City Walk along the best-known Monuments of Leeuwarden
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1. The former City Archive of Leeuwarden - Grote Kerkstraat 29
The main building of the former City Archive of Leeuwarden dates from 1933. It was originally built for the ‘Buma bibliotheek', which is a collection of classic books that once belonged to Lieuwe Annes Buma, who studied and collected many books on the language and writing of ancient civilizations. The library was taken up by Tresoar, the Provincial Archive.
The architectural design was done by D.F. Wouda, who is famous for his design for the steam pumping station near Lemmer. His design for the library was like a ‘stadsstins'(city palace): two wings that are built in a rectangle and form a small square. The cast iron gate has an art-deco design. The interior has a panelling of blended green and black tiles.
2. Coulonhûs/Fryske Akademy - Doelestraat 8
The Coulonhûs was named after Anthony Coulon, a pupil of the architect royal Daniël Marot. Coulon built the luxurious home for himself and his family in 1713. Their portrays are still in the ironing room. In the same room a richly painted ceiling has been preserved. Just as the mantle piece, richly ornamented, with a mirror and painting above. Especially striking is the ornamented plasterwork in the hallway, representing Aurora. The entrance and the windows date from the 19th century.
In 1938 the solicitor Nanne Ottema became the owner of the Coulonhuis. He enriched the interior with pieces from other propriety, among which was an antique painted wallpaper in Louis XV style. Ottema gave the building to use to the just founded Fryske Akademy (Frisian Academy), which got possession of it in 1958. In the same year the new end house could be connected to the building of the Fryske Akademy, after a fundraise by all Frisian town councils. To show their appreciation, the Fryske Akademy has placed all the municipal arms of the Frisian municipalities on its façade.
Recently the Fryske Akademy bought the Noorder Kerk, which is at the top of the garden of the end house and made it into a conference room called ‘It Aljemint'.
3. De Koperen Tuin - Prinsentuin
After the defensive walls around Leeuwarden lost their functionality, Willem Frederik had a garden laid out for the viceroy's family in Leeuwarden: the ‘Prinsentuin' on the Northern rampart, in 1648. At the far end of the garden, a stylish royal summerhouse arose.
The ‘Prinsentuin' was renovated according to a design by Pieter Roodbaard at the beginning of te 19th century and was from that moment, open for public. City Architect Gerrit van der Wielen built a new summerhouse, which served as a club society. This building had narrow wings on both sides, with balconies on top. In 1954 the summerhouse was enlarged. In the western wing a teahouse was situated, called after a novel by Simon Vestdijk, a writer who lived in Leeuwarden, with the title ‘De Koperen tuin' (English translation: The garden where the brass-band played).
4. Pier Pander Museum - Prinsentuin
The Frisian sculptor Pier Pander, who had a studio in Rome, left all of his sculptures to the city of Leeuwarden after he died in 1919. Especially for this heritage a new wing was built to the former summerhouse, in which the Pier Pander Museum was established.
5. Pier Pandertempel - Noorderplantage
For the group of standing figures that personify ‘the human qualities' in general and the soul of the artist especially, the Pier Pandertempel was built. The small temple of art is an interpretation of Pander's original design for an all-embracing artwork. The temple was built on the highest point of the party unearthed Noorderbolwerk (Northern bastion). Until 1882 the corn mill ‘De Leeuw' was situated here. The old miller's house is still there.
6. De Oldehove - Oldehoofsterkerkhof
In 1529 the architect Jacob van Aaken was appointed to built a new church tower. When the tower was 10 metres high it started to sink in, on the side of the stairs. The builders tried to correct this by building straight up again, which made the tower, not only slanted, but curved too. The base of the church tower was made of layers of chalk and clay and apparently was not strong enough to support the weight, as the tower stooped more and more. After three years the Oldehove was forty metres high and one and a half metres out of line. The built was brought to a hold and also the church that was to be built at the spot, in order to replace the ragged old Church of Saint Vitus wasn't built. Later on the pointed arch windows and the portals in the lower parts were cemented to benefit the stability of the tower.
7. Museum Princessehof - Grote Kerkstraat 11
The Princessehof (the princesses court) was occupied by the widow of the viceroy, princess Maria Louise van Hessen Kassel, from 1731 to 1765. The building consisted of a U-shaped complex of three residences, that architect royal Anthony Coulon had rebuilt to be one palace. De 16th century Liauckamastins with the corner tower forms the right wing. From the era of the palace remains a Baroque dining room, with gold-leather wallpaper and a ceiling of ornamental plaster. In later days the residences were inhabited separately, mostly by the rich and famous, amongst whom the graphic artist M.C. Escher, who was born in the house in the middle in 1898. De city council of Leeuwarden bought the complex of buildings to serve as a shelter for the collection of china, a heritage of Nanne Ottema. In 1970 this lead to the present ‘keramiekmuseum Princessehof' (museum of china and earthenware).
