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Leeuwarden: Royal City of the Frisian Nassaus

While in Leeuwarden, discover traces of the seven Frisian stadtholders of Nassau. They are not difficult to spot. Two palaces, the Stadholder tombs in the Grote of Jacobijnerkerk and the city park Prinsentuin, are just some of the magnificent places reminiscent of this royal past. Monuments, buildings and street names also serve as reminders of the connection with the royal house.

    Ancestors of the first king of the Netherlands

    In 1813, the first king of the Netherlands, William I, was crowned. His grandfather was Willem Carel Hendrik Friso, stadtholder of Leeuwarden until 1747. In that same year he left for The Hague as William IV, hereditary stadtholder of all the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Because he left Leeuwarden, this meant the end of the royal city, although his mother lived in her palace the Princessehof until her death. Princessehof is now a Ceramics Museum, with period rooms that bring alive the past of its royal resident Princess Maria Louise of Hesse-Kassel (1688-1765).

    City walking tours

    Go on a royal voyage of discovery through Leeuwarden with a city guide. Learn about Friesland’s history and royal past.

    Read more about the city walking tours

    Bicycle route: From the Royal City to the Wadden

    Get on your bicycle and discover the Royal City and the Wadden. During this 69-kilometres-long bike tour, you will discover large country houses and stinzen (fortified manors). Many of these country houses and stinzen remained in the hands of the same families for centuries. The route takes you past several of these stately homes and stinzen. They evoke the rich history of prosperous Friesland.

    Read more about the bicycle route

    Royal sights in Friesland

    The story of Maria Louise as a regent

    Maria Louise played a special role during the hereditary succession of the family. Not once, but twice she fulfilled the important role of regent. The first time as a young woman for her unborn son and later at the age of 71. She did this before her grandson became the first king of the Netherlands. She was nicknamed Marijke Muoi (aunt Marijke), because she was so loved by the Frisians. This is just one story about the Frisian Nassau family. There are countless other stories to discover within the rich history.



    In this podcast, we delve into the special stories of the women of the House of Orange-Nassau. Which beloved Frisian lady is behind the continuation of the Orange Dynasty? Where are the palaces that we owe to the taste of an Orange lady? Follow in their footsteps and discover Royal Holland.

    Listen to the podcast


    In a new NBTC Holland podcast, Sybrand Buma, mayor of Leeuwarden and Marlies Stoter, curator of the Fries Museum, talk about the Royal House and the Frisian Nassau family.

    Listen to the podcast