Leeuwarden is the capital of Friesland, a province in the north of The Netherlands. Already before the year 1000, people lived on the terp (Frisian hill) that Leeuwarden was founded on. It received city rights in 1435. Around 1500, the city had about 5,000 inhabitants, which was already 16,000 in 1650. At that time, it was in the top ten of Dutch cities. To defend the wealthy city from invaders, a city wall was built, of which hardly anything has withstood the test of time.
The most famous Leeuwarden people are Mata Hari en M.C. Escher. Nowadays, Leeuwarden (or Ljouwert in Frisian) with its 90,000 people is a large regional center in a sparsely inhabited province. The rich history has left the relatively small town around 1,000 monuments, including the City Hall, the Justicial Palace and the former Granary. Also worth a visit might be Otterpark Aqualutra.