In 2018, Leeuwarden-Friesland celebrates its European Capital of Culture year with a rich vein of cultural programming, hosting hundreds of magnificent and unique events. Among the array of festivals, shows, performances and concerts taking place in Frisian cities and across the expansive rural landscapes include the first visit to the Netherlands of the towering Giants of Royal de Luxe, exhibitions focusing on visionary Frisian icons like Mata Hari and M.C. Escher, and the erection of 11 fountains created by 11 world-class visual artists in each of the region’s historical cities. And as this is only a small sample of the incredible roster of events set to create a new legacy for the region’s remarkable community, there’s never been a better time to visit Leeuwarden and Friesland, a truly breath-taking part of Holland.
Immerse yourself in Friesland’s unique community and landscapes at Sense of Place and 11Fountains
Incredible spectacles at Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018
Magnificent art at Leeuwarden’s Fries Museum
Immerse yourself in Leeuwarden-Friesland’s year as European Capital of Culture
Visit Leeuwarden-Friesland in 2018 and immerse yourself in its superlative European Capital of Culture celebrations, featuring magnificent spectacles, beautiful landscapes and inspiring communities. The year-long extravaganza will break down borders as people from around Europe come together to confront big themes: sustainability, identity, integration and community, all while exploring Friesland’s unique nature and culture. After a grand opening on the weekend of 27 and 28 January 2018, more than 50 major projects and hundreds of community initiatives begin, and the countryside and cities transform into the perfect stages to showcase Leeuwarden-Friesland’s many attractions.
Highlights include Sense of Place, in which the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea and surroundings take the starring role, hosting innovative land art and architecture projects. Elsewhere, Friesland’s diverse cities star in 11Fountains, as 11 renowned international visual artists create unique artworks for each city, highlighting its rich history and culture. And during a three-day theatrical extravaganza, the awe-inspiring Giants of Royal de Luxe visit the Netherlands for the first time, marching along the iconic Afsluitdijk to the city of Sneek and Frisian capital Leeuwarden.
Get to know Friesland’s cultural icons during Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018
As well as its dazzling highlights, Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018 features an array of unmissable exhibitions and events. These offer visitors the perfect chance to connect with the Frisian people, and explore the region’s language, history and open community – or ‘iepen mienskip’, as the locals call it. This includes exhibitions in honour of ground-breaking Frisian icons such as Mata Hari and M.C. Escher at one of Leeuwarden’s cultural treasures: the Museum of Friesland. Also in Leeuwarden, ‘De Stormruiter’ sees almost 100 Friesian horses star in a story about the eternal battle against the water, and for the ‘8ste Dag’ project, technology, education, craft and folk entertainment meet in an enormous Rube Goldberg machine installation, featuring a chain reaction between hundreds of objects.
The ‘Welcome to the Village’ festival will see chefs, farmers, carpenters and more come together to create a temporary summer village while sharing ideas and skills, and farmers and poets from around Europe will exchange produce and poetry in ‘Potatoes go Wild’. In Harlingen, grand sailing ships will form the backdrop of the international literary festival The Sea! The Sea! during the final weekend of the The Tall Ships Races 2018, exploring the role of the sea in our way of life. While in Sneek, thousands of musicians and tens of thousands of people arrive for youth music festival At the Watergate. And then in November, you can do it all again as ‘Re-opening’ hosts countless events to help relive the most memorable moments of Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018 and to present a new vision of the future of the region.
Watch this video: Leeuwarden-Fryslân 2018