Leeuwarden is the capital of the Dutch province Friesland. Located in the North-West of the country, Leeuwarden and Friesland as a whole are often overlooked by visitors. As the Netherlands are small, however, and the famous "Afsluitdijk" connects Friesland to the provinces in the west, it's just a good 90 minutes drive from Amsterdam to Leeuwarden. For those willing to make the trip, the city has lots of history to offer, plus an insight in the proud local culture of the Frisians.
The municipality has a population of 122,293. The region has been continuously inhabited since the 10th century. It came to be known as Leeuwarden in the early 9th century AD and was granted city privileges in 1435. It is the main economic hub of Friesland, situated in a green and water-rich environment. Leeuwarden is a former royal residence and has a historic city center, many historically relevant buildings, and a large shopping center with squares and restaurants. Leeuwarden was awarded the title European Capital of Culture for 2018. The Elfstedentocht (Eleven Cities Tour), an ice skating tour passing the eleven cities of Friesland, started and finished in Leeuwarden. The following towns and villages within the municipality have populations in excess of 1,000 people: Leeuwarden, Stiens, Grou, Goutum, Wergea, Jirnsum, Reduzum, and Wirdum. The municipality is governed by the mayor Ferd Crone and a coalition of the Labour Party, Christian Democratic Appeal, and GreenLeft.