Heerenveen, Netherlands


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.



The municipality includes the town of Heerenveen (about 30,000 inhabitants) and the villages and settlements: Bontebok, De Knipe, Gersloot, Hoornsterzwaag, Jubbega, Katlijk, Luinjeberd, Mildam, Nieuwehorne, Nieuweschoot, Oranjewoud, Oudehaske, Oudehorne, Oudeschoot, Terband, Tjalleberd.


City Hall
In 1934 Oenemastate became the town hall of Heerenveen. In 1952 this became Crackstate. New construction followed in 1993 and a new town hall with the entrance on the K.R. Poststraat connected to the monumental building. In 2007, the town hall was renovated again. The public center then got an entrance on the Crackplein. Historic Crackstate is home to the mayor and aldermen. The 'behind the big sael' functions as a wedding hall.

The stately home was built in 1648 as a residence by grietman Johannes Sytzes Crack. He had the house built on the site where his ancestor probably built a state in 1608: the first Crackstate. The new Crackstate contains parts of the old state. Until 1833 it served as a residence for successive generations of the Crack family. In that year, the national government acquired the building. First it became a 'Regtbank of first instance' in the 'Peace Court' and a 'House of Arrest'. A separate prison was later built behind Crackstate for the 'House of Arrest'. When the court was dissolved in 1923, Crackstate's district judge (formerly Justice of the Peace) continued to sit. During the Second World War, the occupying forces exercised a real reign of terror in the prison. More than sixty Dutch people did not survive their stay in prison.

Carillon of Crackstate
The dome on Crackstate is special. The decorative tower probably served as a lookout to keep an eye on the lands around the state. In 1962 a carillon of 37 bells was placed in the dome. In 1985 the carillon was overhauled and the seventeen bells were replaced. The carillon can be played mechanically as well as manually. The Carillon Crackstate Foundation manages the carillon.


Location and economy

Heerenveen is situated on some waterways used by inland navigation and on the motorway and railway line between Leeuwarden and Zwolle. Express trains also stop at the station.

In Heerenveen, which is the economic, social and cultural center of the region, there are several schools, a general hospital, a psychiatric clinic and a theatre.

The most important factory is the Batavus bicycle factory, which has existed since 1904. It is now part of the Accell Group, which has its headquarters in Heerenveen.



In 1551, the 'gentlemen' Van Dekema, Van Cuyck and Foeyts signed the deed of incorporation of the Schoterlandse Veencompagnie, the second oldest public limited company in the Netherlands. The founding certificate of the oldest Dutch raised bog colony is in fact the birth certificate of Heerenveen.

For the transport of the excavated peat, the 'lords of 't veen' had the Schoterlandse Compagnonsvaart and the Heeresloot dug. The waterway was crossed by the Zwolle-Leeuwarden connection. The combination of the intersection of roads and waterways and the diligence with which the 'lords of 't veen' developed activities are the basis for the creation of Heerenveen. In such a place, a concentration of small and medium-sized businesses and trade often developed, which in turn prompted home seekers and entrepreneurs to settle in the area. And so also in Heerenveen. In the nineteenth century, the settlement grew into a place with many patricians, dignified citizens and middle classes, or the 'Frisian Hague'.

Merging with surrounding municipalities
Heerenveen was not only at a crossroads of roads and waterways, but also on the border of three municipalities: Aengwirden, Schoterland and Haskerland, the current neighboring municipality of De Fryske Marren. This situation hampered the development of the place for a long time. Merging was for the best and it finally happened, but this was preceded by centuries of discussion. The place where the three municipalities touched was marked by the border lion. It was not until July 1, 1934 that the municipalities were reclassified and the municipalities of Aengwirden and Schoterland, together with a small part of Haskerland, formed the municipality of Heerenveen, with Heerenveen as its main town.

From January 1, 1812 to October 1, 1816 there was also a municipality of Heerenveen, consisting of Heerenveen, Terband and Het Meer. In 1816, the grietenien from before 1812 were restored. Heerenveen has been split into Aengwirden and Schoterland.

The new municipality of Heerenveen was established on January 1, 2014, consisting of the territory of the former municipality of Heerenveen, which was dissolved on January 1, 2014, expanded with the villages of Nieuwebrug and Haskerdijken of the municipality of Skarsterlân and the southern part of the municipality of Boornsterhem (Akkrum, Nes and Oldeboorn). At the start, the new municipality had just under 50,000 inhabitants.


Sports and sights

Apart from the Crackstate mansion, Heerenveen has hardly any monuments. But the city has a sporty atmosphere.

The Thialf speed skating stadium, named after a figure from Norse mythology, was one of the first indoor competition venues of this type in the world. National and international competitions take place there every year.

The football club SC Heerenveen has played continuously in the Dutch honors division since 1993 and has taken part in several European competitions. Its 26,000-seat stadium is named after Heerenveen-born Abe Lenstra, one of the best players in Dutch football history and international in the 1940s and 1950s.



Wilhelm Heinrich of Saxe-Eisenach (1691–1741), Duke of Saxe-Eisenach
Albert Gillis von Baumhauer (1891–1939), aviation pioneer
Eelco van Kleffens (1894–1983), politician
Abe Lenstra (1920–1985), soccer player
Wim Duisenberg (1935–2005), economist, banker, President of the European Central Bank from 1998 to 2003
Margriet Zegers (born 1954), hockey player
Franke Sloothaak (born 1958), German-Dutch show jumper
Jacob de Haan (born 1959), composer and musician
Onno Meijer (1960–2008), actor
Tineke Postma (born 1978), jazz musician
Jan Huitema (born 1984), politician
Sven Kramer (born 1986), speed skater
Thijsje Oenema (born 1988), speed skater
Randy de Jong (born 1993), Michelin-starred chef
Andries Noppert (born 1994), soccer player
Antoinette de Jong (born 1995), speed skater
Aafke Soet (born 1997), cyclist and short tracker



Since 2018, the municipal council of Heerenveen consists of 31 seats.

College 2022-2026
In the term of office of 2022-2026, the college of mayor and aldermen of Heerenveen consists of a coalition of PvdA, CDA, VVD and GroenLinks. Together, these parties hold 17 of the 31 seats in the city council.

The mayor and aldermen are:
Tjeerd van der Zwan (PvdA) mayor. Portfolios: public order and security, administrative affairs and coordination.
Hedwich Rinkes (CDA) alderman. Portfolios: culture and Frysk, recreation and tourism, economic affairs, circular economy, land company, finance, taxation, legal affairs, 2nd deputy mayor
Jelle Zoetendal (PvdA) alderman. Portfolios: public housing, energy transition, education housing, accessibility, traffic and transport, regional cooperation, enforcement, 1st deputy mayor
Jaap van Veen (VVD) alderman. Portfolios: services and civil affairs, licensing and supervision, integrated management of public space, waste, biodiversity, spatial development, personnel and organisation, ICT, 3rd deputy mayor
Gerrie Rozema (GroenLinks) alderman. Portfolios: climate adaptation, soil, water, raising and growing up, integration and inclusion, housing municipal buildings, accommodations, 5th deputy mayor
Sybrig Sijtsma (PvdA) alderman. Portfolios: welfare, care and participation, health, sport and exercise, environmental vision, center development, landscape, work and income, 4th deputy mayor
Millennium/Fair Trade Municipality

The municipality of Heerenveen has been Millennium Municipality since 2007. This is indicated, among other things, by signs on the access roads at the municipal boundary. Since 2017, the municipality of Heerenveen is also a Fairtrade municipality.