Heerenveen (Frisian: It Hearrenfean, Stellingwerfs: et Vene) is the capital of the municipality of Heerenveen with the same name, in the Dutch province of Friesland. It is located southeast of Sneek and southwest of Drachten, between Joure and Gorredijk. In 2020, the town had 29,505 inhabitants, making it the largest town in the municipality.



Heerenveen is the oldest peat canal village in the Netherlands. The place was created in 1551 at the crossroads of the Heeresloot (officially, Frisian: Hearresleat, formerly: Heerensloot) and the Schoterlandse Compagnonsvaart. Here was also the Heereweg, the connecting road Zwolle-Leeuwarden. The digging of these two canals was initiated by three gentlemen: Van Dekema, Cuyck and Foeyts. On July 24, 1551, they founded a company with the aim of buying large tracts of land for peat extraction. Hence the name de heeren -van het- peat, or Heerenveen.

Heerenveen developed in the 19th century because, besides the presence of well-to-do citizens, there were also many middle class. And with the nearby Oranjewoud, the place has since been referred to as Het Friese Haagje. However, there was an obstacle. The town was bordered by the two municipalities of Aengwirden and Schoterland.

Only on July 1, 1934, the municipality of Heerenveen was formed from pieces of these two municipalities, and a part of the municipality of Haskerland. We also find this history in the coat of arms of Heerenveen. Heerenveen became the capital of the new municipality.

Heerenveen has long been characterized by ribbon development. North-south, the total length was five kilometers, while the width between the railway and the trunk road was no more than one kilometer. In the 1970s, construction began on residential areas west of the railway up to the Engelenvaart, which is the municipal boundary. After this area was built up, people began to expand on the east side in the 21st century.

First, Rijksweg 32, which became a four-lane highway, was relocated 300 meters to the east. Then the construction of the new residential area Skoatterwâld started. Heerenveen is now about three kilometers wide and has the shape of an oval. As a result, Heerenveen has grown together with the neighborhood villages (Oudeschoot, Nieuweschoot, Oranjewoud, Nijehaske, De Knipe and Terband). To the east of Heerenveen lies the woody Park area Oranjewoud.

From 1965 to 2003 the village Oudeschoot belonged to the town of Heerenveen. During this period it was referred to as Heerenveen-South. Heerenveen is the fourth place in Friesland in terms of population, but is not one of the Frisian eleven cities.