8. Discotheek Fire - Nieuwstad 49
The building situated on the Nieuwestad 49 was a civilian home in Empire style built in 1806. The front, covered in bluestone, is still intact. Even on the inside empire-decorations were preserved. The built of the house was commissioned by the most well-to-do Pieter Cats. Jan Maaskamp, an architect from Amsterdam, designed the house. The site was considered the most outstanding residence of those days. In 1933 the city council bought this house and the coachman's home next to it to have them altered into the fire station and the police station. Since the eighties a discotheque called Fire has been situed here. The former holding cells were made into toilets.
9. Museumwinkel - Nieuwesteeg 5
The ‘Museumwinkel'(museum shop) is situated in a building which is four hundred years of age. In the 18th century mayor Jacob Bourboom lived in this house. He gave the building some grandeur by placing a rococo façade with woodcut window frame. In 1901 the Feenstra family took the place on as a grocery and home. Since these days hardly anything about this monument has changed. Broker C.H. Boomsma bought the house in 1922 and took care that the ‘Museumwinkel' was realised.
10. Patershuis - Bagijnestraat 57
The ‘Patershuis' was the main building of the cloister buildings of the sisterhood of the ‘Grauwe Bagijnen' which came into being around 1500, in the Bagijnestraat. The buildings in this complex were interconnected. Amongst them was the ‘Westerkerk'. De Bagijnen lived and worked as a community in these buildings. Later notable inhabitants have reconstructed and rebuilt the Patershuis continuously and adjusted the place to modern ideas. In 1905 solicitor J. Tjebbes had the house rebuilt by architect H.H. Kramer. Then it was decorated with the Art Nouveau ornaments like the ornamented roof and the leaded glass windows that it has now. In the basement there are Middle Aged vaults and Frisian rose tiles still present. This place may be designated for a museum.
11. Westerkerk/Theater Romein - Bagijnestraat 59
The ‘Westerkerk' has been used as a theatre since 1922 ‘Theater Romein', is now a stage for popular music. The church had been a theatre before, in 1615 the Jan Janz. Starter's rhetoricians' chamber performed here. In the course of decades there were a house of detention and a brewery in this place. The building had been empty since the 1580 reformation when all Catholics were expelled. Before that it was the cloister chapel of the ‘Grauwe Bagijnen'.
The Reformed Congregation of Leeuwarden redecorated the church in 1637 and built a second nave on the north side in 1681. The whole project was paid for by selling graves inside the church. ‘Theater Romein' was named after city architect Thomas Romein, who radically rebuilt the ‘Westerkerk' in 1845. Most of the tombs from the church have been moved to an artificial hill in the ‘Leeuwarder Bos'.
12. Stadhuis - Raadhuisplein 36
Three year old Willem Carel Hendrik Friso, prince of Oranje, laid the first brick for the built of the Townhall. This monument in classicist Baroque style was built by City carpenter Claes Bockes Balck, on the vaults of the Auckamastins. The sculptures on the wall, above the entrance, are made by Gerbrand van der Haven, they are the personifications of peace and justice. On the slate roof is a clock dome with a carillon, made by bell founder Claude Fremy in 1678. This carillon was first placed in the Nieuwe Toren in the Grote Hoogstraat, which was demolished in 1884. In the façade, windows in empire style were placed, in 1816.
Inside there is a monumental staircase, with woodcut banisters leading upstairs. Here the original Mayor Board is still situated. In this room gobelins by Baart cover the walls. In the ‘vertrekkamer' is a painted wallpaper from 1789, by W.H. Beekkerk, that pictures Moses surrounded by the 70 eldest'.
At the back of the Town Hall Jan Noteboom built a new boardroom for the municipality of Leeuwarden. The facade of the new hall was ornamented in rococo style, crowned with the City Arms of Leeuwarden. The symmetric interior of the municipal boardroom has been decorated by several Leeuwarder craftsmen and artists. In this room there are also the portraits of the Statesmen and women from 1815 on.
13. Stadhouderlijk Hof - Hofplein 29
Friesland bought a city villa for its new viceroy, Willem Lodewijk van Nassau Dietz, in 1587. In 1603 it was connected to the Dekemahuis at the South end of the building and thus the Stadhouderlijk Hof and its square commenced. The renaissance stepped gable had arched bows and sculptured lions and Arms. Every next viceroy had the Court redecorated for a vast amount of money. In 1709 for instance, Daniël Marot restored the middle part in Louis XIV style. From those days the high staircase and the Nassauzaal with authentic wood panelling remain. In 1734, in the garden a wing was built, in which there were a ballroom, a court chapel, a pharmacy and a bathroom.
