Leeuwarden

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Leeuwarden (About this sound pronunciation , Stadsfries: Liwwadden, Frisian: Ljouwert, pronounced [ˈʎɔːw(ə)t]) is the capital city of the Dutch province of Friesland. It is situated in the north of the country.

Contents

History

The area has been occupied since the 10th century (although recently, remains of houses dating back to the 2nd century AD were discovered during a dig near the Oldehove), and was granted a town charter in 1435. Situated along the Middelzee, it was an active trade centre, until the waterway silted up in the 15th century. In 1901 the city had a population of 32,203.

Famous natives of Leeuwarden include stadtholder William IV of Orange, graphic artist M. C. Escher, and dancer-spy Mata Hari, as well as the theologian Dr. N.H. Gootjes.

During World War II, after extensive occupation by the German forces, on 15 April 1945, the Royal Canadian Dragoons, disobeying direct orders, charged into the heavily defended city and defeated the Germans, who were driven out by the next day.

Etymology

The name "Leeuwarden" (or old spelling variants) first came into use for Nijehove, the most important one of the three villages that later merged into one, in the early 9th century (Villa Lintarwrde' c. 825).[1]

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