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UNESCO World Heritage in Friesland

UNESCO is known worldwide for the World Heritage Convention and the associated World Heritage List. This treaty was concluded in 1972 and aims to protect important places for the future. These places don't necessarily have to be beautiful, but they all have something special.

There are twelve UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Netherlands, three of which are in Friesland. The Woudagemaal, the Wadden Sea and the Eise-Eisinga Planetarium. Leeuwarden is also a UNESCO City of Literature. Find out everything about these special places here.

the Planetarium

The Eise Eisinga Planetarium in Franeker is an impressive planetarium built by Eise Eisinga in the 18th century. It is considered the oldest functioning planetarium in the world and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2023 due to its historical and scientific significance.

the woudagemaal

The Woudagemaal is an UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Netherlands. It is the largest functioning steam pumping station in the world and played a crucial role in controlling water levels in Friesland. UNESCO recognized it for its historical and technical significance, making it an icon of international cultural heritage.

the Wadden Sea

The entire Wadden Sea is on the UNESCO World Heritage List due to its unique ecological value. It is the largest contiguous tidal area in the world and is home to a rich biodiversity. UNESCO recognizes the Wadden Sea as an important habitat for birds and marine life, making it a valuable international heritage.

UNESCO City of Literature

Leeuwarden proudly claims the title of UNESCO City of Literature. This prestigious award is given to cities that place a particular emphasis on language and literature. It is a tribute to the rich literary tradition and cultural heritage of Leeuwarden and Friesland. Literature comes to life in Leeuwarden. The city breathes creativity and offers a lively environment for writers, poets and literature lovers. With numerous literary events, libraries and inspiring initiatives, Leeuwarden is a true oasis for the literary soul.

Colonies of Benevolence

The Colonies of Benevolence are historic settlements in the Netherlands and Belgium that were founded in the 19th century to combat poverty and give the underprivileged a new start. Although most of these colonies are not in Friesland, there is an important connection to Friesland due to its proximity to the provincial border. UNESCO has declared the charity colonies a world cultural heritage site due to their social and historical significance, thereby granting them special status on the border with the Frisian region.