When Willem Carel Hendrik Friso left for The Hague, as he became the viceroy for all Dutch regions in 1747, the Court mainly served as a guesthouse for the viceroys family, later the Royal Family. During the French occupation soldiers were stationed in the Court and it sheltered the ‘Stadsweeshuis' (an orphanage), a hospital and the Latin School. Much of the inventory was lost then, but the Nassau portraits, painted by Louis Volders were saved.
In 1814 king Willem I retrieved the building. The last major rebuilt was in 1881. After a design by architect Stoett, the high roofs were topped off, the walls were plastered and a new entry was created, with a balcony above it.
Nowadays the Court is accommodated as a city hotel, in which the valuable cultural and historic features are preserved and integrated in the interior as much as possible.
14. Frysk Letterkundich Museum en Dokumentaasjesintrum - Grote Kerkstraat 212
The building of the FLMD was originally an L shaped nobility house dating from 1545. It was situated on the high point of the hillock called ‘Nijehove-terp'. The first inhabitant was mr. Julius van Geel, the Procurator General of Friesland. From 1883 until 1889 a family Zelle lived here, their daughter later became famous as Mata Hari. In 1977 the building was restored and the stepped tower once again carried a pointed spire.
15. Tuin van het Nieuw Sint Anthony Gasthuis - Perkswaltje
In 1857, the board of the ‘Sint Anthony Gasthuis' acquired the mansion at the Grote Kerkstraat 39, with which there was a garden, stretching as far as the Groeneweg. On this ground architect F. Stoett built a new infirmary. Around the four wings with pavilions at the head, a fashionable country style garden was laid out. The three beeches were already there. By 1900 the garden was redesigned in a more geometrical way. The wooden pavilion in the garden near the Wijde Gasthuissteeg was meant for the inhabitants. The rich had their own arbour in the Minnemawing.
16. Nieuwe Stads Weeshuis/Fries Natuurhistorisch Museum - Jacobijnerkerkhof 1
When in the disastrous year of 1672, the number of orphans rose enormously, the city council of Leeuwarden decided to fund a community orphanage. The ‘Nieuwe Stadsweeshuis' was built in the place of the plague infirmary and was used as an orphanage until 1953. The classicists main gate and guardian room are still in their original state. The neo-mannerist west wing was newly built in 1888. There the main entrance for the ‘Fries Natuurhistorisch Museum' was constructed.
17. Erf van het Boshuisengasthuis - Jacobijnerkerkhof 7
Two Gates give way to the ‘Boshuisengasthuis', which was an accommodation for poor women, so the plaque outside tells us. The founder was Anna van Eijsinga, widow of the juror Philip van Boshuisen. Her initials and birth date are engraved in the pediment of the inner gate. The houses enclose a bleach-field, where there is a wooden pump and an antique lantern. In the reconstruction of 1972 the original appearance of the fronts was maintained.
18. Grote- of Jacobijnerkerk - Jacobijnerkerkhof 95
In the second half of the 13th century the Dominican or Jacobin monks founded a monastery and a church in Leeuwarden. The church was enlarged by four lateral chapels and a vestry. After the reformation took place, the reformed church took possession of the monastery, which was closed, and the church. In the verger still the remains of an old cloister can be found. The choir was the burial ground for the Nassau family. In 1795 the vault was looted and destroyed. The ‘Oranjepoortje' was the private entrance for the royal family.
The ‘Jacobijnerkerk' was restored from 1972 till 1978. Then the 19th century plaster was removed, so that the original red and yellow bricks of the building were visible again.
19. Waalse Kerk - Grote Kerkstraat 222
In the ‘Waalse Kerk' the French speaking members of the royal court and the garrison held their Reformed Services. Before the Reformation the church was a part of the Dominican monastery of the ‘Witte Nonnen', which was founded in 1507. This church owns an organ by organ builder J.M. Schwartsburg, dating from 1735. It was a gift from Anna van Hannover , the wife of viceroy Willem Carel Hendrik Friso. At the restoration in 1986, the church was painted in the warm yellow colour that was often used by Thomas Romein.
20. Bonifatiuskerk - Voorstreek 72
The ‘Bonifatiuskerk' was built between 1882 and 1884 and was designed by P.J.H. Cuypers, the Dutch expert on Roman Catholic churches. Cuypers put a lot of symbolism in this neo-Gothic building. In the facades are rose windows, that are symbols of unending wisdom and true light. The base of the church is a Latin cross, symbol of salvation. In designing the pillar beam and the cross vaults the architect used elements of the 13th century French Gothic style. In 1976 during a storm the spire of the Bonifatius tower broke off.At that moment the tower, with its 85,25 metres, was the highest tower of Friesland. Donations made it possible to replace the spire in 1980.
