"Harlingen" Harlingen by nighthawk

Harlingen Travel Guide: 21 reviews and 91 photos

General information

On the Frisian Sea shore of Friesland, just north of the Afsluitdijk.

One of the eleven Frisian cities, it originated when two 'stinsen' (strongholds) - Harns and Harlinga - amalgamated. The fortified city became the predominant Frisian port in the early 17th century and attracted rich traders from all over the country whose mansions and warehouses still mark the old town center. In the 17th century, it became the home port of the Frisian and Groningen navy. Some of its newer quays and harbor inlets were built a century ago.

Present day:
Many of Harlingen's neighborhoods are virtually unchanged since the 17th century. Its port is important, both commercially and for recreation. The Frisian Islands of Vlieland and Terschelling depend on Harlingen for their (only) ferry link with the mainland. The port facilities and the proximity of the Afsluitdijk (and the highway from Groningen / Leeuwarden) to Amsterdam and beyond) have given Harlingen an industrial function.

Main attraction:
The city center with its historic canals, alleys, quays and mansions from the Golden Age.

Other features:
The commercial and ferry harbor; the 18th century City Hall; the Grote Kerk from the 18th century which incorporates parts of a 12th century spire. Statues and monuments to Spanish nobleman De Robles (instrumental in rebuilding the sea dikes) and to fictional figures, such as a character from one of native novelist Vestdijk's books and a Hans Brinkers_like boy. The Hannemahuis Museum with exhibits on the local (art) history; the Pottery Museum with samples from erstwhile local and area potteries.

Surrounding area:
Ferry to Terschelling and Vlieland islands; Afsluitdijk and Kornwerderzand War Museum; Heritage manors of the Popta, Oedma, Westra, Hania and Liauckema families; 20th century windmill park at Sexbierum; Frisian cities of Franeker, Bolsward.

Famous sons:
17th century painter Jacob Backer; 18th century painter Nicolaas Bauer; 18th century law expert Prof. Van Assen; 18th century writer Simon Stijl, 20th century Frisian writer Reinder Blijstra; 20th century literary giant Simon Vestdijk.

The city

Do not visit Harlingen just to catch the ferry to one of the islands or drop/pick persons off/up .... make a day of it and walk through the old city, it is not too big and it has nice shops and restaurants ....
No hassle like in some bigger cities, people here are relaxed.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Small provincial town
  • Cons:You do not live here!
  • In a nutshell:Ideal for a day of leisure!
  • Intro Updated Sep 7, 2011
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Reviews (1)

Comments (3)

  • tini58de's Profile Photo
    Jul 24, 2006 at 4:28 AM

    We spent a fabulous day (and night) just opposite of the lighthouse in the harbor crane - a truly exceptional experience!

  • Sep 5, 2004 at 2:22 AM

    Just been reading about the crane lighthouse and lifeboat- incredible! Jem

  • dila's Profile Photo
    Feb 25, 2003 at 9:08 AM

    nice pictures of harlingen.


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