Leeuwarden, a city of 100 000 inhabitants, is located in northwestern Netherlands in the Friesland region. The city has a long history: settlements’ oldest remains dates back to 2nd century AD in Roman times. Even though Leeuwarden is the capital of Friesland, the region has eleven cities connected by water. Frieslandians have a strong local identity and sense of regional pride. As such, the region’s cultural field is rather locally focused and inward looking, though this isn’t necessarily a weakness.
Leeuwarden’s ECoC year’s theme was “Iepen Mienskip”, which could be loosely translated as “Open Community”. An important part of the theme and the year’s programme was grassroots movement and development. About 90 percent of the 800 projects implemented during theyear were designed and delivered by locals! As such, Leeuwarden, like Oulu2026, had a strong bottom-up-mentality (did you know that Oulu2026’s core values were formed during workshops with pupils and sudents?).
Photo: Iris van den Broek / Holland.com