Bolsward, Netherlands


Bolsward (Frisian: Boalsert) is a city with 10,120 inhabitants (January 1, 2020) in the municipality of Súdwest-Fryslân, in the Dutch province of Friesland, which lies south of Franeker, northwest of Sneek and east of Makkum. The city is located on the north side of the A7 and the Wijmerts and through the city flows include the Stadsgracht and the Leeuwardervaart. Bolsward also includes the hamlets Knossens, Laat en Zaad (partly) and Spreeuwenstein.

Bolsward is one of the eleven cities. Until 2011 it was the capital of the former municipality of Bolsward.



Bolsward originated on three mounds, of which at least the oldest (on which the Sint Maarten church stands) dates from before the beginning of the era. The Broerekerk, destroyed by fire on 8 May 1980 and now preserved as a ruin, is the oldest building in the city and dates partly from the end of the 13th century. The statue of Our Lady of Sevenwouden of Mary also dates from the Middle Ages, nowadays kept in the Basilica of St. Francis on the Dijlakker.

Bolsward received city rights from Philip the Good in 1455, thanks in part to the orator Father Brugman. Bolsward was a Hanseatic city.

The town hall of Bolsward, built around 1615, is a sign of the city's prosperity in the seventeenth century. It was enlarged in 1765 and decorated in the Rococo style.
In the second half of the eighteenth century the population of Bolsward declined from 2878 inhabitants in 1748 to 2500 inhabitants. The local textile industry was severely affected by foreign competition; the butter and cheese market suffered greatly from the cattle plague that raged in the Frisian countryside.

The Patriot Time in Bolsward
The patriots in Bolsward received national press coverage between 1782 and 1789. The influential mayor Van Hiemstra was passed over, the town hall retained its old size, a voluntary militia was established, in which Willem Lycklama à Nijeholt and Cornelis van den Burg played an important role as the two captains. Bolsward was the only Frisian city that recognized the Pretense States in Franeker in September 1787.


Bolsward as a place of pilgrimage

Bolsward is a place of pilgrimage because in the Basilica of St. Francis of Bolsward is a grace statue of Mary, Our Lady of Sevenwouden from the end of the 13th century.



The old town with canals, the town hall, the traditional distillery "De Stiekeme Stoker" (Oenema Fryske Bearenburch), the distillery Sonnema Berenburg, the Frisian Bierbrouwerij and whiskey distillery, and orphanage Hid Herohiem (now Hotel / Restaurant). The city has dozens of national monuments and 75 municipal monuments. Part of the city is a protected cityscape, one of the protected city and village views in Friesland.



Eleven Cities Bicycle Tour. The Cycling Eleven Cities Tour, until 2009 called Elfsteden Rijwieltocht, is an annually organized tour by bicycle along the Frisian eleven cities over a distance of 235 km. The tour is organized by Stichting de Friese Elfsteden Rijwieltocht. The tour was organized for the first time in 1912 and has been held every year on Whit Monday since 1947. In 2009 the name Elfsteden Rijwieltocht was changed to Fietselfstedentocht so that the name fits better with everyday language. The name of the organizing foundation remained unchanged.

Stepelfstadentocht. The Stepelfstedentocht is a spin-off of the Elfstedentocht, where participants take a ride through eleven Frisian cities on a scooter. The ride has been organized by the Bolswarder Step Association since 1985 and is ridden annually on Whit Monday. The tour takes you past all eleven cities and the entire tour is 230 kilometers long. In 2015, the annual number of participants has risen to about 175. The first tour was set up in 1985 as a sponsored tour to raise money for playground equipment from a daycare center. Thirteen participants then started the trip on the scooter. The route followed is the same as that of the Cycling Eleven Cities Tour, which will be held a day later on Whit Monday. Many of the participants in the Stepelfstedentocht cycle the next day. The route is the same: the route starts in Bolsward and leads via Harlingen, Franeker, Dokkum to Leeuwarden. Then the route goes back to Bolsward, via Sneek, IJlst and Sloten to Stavoren and via Hindeloopen and Workum back to Bolsward. It starts at midnight and the entire tour takes between 4 and 5 pm, so most scooters arrive back in Bolsward late in the afternoon.

Heamiel. Four-day festival in June, celebrating that the hay has been taken off the land. Fair and on Thursdays traditional 'hay meal' and market.
BOLStjurrich. Street festival on the Saturday of the Heamiel. Mix of theater, music, acrobatics and party.
International Folkloric Dance Festival. During the Heamiel.
Bulbous sole. Bull Thursday.
Night market. Large market during the evenings.
Simmerwike. Musical festival with four evenings of music performances on a large pontoon in the Kruiswater, mid-August.
ParkBOP. Free music festival in the Juliana Park.



Primary education
Public: The Buildup, The Blinker
Roman Catholic: Sint Maartenschool
Protestant/Christian: CBS de Bron

Secondary education
Marne College, secondary school for tto, vwo, havo, vmbo and lwoo



Handball associations: KV Bolsward
Korfball club: kv Westergo
Chess club: Westergoo
Skating club: Skating Training Bolsward (STB)
Tennis club: De Drie Posten
Football club: SC Bolsward
Volleyball club: VC Bolsward
Swimming club: Swimming and Polo Club Bolsward



Bolsward is located on the A7 and has two connections, connection 17 (Bolsward) and connection 18 (Bolsward-East). It is located on the N359 and can be reached by water via the Wijmerts, the Makkumervaart and the Oude Kloostervaart. Bolsward has no train station. There was a tram connection with Sneek from 1882-1968 and a tram connection with Harlingen from 1882-1947. The tram station on Snekerstraat now houses a garage.

The bus station located on Twibaksdyk on the western edge of Bolsward has been open since January 9, 2022. Regional lines 44, 92, 96, 98, 99, 192 and 199, among others, stop here. As a result, bus traffic in the center could be reduced and the old bus station could be closed and converted into a car park. Instead, a stop was made on Gasthuissingel. On the Kloosterlaan on the eastern edge of Bolsward there is also a bus station with remnants of the furniture of the interliner that used to run there in the past.