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Walking route 11 fountains: Bolsward

35 minutes (2.7 km)

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About the city walk
If you drive to Bolsward from the provincial capital of Leeuwarden, you will be treated to a beautiful green route, passing villages, meadows and historic windmills. A lovely appetizer before exploring the city. Bolsward is a historic city, with cosy canals and unique churches. The city was founded on three terps, one of which even predates the Christian era. You will find a mishmash of centuries-old façades in different styles, a shopping street along the canal and a town hall that is a work of art in itself. This sixty-minute walk takes you along some of the highlights of Bolsward.

Easy navigation?
View the route in Google Maps

About the fountain
Bats are intriguing, usefu…

About the city walk
If you drive to Bolsward from the provincial capital of Leeuwarden, you will be treated to a beautiful green route, passing villages, meadows and historic windmills. A lovely appetizer before exploring the city. Bolsward is a historic city, with cosy canals and unique churches. The city was founded on three terps, one of which even predates the Christian era. You will find a mishmash of centuries-old façades in different styles, a shopping street along the canal and a town hall that is a work of art in itself. This sixty-minute walk takes you along some of the highlights of Bolsward.

Easy navigation?
View the route in Google Maps

About the fountain
Bats are intriguing, useful animals that play a crucial role in the ecosystem by preying on insects. In Asian culture, bats symbolise wealth, luck and a blessed old age. Here in the West, they represent both dark forces and a positive, saving force. Take Batman, for example, or the façades of the great cathedrals where bats, in the form of gargoyles, keep demons at bay. Which is wonderfully appropriate to this old, fire-damaged church, the Broerekerk. The stairs on the bat’s back invite visitors to symbolically conquer the bat. And in doing so, to transcend themselves.

Sights on this route

11Fountains Bolsward

Broereplein 10
8701 JC Bolsward
11Fountains Bolsward

11Fountains Bolsward

Broereplein 10
8701 JC Bolsward
11Fountains Bolsward

Broerekerk (church)

Broereplein 10
8701JC Bolsward
Broerekerk (church)

St Martin’s Church in Bolsward

Martinikerk Bolsward
Groot Kerkhof 4
8701 HG Bolsward
St Martin’s Church in Bolsward

Museum It Gysbert Japicxhûs

Jongemastraat 2
8701 JD Bolsward
Museum It Gysbert Japicxhûs

Sonnema

Stoombootkade 12
8701 KA Bolsward
Sonnema

City Hall of Bolsward

Wipstraat 1
8701 HZ Bolsward
City Hall of Bolsward

11Fountains Bolsward

Broereplein 10
8701 JC Bolsward
11Fountains Bolsward

Directions

11Fountains Bolsward

Broereplein 10
8701 JC Bolsward
11Fountains Bolsward

The route starts at the Bat Fountain, designed by artist Johan Kreten. The dark bat spews water, like gargoyles used to do on the façades of cathedrals. The church next to this unique fountain, that is safe for children, is not a cathedral. The Broerekerk is a ruin of a monastery church that was built in the 13th century. These days, it has a roof of glass. A very unique feature, which is worth seeing.

Follow the Jongemastraat to the Broerestraat and turn left, across a small bridge. Follow the canal to the Kerkstraat, on your right. You are now walking straight to the church Martinikerk. Note that, along the way to the church, you will see a former orphanage, the Oud Burger Weeshuis, on your right. A hotel is now located in the building, behind the fence there is a green orchard.

The Martinikerk church is open for visitors, so take a look inside. You will see two stained glass windows, some frescoes, and an impressive organ. But don’t just look up, as there is much to see on the floor too. The deep reliefs of the tombstones on the floor are beautiful, but be careful not to stumble over them.

Continue the route by walking around the church, to the street Kleine Dijlakker. The façades along the canal are centuries-old and not one looks the same. In the summer, picturesque pompeblêden, the Frisian name for the leaves of water lilies, grace the canal. The lilies bloom in June. After a short walk along the canal, you arrive at Museum Gysbert Japicxhuis. This building has a beautiful stepped gable. Gysbert Japicx, poet and founder of Frisian literature, was born here.

Across the street you will find the Titus Brandsma Museum, dedicated to Titus Brandsma (1881 - 1942), father Carmelite, journalist, publisher, professor and resistance hero. Next to it is the beautiful St. Francis basilica, which is a work of art in itself.

After a short walk, turn right on the Nieuwmarkt and follow this street until you arrive at the Skilwyk, where you turn left. Follow the Dijkstraat to the Stroombootkade on your left. Follow this street until you see the distillery Sonnema on your left. Here they know the art of distilling Beerenburg! If you want to take a look inside, you need to make a reservation.

Continue the route along the water and pass friendly boat people bobbing on the canal. At the modern church Gasthuiskerk turn left, into the Witherenstraat. Here you will notice that Bolsward was built on terps (man-made mounds), because this street goes up, towards the city centre, where you will see the beautiful town hall of Bolsward. The walls of this late Renaissance-style building are covered with miniatures and proverbs in Latin. The building is currently being renovated. In 2021 it will house a new historic centre, with a library, archive, restaurant and an antiquities room.

If you turn right, you will arrive at the Broerekerk and its Bat again. But on your left, there is the shopping street with its cosy shops and cafes. Why not descend on one of the café terraces and raise your glass to the beautiful town of Bolsward? All cafes and restaurants in Bolsward can be found here.

11Fountains Bolsward

Broereplein 10
8701 JC Bolsward
11Fountains Bolsward

Attributes

  • Marked: Yes
  • Type of Route: City walk
  • Route obstacles: Flat
  • Route characteristics: Theme route
  • ChildrenYes
  • GroupsYes
  • FamiliesYes
  • Young peopleYes
  • AdultsYes
  • Senior citizensYes
  • WheelchairYes
  • StrollerYes
  • Dogs on leashYes