|Province of the Netherlands|
Leeuwarden library building
|Anthem: De âlde Friezen|
Location of Friesland in the Netherlands
|• King's Commissioner||John Jorritsma|
|• Land||3,349 km2 (1,293 sq mi)|
|• Water||2,392 km2 (924 sq mi)|
|• Density||190/km2 (500/sq mi)|
|• Density rank||11th|
|ISO 3166 code||NL-FY|
|Religion (2005)||Protestant 30%
Roman Catholic 6%
The province itself, of which the north western area once was part of the ancient, larger region of Frisia, has 646,000 inhabitants (2010).
In 1996 the Friesland Provincial Council resolved that the official name of the province should follow the Frisian spelling rather than the Dutch spelling, resulting in "Friesland" being replaced by "Fryslân". In 2004 the Dutch Government confirmed this resolution, putting in place a three-year scheme to oversee the name change and associated cultural programme.
The province of Friesland is occasionally referred to as "Frisia" by, amongst others, Hanno Brand, head of the history and literature department at the Fryske Akademy since 2009, however the English-language webpage of the Friesland Provincial Council refers to the province as "Fryslân".
Friesland is the largest Dutch province if one includes areas of water; in terms of land area only, it is the third largest province. Most of Friesland is on the mainland, but it also includes a number of West Frisian islands, including Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog, which are connected to the mainland by ferry. The province's highest point is at 45 metres above sea level, on the island of Vlieland. There are four national parks: Schiermonnikoog, De Alde Feanen, Lauwersmeer (Groningen and Friesland) and Drents-Friese Wold (Drenthe and Friesland).
A proto-Frisian culture slowly began to emerge around 400-200 BC. The Roman occupation of Frisia began in 12 BC with the campaign of Nero Claudius Drusus in Germania. The early eighth-century AD is known for the Frisian king Redbad and the missionary Saint Boniface.
At the start of the Middle Ages, Frisia stretched from what is now the Belgian border to the River Weser in Germany. After incorporation into the Frankish empire, Friesland was divided into three parts. The westernmost part developed at the start of the second millennium into the County of Holland.
Friesland is the only one of the twelve provinces of the Netherlands to have its own language, West Frisian. This is also spoken in a small adjacent part of the province of Groningen, to the east. Closely related languages are spoken in nearby areas of Germany. They are East Frisian (Seeltersk, which is different from East Frisian (Ostfriesisch) and is spoken in the Saterland, and a collection of Low German dialects of East Frisia) and North Frisian, spoken in North Friesland. These languages are also closely related to English.
The ancient cities of Friesland are shown below:
|Dutch||West Frisian||Charter granted|
|Leeuwarden||Ljouwert||1285; renewed in 1435|
Major urban areas
10 largest urban areas by population
|City/town (Frisian name)||Population|
|4||Heerenveen (It Hearrenfean)||28,497|
|8||Joure (De Jouwer)||12,902|
|10||Lemmer (De Lemmer)||10,220|
Source: Fryslân.nl (1 December 2009), mun. and CBS
- De Friese Meren
- Het Bildt
- Kollumerland c.a.
- Súdwest Fryslân
Friesland is mainly an agricultural province. The black and white Frisian cattle and the black Frisian horse originated here. Tourism is another important source of income: the principal tourist destinations include the lakes in the southwest of the province and the islands in the Wadden Sea to the north. There are 195 windmills in the province of Friesland, out of a total of about 1200 in the entire country.
Since the late Middle Ages, Friesland has been renowned for the exceptional height of its inhabitants, who were deemed among the tallest groups of Indo-Europeans. Even early Renaissance poet Dante Alighieri refers to the height of Frieslanders in his Divine Comedy when, in the canticle about Hell, he talks about the magnitude of an infernal demon by stating that "not even three tall Frieslanders, were they set one upon the other, would have matched his height".
|Climate data for Leeuwarden (1971–2000).|
|Record high °C (°F)||12.6
|Average high °C (°F)||4.6
|Daily mean °C (°F)||2.4
|Average low °C (°F)||−0.2
|Record low °C (°F)||−19.9
|Precipitation mm (inches)||66
The province is famous for its speed skaters, with mass participation in cross-country ice skating when weather conditions permit. When winters are cold enough to allow the freshwater canals to freeze hard, the province holds its traditional Elfstedentocht (Eleven cities tour), a 200 kilometer ice skating tour. A traditional sport is Frisian handball. Another Frisian practice is fierljeppen, a sport with some similarities to pole vaulting. A jump consists of an intense sprint to the pole (polsstok), jumping and grabbing it, then climbing to the top while trying to control the pole's forward and lateral movements over a body of water and finishing with a graceful landing on a sand bed opposite to the starting point. Because of all the diverse skills required in fierljeppen, fierljeppers are considered to be very complete athletes with superbly developed strength and coordination. In the warmer months, many Frisians practice wadlopen, the traditional art of wading across designated sections of the Wadden Sea at low tide.
- "Beslut fan Provinsjale Staeten van Friesland" [Resolution of the Provincial Council of Friesland]. Provinciaal Blad van Friesland (in Fries) (7). 28 March 1996.
- "Ook voor rijk heet Friesland Fryslân" [Friesland to be called Fryslân across the realm]. Leeuwardener Courant (in Dutch). 10 November 2004. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- Brand, Hanno (2011). "Frisians". In Cole, Jeffrey E. Ethnic Groups of Europe: An Encyclopedia (Santa Barbara, California). p. 150. ISBN 978-1-59884-302-6.
- "provinsje Fryslan, provincie fryslan English". provinsje Fryslan/provincie fryslan. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- Alighieri, Dante. Divine Comedy, "Inferno", Canto 31, line 64, in The Portable Dante, ed. Paolo Milano, trans. Laurence Binyon, Penguin, 1975 ISBN 0-14-015032-3
- Historical population Friesland 1714–2000,Tresoar.
- CBS Population 2010
- Emigration to the United States (Dutch)
- "Knmi.nl" (in Dutch). Retrieved 18 March 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Friesland.|
- Website of visitFryslân.nl
- Website of the province
- Frisian Film Archive
- Frisian Droughts
- Geofrisia.com Ynterfrysk geografysk porteal, Interfrasch geografisch portåål, Interfräisk geografisk Portoal
- "Friesland". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911
|North Holland \ IJsselmeer||Flevoland||Drenthe|