Bolsward is a cosy city where history and architecture play a key role. The centre hosts many monumental buildings. One of these is the town hall from 1615, which is richly decorated. In the town hall, the Antiquities’ room can also be found; this room holds beautiful silver objects created by silversmiths from Bolsward, old coins, and eighteenth-century pottery. Bolsward is built on three mounds. These hills protected the inhabitants against the water. As it is located close to the Wadden Sea, the city became an important trading place in the eleventh century. Ships arrived from afar with products that were sold on the market in Bolsward. Bolsward became a member of the Hanseatic League and acquired city rights in 1455.
Events and activities
On weekdays in July and August, it is possible to make round trips through the canals. In this period, guided walking tours through the historical centre are also organized. The route runs along the Hendrick Nanneshof, the former poor house, on the corner of the Broerestraat. This building still contains a ‘begging counter’. Here, participants in the walk can be ‘endowed’, thanks to an ingenious construction. For more than 100 years, Bolsward has been celebrating the Bicycle Elfstedentoch during Pentecostt! As many as 15,000 cyclists follow the 235 km long route along the 11 cities, which starts and ends in Bolsward on Whit Monday. Every last weekend of June, the ‘Heamiel’ party is organized. Important parts of the Heamiel are the opening with the arrival, the tilting of the ring, the annual fair, the Heamiel meal, various sports competitions, folkloristic dance demonstrations, the Night of the Heamiel, children’s street market, and the closing ceremony.
Bolsward used to have several monasteries and churches. The oldest of these is the Broerekerk, which was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1980. The remains of this church can still be visited. The Martinikerk is without a doubt Bolsward’s most impressive building. Especially the ornate pulpit from 1662, the Hinsz organ, and the choir stalls with fine carvings are worth a visit. In addition to churches, Bolsward also hosts two well-known museums: The Titus Brandsma museum, which contains everything about the Frisian professor, publicist, and Dutch resistance fighter, and the Gysbert Japicxhûs. The birth house of this Frisian poet tells visitors the life story of this remarkable man. In addition, the museum contains a unique text shop with Frisian poems on cards for any occasion.