Leeuwarden, the European Cultural Capital for 2018 and capital of the province of Friesland, with a populations of 200.000, is situated in the north of the Netherlands, about 140 km north east of Amsterdam and 280 km from Hamburg in Germany.
With its small canals and bridges, Leeuwarden is known as “the Venice of the North”. Its historic city center has a captivating cultural heritage, but also numerous café’s, boutiques and small shopping streets. Just north of the railway station lies Leeuwarden's compact medieval centre, surrounded by defensive canals. With no less than 617 buildings listed as national monuments, the city has no lack of heritage to see. The old town is small enough to easily explore on foot, with plenty of time to take in the many historic buildings, or try a mini boat trip: Rent a small electric sloop boat and discover the city on your own via its picturesque canals.
As it is the province capital, Leeuwarden is a regional centre for shopping and services. You'll find the range of shops and large chain stores you'd expect from any city its size, but also a couple of cozy shopping streets and fun boutiques. The Kleine Kerkstraat is considered one of the most charming shopping streets in Holland, with about 30 specialty shops.
A fast intercity train service connects Leeuwarden to both Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport. There are direct connections once per hour and additional ones with a transfer in either the cities of Zwolle, or Almere. To Amsterdam, the journey will take about 2 hours.