Sneek, Netherlands


Sneek (Frisian: Snits) is a town in the municipality of Súdwest-Fryslân, in the Dutch province of Friesland. Sneek is located northeast of IJlst, northwest of Joure and Heerenveen, southwest of Leeuwarden and southeast of Bolsward. It is the largest town in the municipality of Súdwest-Fryslân and the third place in the province of Friesland. The city had 33,520 inhabitants in 2020.

Sneek is located at the Sneekermeer, and is known for the historic city center, including the Waterpoort, and for the Sneekweek. The city fulfills a central function for the Zuidwesthoek region and was the official capital of the region of Friesland from August 1498 to March 1500.



Sneek originated in the 10th century on a higher sandy headland (Sneek = Ter Snake = on headland), and was developed after the construction of the southern dike of the Hempolder Scherhem. There it crossed the waterway (in old documents called Magna Fossa, great canal) to the north. This waterway to the north (Geeuw, Sneeker Oudvaart) had become necessary because the Middelzee had been lost due to silting up.

In 1295 a big city fire took place in Sneek, in which part of the city was lost. From the 13th century onwards, Sneek was granted various city rights, which were officially established in 1456. Sneek thus became one of the Frisian eleven cities. This was also the start of a period of prosperity as a trading city, which would last until around 1550. In 1492 the construction of a city moat and city wall started. From that time on, Sneek was the only walled city in Friesland. The Waterpoort and the Bolwerk still remain of the old Fortifications of Sneek.



Sneek is located near the Sneekermeer and the Prinses Margrietkanaal, and is connected to them via the Houkesloot. The city is connected to IJlst via the Geeuw. The city is approximately 1 meter above sea level, the city center is partly on a mound. The area around the city was mostly created by reclaiming peatlands.

Sneek has limited urbanization and had 33,260 inhabitants in 2010, or 1,106 people per square kilometer of land. The city consists of 25 neighborhoods, which can be divided into various neighborhoods.



Sneek has a moderate maritime climate thanks to its northerly location near the sea. Here, the summers are pleasant and the winters fairly mild. Long periods of heavy frost are becoming less and less, when a period of frost presents itself, it is often too short for an Elfstedentocht. However, it is colder in Sneek than in parts of the country that are more southern.



The city center of Sneek is located within the city canals. The oldest area is located around the mound on which the Grote or Martinikerk stands, of which the first construction took place in the 10th century. The entire Inner City and Stationsbuurt are classified as protected cityscape: government-protected face Sneek and Station area. In the center there are several canals and many monumental buildings. Parts of the walls and the walls of the current city center, in particular the well-known Waterpoort and the Bolwerk, are still present.

The city has expanded in several phases. At the beginning of the 20th century, large residential areas were built outside the city canals, large parts in the 1930s and 50-60s. Still being expanded; one of the last new housing estates is the Harinxmaland. There are large industrial areas on the east and west sides of the city. It Ges is an industrial park especially for water sports.

Well-known parks in Sneek are the Wilhelminapark and the Rasterhoffpark, which is the largest park in the city. The Zwettebos is located in the north of the city. Sneek's city service focused on natural green management and the city is typically green with many planted roundabouts.

In 2010 Sneek had 14,000 houses. Due to the expansion of the city and the villages, Sneek, Oppenhuizen, IJsbrechtum and Scharnegoutum are now almost connected as a kind of agglomeration. However, the municipality of Sneek has always tried to prevent the villages from being swallowed up by the city.

Sneek has had a statue in front of the Waterpoort since 2018: De Hoorn Des Abundance.