IJlst, Netherlands


IJlst (Frisian: Drylts) is a town in the municipality of Súdwest-Fryslân, in the Dutch province of Friesland, which lies north of Heeg and southwest of the larger city of Sneek. The river Geeuw runs through the city, which flows into the city with the river Ee. De Geeuw is part of the connection Sneekermeer - Sneek - IJlst - Heeg - Heegermeer and is a busy waterway, especially in summer.

IJlst is one of the Frisian eleven cities. In 2020 the city had 3,055 inhabitants. The city also includes a part of the village / hamlet of Nijezijl. Until 2011, IJlst was the capital of the former municipality of Wymbritseradeel. The inhabitants of IJlst are also called kypmantsjes, after a type of biscuit.



There are several theories about the origin of the name IJlst. It may come from the Ylostins, the stins that once stood in the southwestern part of IJlst. The name is also sometimes associated with the Ee or IJslot, the stins that lay on the water that flows through IJlst. The original name of IJlst was Ylike, which was later corrupted to Ylts or Fries Drylts. Y or Ee means water and leke in Ylike is the Frisian verb like, which means 'to flow slowly'.

IJlst has had city rights since 1268. This makes it the fourth city (after Stavoren, Hindeloopen and Harlingen) in Friesland to receive city rights. The city was known for its shipbuilding and trading position. It originated on the Oude Ee or Ye, a river between the Zuiderzee or its predecessor and the Middelzee. The city owes its name to this river.

Only fragments of the Ee remain. One of them forms the central axis of the city and has the character of a canal. The street runs right past the houses, and the gardens are just across the street on the side of the Ee. These gardens bordering the water, called "bleaches" or "overtuinen", belong to the houses situated on the canals and were used to bleach the laundry in the past. Some of the gardens are still privately owned.

On November 8, 1885, IJlst got a station on the Leeuwarden-Stavoren railway line. A beautiful station building was built and demolished in 1954. In 1938 there were plans to close the station in IJlst, but until 1941 there was still a regular train connection with IJlst. From 1941 to 1985 no more trains stopped in IJlst. The IJlst stop was reopened on 28 September 1985, at the place where the railway crossing used to be. To this day there is a train connection between Stavoren and Leeuwarden.


Administrative history

IJlst was an independent municipality until it was merged with Wymbritseradeel during the major reorganization of January 1, 1984. IJlst became the new capital. In 1985, a new town hall was completed on the north side of IJlst. The old town hall, which had become too small, was used as a police station. A few years later it was sold to private individuals as a home.


Industrial History

The Nooitgedagt company was established in IJlst, which manufactured tools, wooden toys and skates. Around 1990 the factory moved to the industrial estate. Parts of the old factory have since been demolished. There is still one old building, the so-called 'giele stientsjes' building, the first Nooitgedagt factory. This building has been renovated. The last authentic factory building built - the first in the Netherlands to be made entirely of concrete - was demolished in mid-October 2004.

A few years earlier, the Nooitgedagt company ceased to exist due to a takeover. Another company was established in the new building. A salient detail is that about ten years of discussions about the completion of the site. All this time the building was empty and impoverished.

Since October 2004, there has been a debate about preserving the old factory chimney. The chimney was renovated in 2007, bringing it back to its original height. However, not bricked as before, but in the form of a steel skeleton (work of art). In mid-2005, a new residential area was built on the old factory site. In addition, five more buildings have been built for the old Nooitgedagt factory.