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Harborcity Harlingen

Harlingen is the only harborcity inFriesland where both the wind and water rule supreme. Lovers of a rich and nautical past will discover beautiful warehouses, amazing facades and extraordinary inner harbors and atmospheric streets.

Ten tips in Harlingen

Sea heroes,treasures and baked clay

Raising the sails

The harborcity of Harlingen used to have four slopes where dozens of warships would go to sea. Alsothe ship of the Frisian seafaring hero Tjerk Hiddes de Vries. The young Tjerk started his career as deck cleaner in merchant shipping and worked his way up to captain and commander of the Friasian-Groninger fleet with over fourty ships. Most of the time, he would sail as a merchant. In the present day, modern seafaring heroes sail out of one of the eleven harbors in Harlingen. They sail to catch fish, transport residents and visitors of the Wadden islands and transport goods. 

City of riches

In the past, Harlingen stood in the shadows of the university city of Franeker. However, being located next to the sea gave Harlingen an important position in trade and it gained city rights in 1234. Earlier than Leeuwarden and about 100 years earlier than Franeker. Through the ages, wellfare increased, something you can still see in the more than 500 monumental buildings through the city. Nowhere else in the Netherlands you will find this much restaurated monuments per square meter. Eat yuor heart out, Amsterdam! From warehouses to churches and lighthouses: they are all a reminder to the rich history of Harlingen.

Frisian tiles from the tile factory

Harlingen ligt op een kleiafzetting. En laat dat nu de basisgrondstof zijn voor de tegels die zich vanuit deze Friese havenstad wereldwijd verspreidden. Diezelfde havens zorgden ervoor dat de andere grondstoffen ook gemakkelijk binnenvoeren. Zoals het tin-glazuur waar nijvere handen de gebakken klei mee beschilderden. De huidige tegelfabriek stampt, plakt, snijdt en drukt de tegels nog steeds met de hand zoals men in de zestiende eeuw deed. Je vindt het Harlinger handwerk internationaal terug in historische kastelen en restaurants, maar ook in gewone keukens en badkamers. Zijn we best trots op. 

Harlingen is situated at a clay deposit. This happens to be a resource used for making tiles, who are distributed across the globe from this Frisian harborcity. Those same harbors enabled other goods and resources to be imported as well, such as the tin glaze used to paint clay pottery. The tilefactory still makes the tiles by hand just like the people from the seventeenth century did. You will find Harlinger craftwork internationally in historic castles and restaurants, but also in ordinary kitchens and bathrooms. Something we are quite proud of.

Events in Harlingen

Meet the other eleven cities of Friesland