beauty of the vast Frisian countryside, its seemingly never-ending horizons, and the peace and solace that nature brings.

Mata Hari and Escher at the Fries Museum

In the context of Leeuwarden Cultural Capital 2018, the Fries Museum presents two big exhibitions. Explore the life of the Frisian courtesan Mata Hari from 14 October 2017 through 4 April 2018. One hundred years after she passed away, the Fries Museum presents the biggest Mata Hari exhibition ever. Through personal possessions, photographs, scrapbooks, letters and military files, you will come to know Margaretha Zelle, the girl who became such an iconic Frisian. Travel along from Leeuwarden, the city where she was born, to the Duth East Indies where fate tracked her down.

The ‘Escher’s Journey’ exhibition will open on 28 April 2018. Escher may well be the world’s most famous Leeuwarden native. The Fries Museum is the exhibition’s main location but the Princessehof Ceramics Museum, which is also the house in which Escher was born, will be part of the exhibition.

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Fries Museum
Wilhelminaplein 92
8911BS Leeuwarden