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11 Fountains Route (for motorists and motorcyclists)

(198.0 km)

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Enjoy a scenic car or motorcycle ride that visits the 11 fountains in Friesland!

The route is almost 200 kilometres long and offers a rich set of experiences that fill a whole day. In each of Friesland’s 11 historical cities, you stop at a fountain created by an international artist in 2018.

Here is a preview of the 11 fountains you will see along the way:

  1. Dokkum - The Ice Fountain designed by Dutch artist Birthe Leemeijer stands in the Markt market square in Dokkum. The layers of ice are formed by the play of the elements and energy generated by solar panels. The fountain points to the (loss of) connection between man and nature, climate change and the uncertain future of the Elfstedentocht tour skating event.

  2. Leeuwarden - T…

Make it easy to navigate. Follow the route with RouteYou.com on your phone.

Enjoy a scenic car or motorcycle ride that visits the 11 fountains in Friesland!

The route is almost 200 kilometres long and offers a rich set of experiences that fill a whole day. In each of Friesland’s 11 historical cities, you stop at a fountain created by an international artist in 2018.

Here is a preview of the 11 fountains you will see along the way:

  1. Dokkum - The Ice Fountain designed by Dutch artist Birthe Leemeijer stands in the Markt market square in Dokkum. The layers of ice are formed by the play of the elements and energy generated by solar panels. The fountain points to the (loss of) connection between man and nature, climate change and the uncertain future of the Elfstedentocht tour skating event.

  2. Leeuwarden - The mist fountain directly opposite the train station in Leeuwarden was designed by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. The title of the fountain is ‘Love’. Two white heads standing 7 meters high, a boy and a girl, face each other. Their expressions are serene and their eyes are closed. They are surrounded by a circle of mist. The artist drew his inspiration from the sight of early morning mist rising above the fields of Friesland.

  3. Sneek – The Fortuna fountain in Sneek was designed by German sculptor Stephan Balkenhol. The historic Waterpoort water gate for which the city is famous can be seen in the background. The fountain is a new take on the classic symbol of the cornucopia. A man holding a horn of plenty stands on a golden orb that rotates around its axis.

  4. IJlst – The fountain in IJlst, an arrangement of flowers in a monumental steel bowl roughly 4 metres wide, is the most light-hearted and certainly the most colourful of the set. It was designed by Japanese artist Shinji Ohmaki. He drew his inspiration for the flowers from old varieties planted on country estates and for the vase from the ice skates once made by the Nooitgedagt factory.

  5. Sloten – Starting from the top, we see a northern lapwing or peewit in the outstretched hands of a little girl. The little girl stands on the shoulders of a man, who in turn is balanced on a towering pile of buckets and barrels. Standing 5 metres high, the fountain was designed for Sloten by Argentinian artist Jorge Orta and his partner, British artist Lucy Orta.

  6. Stavoren – The Fish Fountain in the harbour at Stavoren is a giant cartoon-like fish with a huge open mouth. It measures 20 metres long and 5 metres high and was designed by American conceptual artist Mark Dion. It alludes to the folktale of the Lady of Stavoren and is a bit like a theme-park attraction. Those who dare can step into its enormous mouth - at the risk of getting wet.

  7. Hindeloopen – The coat of arms of the city of Hindeloopen depicts a tree of life with a stag on one side and a hind on the other. These motifs reappear in the copper and bronze fountain created by Chinese artist Shen Yuan. Water falls from the beaks of birds in the branches of the tree of life, which stands 3.5 metres high in a field next to Nieuweweg road. Large wooden antlers on each side of the tree serve as benches. The fountain is illuminated at night.

  8. Workum – Behind the main church is a fountain featuring the Rampant Lions of Workum depicted in the city coat of arms on the historic Waaggebouw weigh house in Workum. Here, British visual artist Cornelia Parker has blown them up. The wooden lions of the fountain stand 3 metres high and spray water at each other.

  9. Bolsward – The fountain in Bolsward is an eerie-looking bat that spouts water. Steps on its back invite you to climb on it. It stands on Broereplein square in front of the ruins of the old church and reaches 2.30 metres high and 3.80 metres wide. Belgian artist Johan Creten drew his inspiration from the colony of bats in Tjerkwerd and demonic gargoyles on Gothic cathedrals.

  10. Harlingen – Since Harlingen once depended on whale fishing, what could be more fitting than to bring a whale back to its waters? The whale swimming in the harbour is 18 metres long and 2.50 metres high and was designed by Puerto Rican-based artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla. Every now and then it sends up a powerful blast of water just like a real whale. It is possible to travel to it on a ferry.

  11.  Franeker - The most classically styled of the 11 fountains stands in a courtyard next to the church in Franeker. French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel designed it as a tribute to Jan Hendrik Oort, the astronomer who first proposed that the solar system is surrounded by a huge cloud of comets. The fountain is 3.5 metres high and the water streams from a gold sphere.

Which fountain do you like most?

Post your photo with the hashtag #11fountains and #visitfriesland! 

Sights on this route

Starting point: 9101 AA Dokkum
1

11Fountains Dokkum

The Ice Fountain is a toy for the elements and no two days are the same. The ice draws patterns on the copper surface layer of the sculpture.

2

11Fountains Leeuwarden

Love’ consists of two 7 meter high, white sculptures of a boy and a girl. They seem to be looking at each other, but their eyes are closed.