21. Fries Museum en Verzetsmuseum - Turfmarkt 11
On the corner of the Turfmarkt and the Koningsstraat there once was a small bookshop, owned by Johannes Seydel. Squire Frans van Eysinga built a city villa in Louis XVI style around this shop. In 1806 the corner shop was demolished and Eysinga was able to have his villa made into the square building that it was meant to be. In 1879 the ‘Fries Genoodschap' bought this building and turned it into the ‘Fries Museum'. Inside a lot of original decorations are still intact, especially on the ground floor. A tunnel connects the ‘Eysingahuis' to the ‘Kanselarij' opposite, also a part of the museum.
In de ‘Kanselarij' the Court of Friesland practised law. The building was designed in 1566, under assignment of the Spanish King Philip II. It's a gothic building with some renaissance elements. In front of the roof an enlarged stepped gable protrudes, on which allegoric statues are placed. Four lions decorate the steps. They carry the shields of the Frisian Quarters.
After the closing of the Court of Friesland in 1811, the ‘Kanselarij' housed a hospital , a barracks, the Sate Library and the Provincial Library. Since 1997 the ‘Verzetsmuseum' and some departments of the ‘Fries Museum' reside here.
22. Van Sminiahuys - Tweebaksmarkt 36
The house with the baroque Louis XIV façade was built in 1739 for Catharina van Sminia, widow of the famous baron van Coehoorn. After her death in 1759 the house had several famous occupants. In 1842 the house was owned by mayor Jan Bieruma Oosting. He had the large back garden landscaped in a romantic country style by Lucas Roodbaard.
23. Provinsjehûs - Tweebaksmarkt 52
The main building of the province hall was the residence of the bishop of Leeuwarden, Cunerus Petri, from 1570 till 1578. After the reformation the palace was fitted up for the Provincial Aldermen of Friesland to be seated there. Over the next four centuries the province hall was gradually enlarged by adjoining the neighbouring buildings. In 1784 a new top-floor was built on the entire building. The hall of the Aldermen was then decorated in Louis XVI style. In the authentic coffee room there are portrays of the Nassau family. The Council hall dates from 1895. The neo-gothic design for the leaded windows is by J. van Lokhorst. The paintings show scenes from Frisian History.
24. Haersmahuys - Tweebaksmarkt 49
This coffeehouse was named after Auck van Haersma, who inhabited this place in the 18th century. The original owners of this 17th century house are not known. In the garden façade these inhabitants placed a sculptured wedding-shield. But this was wiped out later on. The front house was built first, after the canal around the ‘Blokhuis' was filled in, in 1580. In the front house a rare ceiling painting with flowers and birds is preserved.
25. Waag - Nieuwestad 148
On the wide quay of the ‘Nieuwestadsgracht'(the canal), an early weigh-house was situated since the 15th century. Here lots of butter cheese and meat were weighed before they could be brought to the market. This raised the city an income by weigh-money. In 1595 the present weigh-house arose, it was built in a renaissance style. Between the two layers of brick there is a classical frieze of nature stone, decorated with rosettes and angelic heads. On the corners, above the porch are sculptured lions, which carry arms. Scale maker Peter Hendricksz van de Ghere produced the large equators, weighing 325 and 400 pounds, on which the scales hung. The weigh-house was restored by architect J. Noordendorp in 1890.
26. Beurs/Bibliotheek Leeuwarden - Wirdumerdijk 34
‘De Beurs' was built in 1880, to house the dairy weigh-house and for the corn-trade. It is an eclectic building, designed by Thomas Romein. The basement of escaussian stone originally held 23 gates. These were later replaced by windows. The bronze doors are also of a later date. The middle part is crowned by a banister with vases and a clockwork.
The function of the Exchange expired within a century, because of the uprising of the dairy industry and the changing management of the agricultural trade. Since 1980 the Public Library houses in the ‘Beurs'.
27. Paleis van Justitie - Wilhelminaplein 1
When in 1838 the judiciary was reorganized, a provincial court of justice and a district court were appointed to Leeuwarden. City-architect Thomas Romein was assigned to design a Palace of Justice to house both institutions. In order to make room for this monumental, neo-classicist building, a part of the city moat was filled in, whereby the Wilhelminaplein was created. With the help of Russian money, Romein was able to start building in 1846. The building was finished in 1851. Romein designed a temple-façade, with six Corinthian pillars on a high flight of steps. The interior is impressive and richly decorated.