Leeuwarden is most definately a city worth visiting at least 2 times a year, or more often if you like. A few weeks ago I went to the Esscher exhibition in the Fries Museum and of course leaving Leeuwarden without going to the city center was no option. Wander Women could do with a new and fresh article about Leeuwarden so a bit of photo shooting time was included in my visit. Besides the fact that a new article about Leeuwarden is no frivolous luxury, new coffee places and interesting shops also seem to open in Leeuwarden all the time. Leeuwarden is a cosy city with great architecture and great vibes. Like to experience the full Leeuwarden vibes? Then start your visit in Leeuwarden at Stek (just like my mom and I did a month ago), a former bridge operator house redecorated and made into a cool cafe on the waterfrond, viewing the famous leaning Oldehove tower.
Would you like to read more about Stek? Do check our blogpost about our favourite veggie (of course!) places to have a bite to eat or have a drink. This post will be online soon. It will feature all the cafes mentioned in this post and a few others.
Shopping in Leeuwarden
The Fries Museum had lots of great exhibitions in the recent past like Alma Tadema, Mata Hari and now Esscher. It goes without saying Leeuwarden is a great choice to be the Cultural Capital 2018 of Europe. And if you visit Leeuwarden, you will probably notice the Liwwadders (inhabitants of Leeuwarden in the Frisian language) are doing their best to make it a succesful year.
I really like going to Leeuwarden with my mom. She was born and raised in this lovely city and when I was little we often went to Leeuwarden for a fun day of shopping. For shopping Nieuwestad (a street along the main canal) is the place, just like the Wirdumerdijk, Naauw and Voorstreek. Chains like ZARA and H&M are located here. A few years ago I doscovered it’s way more fun to wander through the smallers streets like Kleine Kerkstraat, Grote Hoogstraat, Nieuwe Oosterstraat (which was the 2nd most popular shopping street of the Netherlands in 2016) and the Kelders.
Kleine Kerkstraat, Leeuwarden
In the Kleine Kerkstraat you can find Barrevoets; a great place for coffee or other drinks. In this street there are mainly smaller shops with specialty products, like art and design, flowers, specialty food and fashion boutiques. These shops are small and really add to the real Leeuwarden experience. You won’t find any big chain stores here. Kleine Kerkstraat was elected twice as the most popular shopping street of The Netherlands (in 2010 and 2012). If you walk towards the end (or the beginning – from whichever side you are entering) around the corner you will see the well known leaning tower Oldehove and around the other corner the ceramic museum Princessehof is located.
Sint Jacobsstraat, Leeuwarden
Until 2 years ago we rarely walked through the Sint Jacobsstraat. But 2 years ago I discovered a few interesting shops in this street, like ZenZi Mind & Lifestyle and Ny-na. Zenzi sells esoteric products: singing bowls, meditation pillows, incense and yoga materials. Ny-na is short for Nynke and Anna. In this shop you can buy colourful clothes, scarves, bags and lots more. For clothes they offer brands like King Louie and Blutgeschwiter (both fair and sometimes sustainable). Furthermore they sell mugs, key chains and other gift items with an exotic feel.
During this Leeuwarden visit I discovered concept store Nørd (full name: NØRD, coffee & products). This shop sells everything related to coffee: for preparing coffee but also home decoration, side table books and toys.
Nieuwe Oosterstraat, Leeuwarden
Liz Boetiek Vintage is one of our favourite shops in Leeuwarden. Anneloes found 2 perfect pairs of cowboy boots here a few years ago, which she still loves to wear during the winter. Close to Liz Boetiek Vintage you’ll find Over & Weer, where you can also buy vintage clothes. Liz Boutiek Vintage is located on the Ossekop to be more precise, on the corner of the Nieuwe Oosterstraat.
De Wereld van Thee is also a great shop to check out if you love tea. Gift store De Pluymgraaff sells fair and sustainable brand Feuerwear (bags made of re-used fire hydrants) and Froy & Dind clothes (fair and eco!). The antique items at La Brocante are worth having a look at too (but they are a bit pricy though).
Salt & Pepa is located at the corner of the Nieuwe Oosterstraat with the Berlikumermarkt: it’s a colourful fashion store for women. This store sells a few fairtrade and partially sustainable brands like the Dutch brand Zilch and King Louie.
Unfortunately my favourite store in Leeuwarden, Kabinett, formerly located at the Kelders, doesn’t exist anymore. It was shut down last winter. Kelders looks like a cosy part of Leeuwarden, along the canal, but I don’t go there often. In the former Kabinett location you can now find another store: Mevrouw Dientje, and this is definately a lovely store too! At Mevrouw Dientje you can find all kinds of interior decorating items in a green, natural and floral theme. It feels like a welcoming store, with the different shades of green.
A bit further down the road a modern cafe opened its doors: Blikspuit. It’s for people with (younger) kids. There’s a place for the kids to play while you can read a magazine, meet other parents and enjoy a drink. There are morning readings and you can buy vintage toys. On the Blikspuit website you can read more about this new and very original initiative.
In between Kelders and Nieuwe Oosterstraat Broodje Bewust (Groentemarkt 1) is the best place for lunch. This light cafe offers a wide variety of (mostly) lunch options and also a lot of vegan ones. Pie, soups, sandwiches and burgers are on the menu and even cake for dessert or with a coffee. This is a good place for both omnivores and vegans alike.
Soon you can read all about our favourite places to have lunch or where to go for cake and coffees in our new restaurant blogpost.
We’ll also post a blog about vintage advertising and lettering on buildings in Leeuwarden soon. Check back later for updates!