3

11Fountains Sneek

A man with a Horn of Plenty stands on a golden ball in the middle of the water.

4

11Fountains Ijlst

Culture, like nature, consists of layer upon layer. New generations continue to build on a foundation which does not disappear.

5

11Fountains Sloten

The ‘Peewit’ shows a girl standing on the shoulders of a man. She holds a bird in her hand. Under the man’s feet a disheveled pile of buckets, jerry cans and barrels form the base of the fountain.

6

11Fountains Stavoren

The sea gives, the sea takes. Stavoren, once a rich Hanseatic city, has much to say on this subject. Floods, maritime trade wars, a port that silted up: the city fell into poverty several times.

7

11Fountains Hindeloopen

The city coat of arms, with its tree of life, with the deer and the doe surrounding it, is the source of inspiration for the fountain in Hindeloopen.

8

11Fountains Workum

For centuries Workum’s city arms on ‘De Waag’ have been supported by two lions. They are naive and their theatrical pose prompts laughter.

9

11Fountains Bolsward

Bats are intriguing, useful animals, crucial to the ecological system for their insect hunting. In Asian culture, the bat symbolises wealth, happiness and the blessings of old age.

10

11Fountains Harlingen

Harlingen used to be all about whaling. Nowadays we no longer kill these big and grandiose animals, but prefer to conserve them.

11

11Fountains Franeker

The fountain is an ode to the world-famous astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort, who was born in Franeker. His assumption that a ‘cloud’ of billions of comet-like objects is moving around our solar system was a breakthrough in astronomy

End point: 8911 AA Leeuwarden

Directions

Starting point: 9101 AA Dokkum
  1.  De ijsfontein van de Nederlandse Birthe Leemeijer voor de Markt in Dokkum. 

  2. Leeuwarden mistfontein pal tegenover het station, ontworpen door de Spaanse kunstenaar Jaume Plensa. Naam: Love. Twee 7 meter hoge witte kinderhoofden en profil gezien, met een kraag van mist.

  3. Sneek, dat is de Waterpoort. En niet ver van de Waterpoort, aan het Hoogend, staat de fontein van de Duitse Stephan Balkenhol. Een klassiek thema (hoorn des overvloeds) met een nieuw gezicht: een man die de hoorn vasthoudt, en zelf op een ronddraaiende gouden bal staat.

  4. IJlst De vriendelijkste van het hele stel, in elk geval de kleurrijkste, is de monumentale schaal met stalen bloemenvaas van een meter of 4 in IJlst. De Japanse Shinji Ohmaki liet zich voor de bloemen inspireren door stinzenflora en voor de vaas door de schaatsen van Nooitgedagt.

  5. Sloten Als je bovenaan begint: een kievit, vastgehouden door een meisje dat op de schouders van een man staat, die zelf weer op een toren van emmers en vaten balanceert. 5 meter hoog is de fontein die Jorge en Lucy Orta (Argentinië/Verenigd Koninkrijk) voor Sloten bedachten.

  6. Stavoren Want de fontein De Vis voor Stavoren is een reusachtige fantasievis met opengesperde bek. 20 meter lang, 5 meter hoog. Het beeld van Mark Dion (VS) herinnert aan het Vrouwtje van Stavoren en doet Efteling-achtig aan, want je kunt zijn bek in lopen. Met risico op nat worden.

  7. Hindeloopen In het wapen van Hindeloopen staan een boom, een hert en een hinde. Die keren terug in de koperen en bronzen fontein van Shen Yuan uit China, een 3,5 meter hoge levensboom met vogels erin die water spuwen. Die staat op een veldje bij de Nieuwe Weg. Eromheen liggen als lange banken stukken hertengewei, in hout. ’s Avonds verlicht.

  8. Workum The Rampant Lions of Workum - vind je naast wapenschilden, ook in Workum op het Waaggebouw. De Britse Cornelia Parker blies ze op tot drie meter hoge beelden van twee leeuwen van hout.
  9. Bolsward Je kunt erop klimmen, de wat spookachtig uitziende, waterspuitende vleermuis die in Bolsward gewoon op straat, op het Broereplein staat. Hij is 2,30 meter hoog, 3,80 meter breed en de Belgische kunstenaar liet zich inspireren door de vleermuizen in Tjerkwerd en de demonische waterspuwers (gargouilles) aan gotische kathedralen.

  10. Harlingen was een belangrijke haven voor de walvisvaart, dus wat lag er meer voor de hand dan de walvis er terug te brengen? Jennifer Allora en Guillermo Calzadilla (Puerto Rico) ontwierpen een 18 meter lange, 2,50 meter hoge walvis. Hij komt bij de haven. Nu en dan spuit hij, net als de echte walvis.

  11. Franeker De Breedeplaats in Franeker moet groener worden, er komen steentjes met licht in en in een hofje naast de kerk staat de klassiekste van deze elf fonteinen. De Franse maker Jean- Michel Othoniel bedoelt hem als hommage aan sterrenkundige Jan Hendrik Oort. Die bedacht de ‘oortwolk’ een schil om het zonnestelsel heen waar kometen vandaan komen. De fontein, 3,5 meter hoog, heeft bovenin een wat kleinere oortwolk, waar het water uit een gouden bol komt.
End point: 8911 AA Leeuwarden