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Meet the partners: Cultural heritage in Friesland

The CULT-TIPS partners are spread across the whole of Europe and live close to some fascinating cultural heritage. In this series of blog posts we'd like to introduce you to some of the iconic heritage that our partners want to share!

A legendary tour connecting 11 Frisian cities

The tour on skates

On 2 January 1909 the first official Elfstedentocht was organized by De Friesche IJsbond. The Elfstedentocht on skates is the first and therefore the oldest trip along the eleven cities of Friesland. To date, fifteen tours have been organized, the last so far in 1997. Every year, the tour is fully organized (on paper) by the board and other employees. The actual execution depends on the weather.

The fact that the tour cannot be organised every year because it needs a harsh winter has undoubtedly contributed to the cult status of this tour. In addition, skating over 200 kilometres through the Frisian landscape, literally in all weathers, is also heroic. Whether as a participant in the competition or in the tour, it is admirable!

The tour on bike

For more than 100 years, on Whit Monday about 15,000 participants have been cycling the Cycle Cities Tour. The route of this 235 kilometre long tour starts and finishes in Bolsward. Participants start in 23 different groups, in the morning between 05.00 and 08.00 hours in the centre of Bolsward. Every 8 minutes a group starts with about 650 participants. The draw system takes care of the classification of the different groups. In order to complete the tour, participants must have collected all stamps at the various stations and be at the last finish check in Bolsward by 24.00 hrs at the latest.

And the tour by motorbike, car or solex is also taken place every year in Friesland on Whit Monday.

11Fountains in Friesland

Since Leeuwarden-Fryslân Cultural Capital of Europe 2018, the eleven cities of Friesland have been equipped with unique fountains. Eleven internationally renowned artists have designed special water artworks in all eleven cities. High time for an Eleven-City Tour along these pearls.

So although the most famous tour on skates is not taken place every year, the tour is very much alive because of the alternatives.

The Oldehove


In Leeuwarden, the capital of Friesland, a province of Leeuwarden stands a crooked but famous tower.

The build of this crooked tower started in 1529. Before that there was a small church there. The intention was to build an entire church. But unfortunatly during the building of the tower it started to lean. There was no saving it. It should have been 120 meters. The build stopped at 39 meters.

The Oldehove is an important landmark for Leeuwarden and its inhabitants. There is even a saying in the city dialect that says ” A’k de Oldehove niet sien ken, dan foel ik my onwennnich”. Which could be translated as: If I can’t see the Oldehove, I feel uneasy.

You can visit the tower. There is a look-out built at the top from which there is an amazing view of the old city centre and far beyond.

In the square in front of the tower, where the church would have been build, many festivals and events are held throughout the year. So the tower and its square are still very much alive!

Dutch partners: Learning Hub Friesland and Kunstkade

Our two Dutch partners are both based in Leeuwarden, the capital city of Friesland in the Northern Netherlands. Learning Hub Friesland are coordinating the CULT-TIPS project and Kunstkade are helping develop and test materials with their network of 60 schools.


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