Sloten (Fries: Sleat) is a (former) fortified town in the
municipality of De Friese Meren, in the Dutch province of Friesland.
Sloten is close to the Slotermeer and is located between Lemmer and
Sloten belongs to the Frisian eleven cities and was an independent municipality until 1984. Until January 1, 2014, Sloten belonged to the municipality of Gaasterland-Sloten. In 2020 Sloten had 700 inhabitants.
Sloten originated in the thirteenth century as a
settlement at a stins of the Van Harinxma thoe Slooten family, as it
was located at a crossing of the trade road from Bentheim to
Stavoren. The family had many conflicts with the Vetkopers at the
time. Nowadays nothing can be found of the stins. Sloten is
mentioned as a city on a charter dated 30 August 1426. In 1523, the
city was the last Frisian fortress to fall into the hands of the
heirs of the Counts of Holland. During the siege of Sloten in 1523,
where Frisian and Gelderland troops were stationed, the Dutch
nobleman Jan II van Wassenaer was mortally wounded. The nobleman was
the last Dutchman to die in the battle for supremacy over Friesland.
Sloten was located on the important waterway from Sneek to the Zuiderzee and so on to the Hanseatic cities on the IJssel. In Sloten, this waterway crossed with the country road from Germany to Stavoren (Starum). At this intersection one could therefore collect tolls and exercise strategic control. The country road ran via Doniawerstal over the gaasten (sand ridges) via Sloten, where the waterway could be bridged, to Gaasterland and so on to Stavoren, which was a large and important trading city in the Middle Ages. Sloten also played an important key role in the Eighty Years' War. The Spaniards tried to conquer the city by hiding men in a beer ship. The ruse failed. At the end of World War II, the Germans blew up the bridge over the Ee to slow the progress of Canadian troops.
Afterwards, Sloten is no longer of strategic importance. The city is popular with water sports enthusiasts and day tourists. On the south side of the city, a marina was built in the 1970s where several water sports companies are also located. There is also a large factory in the city that is part of the Nutreco concern. The company produces milk replacers for young cattle (calves, piglets, etc.). There is a lot of livestock farming in the vicinity of Sloten, which forms an important basis for the local economy.
The city has almost completely preserved the original walls and the original structure of Sloten has been almost completely preserved. The fortress was designed and built by the renowned fortress builder Menno van Coehoorn, who is buried in nearby Wijckel. Sloten was the ideal city in fortress terms, its shape resembles an onion, so the city is also called the "sipelstêd" (onion city). The Sipelsneon is held in Sloten.
Sloten had about 760 inhabitants in 2012 and is therefore not the smallest city in the Netherlands, although that is often said. The city is the smallest Frisian city.