Discover Benelux | Leeuwarden | European Capital of Culture
From Sense of Place exhibition. Photo: © Ruben Hamelink, Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018
The power of community TEXT: ISA HEMPHREY
Declared a European Capital of Culture, Leeuwarden and the province of Friesland will celebrate with a substantial programme of events driven by the Frisian community and beyond. Discover Benelux explores what this exciting community has in store to inspire the curious tourist in 2018.
three things: you have to dare to dream, dare to act and dare to be different,” says Oeds Westerhof, legacy director of Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018. These three core mantras are what guide this year’s events, orchestrated not only by renowned international talents, but also by the Frisian community.
As the world faces challenges like that of the environment, we often look to major cities to pioneer and adapt to the inevitable change. Leeuwarden will boldly lead by example, showing not only the vital importance of community, but also how art and culture can be used to inspire changes in how we live now and in the future.
Dare to act
“Our programme is about the future. If you want to find a new future you have to do 76 | Issue 50 | February 2018
A phrase that will be heard often this year in Friesland is ‘iepen mienskip’, meaning ‘open community’, which encompasses the bottom-up initiative of the programme. Although part of the Netherlands, Friesland has a distinguishable culture. But this does not mean Frisians are a closed community. “What is very interesting about the Frisian culture is that we have our own identity, we have our own language that we
speak,” says Jort Klarenbeek, international marketeer of Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018. “In 2018, we want to break that closed sense of community that people might think we are and transform it into an open sense of community.” This programme is built upon a seemingly endless supply of volunteers keen to share their culture and ideas with the world. That is why there is an ‘iepen mienskip’ programme for Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018 separate from the main one with hundreds of projects to explore. Even small Frisian villages like Veenwoudsterwal, with only 128 houses, will not be excluded from the programme’s open community theme as filmmaker Sjoerd Litjens will premiere a series documenting each resident. Projects like Sense of Place
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.