Freisland – Culture Capital of Europe 2018

I usually browse through lonely planets list of places to visit. When I saw this year’ list for Europe with Freisland featured on it, I felt stupid of never being to this place even though its so close home (I have been living in Noord Holland – Bewerwijk, Haarlem for the last 5 years). And so the plan was set for the following Sunday. 

Freisland lies at the extreme northern corner of Holland including the popular island of Terscheling. The capital is the beautiful town of Leeuwarden. Leeuwarden is the “Cultural Capital” of Europe of the year 2018. For those of you who have no clue what this means – every year the EU designates a city as the cultural capital to organize cultural events celebrating the diversity of Europe and the city in turn gains the spotlight to get exposure at an international scale. This year Leeuwarden shares this sahres the title with Valleta, Malta. Leeuwarden was not damaged much during world war II which means you will find a very intact town with old architecture and charm

There is a direct train connectivity from Amsterdam Zuid to Leeuwarden which takes a little above 2 hours. However the best way to get there I feel, coz that’s what I did ! is by car. But also because it gives you an opportunity to drive over the Dutch engineering marvel – the afsluitdijk – a causeway built to dam off the Noord zee and convert it into a fresh water lake of Ijsselmeer. It’s a long drive and they have built resting points in between to admire the views on both sides – by the way given the stretches of water on both sides you never know which side is the sea.

Leeuwarden is a charming town with canals and dotted with cultural expositions, sculptures, colorful houses, cafes and restaurants, arty building facades – truly capturing the essence of Culture. The Oldehove which is a leaning and unfinished church tower is a dominant structure at the centre of town. It’s a steep climb but well worth the views of the town that you get from above. Its also a great place to catch on the history of the church as they have organized various programs. Also the Freis museum and specially the cafes around the square give you a feel of relaxed life. Do enjoy a beer and immerse in the laid back attitude.

As part of the “Culture Capital” a lot of events have been organized. Do check out the website to check the events calendar before you plan a visit. I was at the biergarten which is like an open air club with DJs playing music and people generally letting their hair down with a beer glass in hand. Soak in the party vibe and chill.

It’s a pity I couldn’t do the mud wadelen and explore the islands but it remains a #ToDo item for sometime in the coming months. Stay tuned for the stories from the trip !

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