in one building

fries museum

Located in Leeuwarden, capital of the Dutch province of Friesland (Fryslân), the Fries Museum has a rich history spanning almost 190 years. In 2013, it moved into the first newly constructed Dutch museum building of the 21st century. As the main repository of Friesland’s material heritage, it is recognised internationally for key aspects of its collection. These include spectacular treasures excavated from ancient Frisian mounds, 17th- and 18th-century Frisian silverware, and works by the 19th-century painter Lawrence Alma-Tadema, who was born near Leeuwarden. Also housed here is the Hindeloopen room that became an international icon of northern European identity at Paris’s Great Exhibition of 1878, as well as items highlighting the legacy of Mata Hari, who was born in Leeuwarden. Museum visitors can admire works by Old Master painters and 20th-century Frisian artists such as Gerrit Benner, and also Dutch and international contemporary art and design. Through these objects, the Museum of Friesland tells stories about Friesland’s eleven cities and the countryside, the love-hate relationship that Frisians have with water, and the quest to define Frisian culture and Friesland’s position in the world.


museum building

The museum contains a café, shop, and auditorium—features which make the facility an intrinsic part of Leeuwarden’s public space. A 22 metre-long wall hanging commissioned by the museum from textile artist Claudy Jongstra enlivens this area. The building also has three cinemas shared with Slieker Film.


Leeuwarden has been named European Capital of Culture 2018. In the run up to Leeuwarden 2018, the Museum of Friesland will present several international exhibitions, including a groundbreaking retrospective of the locally born painter Lawrence Alma-Tadema (2016) and a 2017 project about Mata Hari (a Leeuwarden native executed by firing squad in 1917).

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