A quick hello from the north

Hi there,

I am currently in the north. More specific, I am in the city of Leeuwarden and I wanted to share a couple of pictures with you on how beautiful this city looks. To those not familiar with The Netherlands, Leeuwarden has a bit of a bad reputation. In fact, when I first went there, I was a bit scared.
The north of The Netherlands sadly has a bigger unemployment rate and especially the province of Friesland is known for that. Leeuwarden being the province capital therefore was described to me as poor, dangerous and not so well maintained. Friesland sadly also does not have a university so the spectrum of culture would be limited.
Seriously, if someone paints a picture like that of a city to you, why would you ever want to go, right? And even more striking, why is anyone still living there if this place is basically a rotten, forgotten slum?
I went there despite the bad reputation, mainly because my Mr moved there. So I thought, if he is willing to live there, it cannot be all that bad, right?
Now, I am not going to lie. The city is small, and to get to the next bigger city one would have to travel quite a bit. Also, the city is poor. A lot of appartment blocks and quite some are social housing. But still...

Still, it has its own charme. The charme of a city that never had been glamourous. Leeuwarden has never been the Amsterdam of the north. The people here are humble, quiet and hard working. They do not want to draw attention to themselves and be known at all costs. Though this character trait does make it difficult for me to walk the city as wearing vintage does not exactly help blending in... Back to the city. Being small is not always a bad thing. Even at the most crowded time of day, I can easily navigate around and will not be trampled by a million tourists while running errands. Big, big plus! As far as culture and lifestyle goes, I found that whatever Amsterdam and the area have to offer, you will be able to find it here. All you have to do, is look more closely and accept that the variety to choose from is somewhat limited.
Example: I looooove cocktails. A lot. And a perfect night out for me is having a cocktail with friends in one of those high-end bars sprouting all over Amsterdam. Some of them are even hidden. Now, you will not find this exclusive fancy-schmanzy kind of bar around here. It would not survive, there are simply not enough people able or willing to spend 15 euros on one drink. But: we found two bars until now that serve decent drinks and are able to also mix things that are not on the menu. I will probably dedecate an extra post on those.

So, bottom line. The north of the Netherlands has its own charme and is a nice place to be if you stay open minded and stop comparing it to Amsterdam.

Happy weekend!


Retro Chick said…
Your photos of it are lovely, it looks beautiful!

Sometimes it's nice to explore places that are off the beaten track and a bit forgotten. I went to Rotterdam recently, I think most people go to Amsterdam if they are visiting Holland and not many go to Rotterdam, but it was lovely to explore a place where people actually live instead of full of tourists!
Kristel Klear said…
You are absolutely right. Amsterdam these days is crowded with tourists, which is why I do not live there. I commute every day from a town 20km west of Amsterdam. As for the north, I am actually considering making this a mini series. The north has a lot to offer but seems to struggle with a bit of a bad reputation... and lack of creativity when it comes to promoting itself.
Rotterdam btw is an interesting choice. The city has a very unique feel to it. Did you visit "Very Cherry"? It's a very cute retro clothing store.