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Blog: 7 Things to see and do in Bolsward

| Redactie VVV Waterland van Friesland

Not the biggest of the eleven famous Frisian cities, but a gem all the same, for the former Hanseatic city of Bolsward has preserved its historical riches and treasures well. As soon as you see the city hall, you'll understand why the city centre has a protected cityscape. But there's much more to discover. Are you coming?

Discover the 7 treasures of Bolsward

1/ Cultural-Historical Centre ‘De Tiid’

Bolsward has many monumental buildings. What no one can miss, however, is the town hall from 1615. This is the showpiece of the city. Here you will find Cultural-Historical Centre De Tiid (‘The Time’), a house full of stories. Discover the stories about poet and writer Gysbert Japicx and Titus Brandsma, among others, and take a look in the Antiquity Room, library or the Grand Café.

Discover Cultural-Historical Centre ‘De Tiid’
Bolsward stadhuis voorjaar 2e prijs gemeentegids 2016 een tekst met de hand geschreven

2/ City canals

The prosperity of the dairy trade in the 17th century is clearly reflected in the houses from that time that were built around the city canals. Prominent canal-side houses with façades in baroque, rococo, and neoclassical styles can be found at the Appelmarkt and the Marktstraat. On the longest canal, called De Dijl, you can spot marvellous cornices and wonderfully decorated stepped gables. In the summer, opt for a cruise through the historic canals.

Read more about the city canals here
centrum van bolsward huizen aan het water in bolsward

3/ broerekerk

Constructed in the 13th century as a monastery church of the Greyfriar Franciscans. The church burned down in 1980. In 2006, the ruins were brought back to life in an ingenious form by architect Jelle de Jong. The glass roof he designed has returned this oldest monument of Bolsward to its social function. And provided it with 'divine' lighting. Don't forget to bring your camera. 

Visit the Broerekerk
broerekerk in bolsward voorkant van de broerekerk in bolsward

4/ The bat fountain

Inspired by the gargoyles that decorate the cathedrals and symbolically protect them against evil, Johan Creten designed the bat fountain for Bolsward. This fountain is part of the 11Fountains art project. The steps invite you to climb the bat in order to conquer your fear of it. To rise up above yourself therefore. 

Read more about the fountain
trap van de vleermuisfontein in bolsward

5/ bulwark

The Hoog Bolwerk (High Bulwark) in Bolsward is a recognizable remnant of the 16th-century defences: the moat and ramparts. The canals that run around the city centre of Bolsward and the associated system are a conservation area and, together with the Hoog Bolwerk, they form a national monument. Take a walk on the shell path of this wall along the water and wander off to earlier times.

Read more about the Bulwark
groene bomen langs het water

6/ Martini Church

The Martini Tower with its large saddleback roof has dominated Bolsward’s silhouette for centuries. Not surprising when you consider that this church is no less than 68 meters long. This important monument in Friesland is usually open almost every day. Go inside and take a look at the fairly well-preserved vault paintings from the 15th and early 16th centuries. Also admire the choir stalls that are among the most important remains of medieval sculpture in the Netherlands. After your visit, stroll around the church and experience the serene atmosphere that has lingered here for centuries.

Visit the Martini Church
martinikerk in bolsward

7/ Eleven cities bicycling tour

There hasn’t been an official eleven cities skating tour (Elfstedentocht) since 1997. It has been many years since it froze long enough or hard enough to organise the ‘mother of all skating tours’. But what does start every year on Whit Monday is the 11-city cycling tour. At 235 kilometres long, it’s also quite a challenge. Especially if you encounter headwinds and a rainstorm. That’s why the Helftstedentocht (helft = half) cycle tour is a nice alternative. It’s 89 kilometres long and starts in Bolsward.

Check the route
een groep fietsers van de fiets elfstedentocht fietst door de weilanden fietsers van de fiets elfstedentocht

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