Last updated

Franeker Voorstraat.jpg

Voorstraat in 2007
Flag of Franeker.svg
Franeker wapen.svg
Coat of arms
Location in Franekeradeel in Friesland in the Netherlands
Map NL Frjentsjerteradiel Frjenstjer.png
Location in the municipality of Franekeradeel
Coordinates: 53°12′N5°32′E / 53.200°N 5.533°E / 53.200; 5.533 Coordinates: 53°12′N5°32′E / 53.200°N 5.533°E / 53.200; 5.533
Country Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands
Province Frisian flag.svg Friesland
Municipality Waadhoeke vlag.svg Waadhoeke
Population (1 January 2014)
  Total 12,781
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code8801-02
Telephone area 0517

Franeker (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈfraːnəkər]  ( Loudspeaker.svg   listen ); West Frisian : Frjentsjer) is one of the eleven historical cities of Friesland and capital of the municipality of Waadhoeke. It is located north of the Van Harinxmakanaal and about 20 km west of Leeuwarden. As of 1 January 2014, it had 12,781 inhabitants. [1] The Eise Eisinga Planetarium, established in 1781, is located in the city.

West Frisian language Germanic language

West Frisian, or simply Frisian is a West Germanic language spoken mostly in the province of Friesland in the north of the Netherlands, mostly by those of Frisian ancestry. It is the most widely spoken of the three Frisian languages.

City rights are a feature of the medieval history of the Low Countries. A liege lord, usually a count, duke or similar member of the high nobility, granted to a town or village he owned certain town privileges that places without city rights did not have.

Friesland Province of the Netherlands

Friesland, also historically known as Frisia, is a province of the Netherlands located in the northern part of the country. It is situated west of Groningen, northwest of Drenthe and Overijssel, north of Flevoland, northeast of North Holland, and south of the Wadden Sea. In 2015, the province had a population of 646,092 and a total area of 5,100 km2 (2,000 sq mi).



Map of Franeker from the Atlas Schoemaker (c. 1710-1735) Atlas Schoemaker-FRIESLAND-DEEL3-3058-Friesland, Franeker.jpeg
Map of Franeker from the Atlas Schoemaker (c. 1710–1735)

Franeker was founded around 800 as a Carolingian stronghold. The name probably derives from Froon-acker, meaning "country of the king"; the oldest street in the city is still called Froonacker. Beginning around the 11th century, Franeker developed into the administrative center Westergoa.

Westergoa was one of the seven sealands and one of the three that now lie within the borders of today's Dutch province of Friesland. Later it was one of the three goaen of Frisia. In the Middle Ages Westergoa most probably formed the political centre of the Frisian realm.

Franeker received city rights in 1374. In the 15th century, Albert, Duke of Saxony established himself in Franeker. The city appeared for a time to be growing into the primary city of Friesland, but was eventually overshadowed in this role by Leeuwarden.

During the period of the Dutch Revolt, the town sided early on with William I.

Dutch Revolt war in the 16th century

The Dutch Revolt (1568–1648) was the revolt of the northern, largely Protestant Seven Provinces of the Low Countries against the rule of the Roman Catholic Habsburg King Philip II of Spain, hereditary ruler of the provinces. The northern provinces (Netherlands) eventually separated from the southern provinces, which continued under Habsburg Spain until 1714.

William the Silent founder of the Dutch Republic, stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht, leader of the Dutch Revolt

William I, Prince of Orange, also known as William the Silent or William the Taciturn, or more commonly known as William of Orange, was the main leader of the Dutch Revolt against the Spanish Habsburgs that set off the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) and resulted in the formal independence of the United Provinces in 1581. He was born in the House of Nassau as Count of Nassau-Dillenburg. He became Prince of Orange in 1544 and is thereby the founder of the branch House of Orange-Nassau and the ancestor of the monarchy of the Netherlands. Within the Netherlands he is also known as Father of the Fatherland.

From 1585 to 1811, the city housed the University of Franeker, which was the second Protestant university in the Netherlands. It was closed shortly after the incorporation of the Kingdom of Holland into the French Empire. A successor institution, the Rijksatheneum, was founded in 1815, but in 1847 it, too, closed.

