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Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018 ISPA Congress - About Leeuwarden-Friesland
Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018 ISPA Congress - Main Graphic
Schedule of Events
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About Leeuwarden-Friesland
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Hashtag: #LF18ISPA

The Netherlands

You can find the Netherlands in Western Europe. A small country with a rich history and 17 million inhabitants. Most people like to cycle, which explains why there are more bicycles in The Netherlands than people! Of course you know the Netherlands because of cheese, wooden shoes and tulips but there is so much more to discover. There is a vibrant performing arts culture, and the Netherlands is the home country of the best DJ’s in the world. The Dutch are active worldwide in creating sustainable solutions for global challenges which relate to environment, food, health and energy. Did you know that the Netherlands is the undisputed world leader in water management? Also, the country is the world’s 2nd largest exporter of agricultural products, after the US.

The capital, Amsterdam, is loved by tourists. But why not visit a different Dutch city… Leeuwarden for example?


Map of Photo of Leeuwarden-Friesland and adjacent countiesOnly 1.5 hours from Amsterdam you will find Leeuwarden, the capital of Friesland. Our capital city is the city of a hundred names. Leeuwarden, Liwwadden, Leewadden, Ljouwert, Luwt, Lintwarde: it’s the ideal starting point for an unforgettable trip through Friesland. With a city center that is still the best kept secret of the Netherlands, with a tower that leans more than the one in Pisa and special, down to earth people who are always ready for a chat and a beer.

Did you know that the royal family has roots in Leeuwarden? Leeuwarden was the capital of the Netherlands from 1584 to 1747. This is still reflected in the city today. The royal family lived in the Stadhouderlijk Hof – a hotel that you can stay in during the ISPA Congress! 

Slow Living - Hear directly from Frisians!

Slow living: a real art. We don’t want to boast or anything, well maybe just a little bit. Frisians do everything a bit differently. Just a bit more relaxed, logical and friendlier. A bit more idiosyncratic, and maybe a bit slower, but definitely more free. We do just about everything more or less the same as the rest of the Netherlands, but all the little ‘just a bit differents’ combine to make Friesland completely different. That’s why our character is so elusive for many Dutch people. It’s why Escher is not just an artist, Doutzen Kroes is not just a model and Sven Kramer is not just a skater. It is difficult for the rest of the Netherlands to define us and our quirks because we do things our own way. But give us a chance, and we’ll show you how fantastic it is to live like a Frisian."

(Discover Friesland, LF2018)

Leeuwarden-Friesland European Capital of Culture 2018Photo of a street festival in Leeuwarden-Friesland

Leeuwarden-Friesland (LF2018) is proud to host the European Capital of Culture this year: A prestigious title that gives the city and region the opportunity to host a year-round cultural program that shows the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe and beyond.

The program reflects the urgency of an agricultural region, where city and countryside, native and new-comer must work together. It therefore offers many surprising combinations: artists with bio-diversity, theatre with immigration and festivals as a lab for sustainable innovation. It’s not art for art’s sake, but art as the medium for change, the artist working within communities to shape a new environment. The result is a banquet of a program created by a grassroots movement, which in Frisian is called iepen mienskip - an open sense of community. This is the foundation stone of our program which brought thousands of people together who want to shape the future through the medium of a European Capital of Culture. 

The program is not only extraordinarily rich for the culture lover, but also for the ecological and social activist. World renowned street theatre, Royal de Luxe, will visit the Netherlands with their giants for the first time. Eleven top International artists have been commissioned for the biggest fountain building project the country has ever seen. And world theater comes to Leeuwarden in Strangers on Stage, while museum enthusiasts can indulge in comprehensive exhibitions that explore De Stijl, Dadaism, Escher and the ever-mysterious Mata Hari.

During the ISPA Congress, a lot is going on in Leeuwarden-Friesland. Some of the events you can visit are:

Leeuwarden-Friesland’s Performing Arts Landscape

Attending the 102nd ISPA Congress in Leeuwarden-Friesland, The Netherlands offers you the great opportunity to extend your stay to explore more of the European Capital of Culture of another part of The Netherlands.

We have put together a list of neighboring festivals with discounts specially arranged for you, the congress delegates, to provide the opportunity to visit the Oranjewoud Festival prior to and the Oerol Festival or Holland Festival after the ISPA congress.

Photo of Leeuwarden-Friesland