The most northerly province of the Netherlands, Friesland, has more than its fair share of architectural wonders, including the following eight stunning windmills, palaces and towers — all of which are protected by the Dutch government as national monuments.
Sneek’s stunning Waterpoort played a crucial role within the city’s defensives for centuries. The gatehouse stands on an important waterway that connects Leeuwarden with Stavoren and allowed officials in Sneek to effectively manage the water traffic flowing between these trading hubs. It’s current, decorative gate dates back to the early 17th century and was built on the foundations of an even older fortification.
Zeldenrust (Seldom at Rest) windmill has stood on the western side of Dokkum’s defensive city walls since 1862. The mill has passed between several owners over the years and was Dokkum’s tourist board in the late 1960s. Its sails and machinery are still in working order and it is possible to visit the mill after booking an appointment.
Fortified buildings have stood on the foundations of Blokhuispoort since at least the 16th century and the complex has either served as a stronghold or prison for most of its history. The current complex was built in the middle of the 19th century and features austere, neo-classical elements such as pointed turrets and red-brick motifs. Blokhuispoort was converted into an enormous cultural centre in the 2007 and now contains dozens of creative businesses.
Blokhuispoort, Blokhuisplein, Leeuwarden, 06 11172362