University of Franeker university

The University of Franeker (1585–1811) was a university in Franeker, Friesland, the Netherlands. It was the second oldest university of the Netherlands, founded shortly after Leiden University.

Kingdom of Holland former country

The Kingdom of Holland was set up by Napoléon Bonaparte as a puppet kingdom for his third brother, Louis Bonaparte, in order to better control the Netherlands. The name of the leading province, Holland, was now taken for the whole country. In 1807 Prussian East Frisia and Jever were added to the kingdom but in 1809, after a British invasion, Holland had to surrender all territories south of the river Rhine to France.

First French Empire Empire of Napoleon I of France between 1804–1815

The First French Empire, officially the French Empire, was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Although France had already established an overseas colonial empire beginning in the 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic after the Revolution. Historians refer to Napoleon's regime as the First Empire to distinguish it from the restorationist Second Empire (1852–1870) ruled by his nephew as Napoleon III.

Before 2018, the city was part of the Franekeradeel municipality and before 1984 the city was a municipality of its own.

Franekeradeel Municipality in Friesland, Netherlands

Franekeradeel is a former municipality in the northern Netherlands. It was created in 1984 by combining an earlier Franekeradeel municipality with the city of Franeker and parts of the former municipality of Barradeel. On 1 January 2018 it merged with the municipalities of het Bildt, Menameradiel and parts of Littenseradiel to form the new municipality Waadhoeke.


Franeker is located at 53°12′N5°32′E / 53.200°N 5.533°E / 53.200; 5.533 in the municipality of Waadhoeke in the northwest of the province of Friesland in the north of the Netherlands. It is east of the city of Harlingen, north of the Van Harinxmakanaal and about 20 km (12 mi) west of the provincial capital Leeuwarden.


As of 1 January 2014, the city of Franeker had a population of 12,781.


The Eisinga Planetarium (right) and the adjacent bar in 2011 2011-07 Franeker Planetarium.jpg
The Eisinga Planetarium (right) and the adjacent bar in 2011


The Eise Eisinga Planetarium and the Museum Martena are museums located in the city. The Planetarium is an orrery built by a local wool carder to explain a conjunction of the planets and to help mitigate local fears of what would happen during the planets' alignment. Built in Eisinga's own living room, it is one of the oldest operating orreries in the world. [2] The Museum Martena, opened in 2006, is housed in a manor house built in 1498 and is devoted to the history of the city and the region.


The windmill Arkens is a hollow post mill which has been restored. It originally stood in Arkens and was moved in 1972. It is the only windmill in the Netherlands equipped with Vlinderwieken (English: Butterfly sails). [3]


Frisian handball in Franeker Kaatsen Franeker.JPG
Frisian handball in Franeker

Since 1852 Franeker is the home of the PC  (nl ). the most important tournament in Frisian handball.

Franeker is a regular host of the Frisian draughts competitions. [4]

Being one of the Frisian cities, Franeker is also on the route of the 200 kilometres (120 mi) Elfstedentocht (Eleven-cities Tour), an endurance skating event held at irregular intervals depending on weather conditions.

In August 2014, Jeffrey Peereboom, a student from Franeker, introduced an idea of the speed limits for bicycles in order to make biking in the city safer. [5]


Franeker Stadhuis (Town Hall) Franeker stadhuis 03c.JPG
Franeker Stadhuis (Town Hall)

Franeker railway station is a station on the NS line between Leeuwarden and Harlingen. It also had a station on the North Friesland Railway which was the terminus of a branch from Tzummarum. The line opened in October 1903 and closed in October 1933. The station building survives.

Notable people

Related Research Articles

Leeuwarden City and municipality in Friesland, Netherlands

Leeuwarden, Stadsfries: Liwwadden) is a city and municipality in Friesland in the Netherlands. It is the provincial capital and seat of the States of Friesland. The municipality has a population of 122,293.

