"In 2018 we will be showing how we Friesen celebrate life, how we courageously stand out from the crowd, to show the world our idiosyncratic way, our landscape is the stage and everyone is invited."

Leeuwarden, the capital of the province of Friesland in the northwest of the country with 100,000 inhabitants, shows a different side to what we are used to from the European Capitals of Culture of the past: no spectacular new buildings, no big names in arts and culture, no lighthouses. Leeuwardens' most famous children are the spy Mata Hari and a painter of optical illusion, M.C. Escher. For both of them there will be exhibitions in the Fries Museum, where you will also get an unexpected insight into the Frisian while visiting the permanent exhibition.

Under the slogan "Iepen Mienskip" ("Open Society"), chosen confidently in the Frisian language, the entire province is the venue of the Capital of Culture. The population was and is strongly involved in the organization and artistic matters - from the former Jewish and present-day multi-cultural district of Vorstreek to the Frisian villages around Leeuwarden. There is a strong sense of belonging together.

Important themes in the Capital of Culture year are furthermore: the public space, sustainable forms of life, "water" (close to so much sea, lakes, channels and canals), nature in general and the city palaces from the 18th century with their currently very different usage.

The city is in the middle of a process of remodeling: Old and new architecture are sometimes in vigorous confrontation. Various projects have been developed, such as the rededication of old city palaces in exhibition and project rooms, a prison became a hostel in which one sleeps in cells, a church with its movable altar, which becomes a concert location, or a former post office and an abandoned bank that get transformed into a hotel and a grand café.

Leeuwarden has not been selected as "European Capital of Culture 2018" due to a multitude of museums and theatres, but because of a thematically and sustainably oriented cultural program - thus the city could successfully prevail against the competitors Eindhoven and Maastricht.

Official homepage: https://www.friesland.nl/de/kulturhauptstad-2018 
Contact: info@capcult.org

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