Elfstedentocht 200km long skating tour in the Netherlands

The Elfstedentocht is a long-distance tour skating event, almost 200 kilometres (120 mi) long, which is held both as a speed skating competition and a leisure tour. It is held in the province of Friesland in the north of the Netherlands, leading past all eleven historical cities of the province. The tour is held at most once a year, only when the natural ice along the entire course is at least 15 centimetres (6 in) thick; sometimes on consecutive years, other times with gaps that may exceed 20 years. When the ice is suitable, the tour is announced and starts within 48 hours.

Sexbierum Village in Friesland, Netherlands

Sexbierum is a village in the municipality of Waadhoeke, in the central north of the Netherlands. The village is famous for its contraction of the words "Sex", "Bier" and "Rum". Because of this, the traffic sign of the village is subject to street sign theft.

Dronryp Village in Friesland, Netherlands

Dronryp is a town in the Dutch municipality of Waadhoeke. On January 1, 2017, it had 3,281 inhabitants.

Eise Eisinga Dutch astronomer

Eise Jeltes Eisinga was a Dutch amateur astronomer who built the Eise Eisinga Planetarium in his house in Franeker, Dutch Republic. The orrery still exists and is the oldest functioning planetarium in the world.

Stiens Village in Friesland, Netherlands

Stiens is a town in the municipality of Leeuwarden, Netherlands with a population of about 7,545 in January 2017.

Sint Annaparochie Village in Friesland, Netherlands

Sint Annaparochie is the principal and largest settlement of the municipality of Waadhoeke in Friesland, the Netherlands. It lies approximately 15 km northwest of Leeuwarden and had approximately 3945 inhabitants I January 2017. The village is named after Saint Anne, the mother of Mary.

Sint Jacobiparochie Village in Friesland, Netherlands

Sint Jacobiparochie is a town in the municipality of Waadhoeke in Friesland, the Netherlands. It lies about 13 km north of Franeker and had approximately 1,365 inhabitants in January 2017.

Boazum Village in Friesland, Netherlands

Boazum is a Frisian village in the municipality of Súdwest-Fryslân, Netherlands with an approximate population of 397 in January 2017. It is one of the first described communities in Friesland. The Boazum church is an example of romanesque twelfth-century architecture and possesses an Ottonian fresco portraying a beardless Christ.

Firdgum Village in Friesland, Netherlands

Firdgum is a small village in Waadhoeke in the province of Friesland, the Netherlands. It had a population of around 60 in January 2014.

Tzum Village in Friesland, Netherlands

Tzum is a village in Waadhoeke municipality in the province of Friesland, the Netherlands. It had a population of around 1164 in January 2014.

Schalsum Village in Friesland, Netherlands

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Franeker railway station railway station in the Dutch village of Franeker

Franeker is a railway station located in Franeker, Netherlands. The station was opened on 27 October 1863 and is located on the Harlingen–Nieuweschans railway between Harlingen and Leeuwarden. The train services are operated by Arriva.

Eise Eisinga Planetarium Science museum in Franeker, Netherlands

The Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium is an 18th-century orrery in Franeker, Friesland, Netherlands. It is currently a museum and open to the public. The orrery has been on the top 100 Dutch heritage sites list since 1990 and in December 2011 was placed on a provisionary list of future UNESCO World Heritage Site candidates. It is the oldest working orrery in the world.

Arkens, Franeker windmill

Arkens is a Hollow Post mill in Franeker, Friesland, Netherlands which has been restored to working order. The mill is listed as a Rijksmonument, number 15710.

Eelco Alta was a Frisian clergyman, theologian, and veterinarian.

Waadhoeke Municipality in Friesland, Netherlands

Waadhoeke is a municipality of Friesland in the northern Netherlands. It was established 1 January 2018 and consists of the former municipalities of Franekeradeel, het Bildt, Menameradiel and parts of Littenseradiel, all four of which were dissolved on the same day.


  1. Aantal inwoners per buurt/dorp - Franekeradeel
  2. "Planetarium Friesland".
  3. "Franeker, Friesland" (in Dutch). Molendatabase. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  4. Frisian Draughts
  5. "Dutch city introduces speed limits for bicycles". Dailymotion.