Stavoren, Netherlands


Stavoren (Frisian: Starum; Stavers Stadsfries: Staveren) is a town in the municipality of Súdwest-Fryslân, in the Dutch province of Friesland, which lies southwest of Hindeloopen and Molkwerum and northwest of Warns. The city center is located between the Warnservaart (which is part of the Johan Friso Canal) and the IJsselmeer. It has several ports. Stavoren was the first Frisian community to receive city rights.

Stavoren is a former Hanseatic city and one of the Frisian eleven cities. In 2020 the city had 960 inhabitants.



Until 1979 the official name of the city was Staveren. That year, the then municipality decided that the name Stavoren was better known, but above all more recognizable, and the place name was changed. According to the Frisian former mayor of Workum and Sneek, Bernhard van Haersma Buma (born in Staveren), the name Stavoren is historically incorrect. The city is not named after the mythical god Stavo, as claimed. Staveren is the dative plural of 'stav' and refers to 'at the poles', such as the harbor or mooring posts.



Stavoren is about 300 years BC. originated along a watercourse, probably De Nagele. In Frankish times it was the capital of Zuidergo.

The oldest mention of Stavoren is in the 11th century, when the city was mentioned as Stavron on a copy of a document from the end of the 10th or early 11th century. In that century, their own coins featured Stavern, Staveron and Staveren. In 1145 the name was mentioned as Stauern, in 1245 as Stavoren and in 1474 in Frisian as Starum.

The place name means storage place. In Old Frisian 'staver' is pole and then has a relationship with e.g. the French 'étaple' which means 'stack' in Dutch. This is originally a Latinized Germanic word: stapula, which means pole. The Latin p has become av in Dutch and Frisian. Father became e.g. father, piscus became fish. And so the word pile could become 'stav' in many Germanic toponyms. Stavanger in Norway is also an example of this. This means that the old name Staveren better fits the meaning than Stavoren.

From 837 a monastery stood in Stavoren, the Sint-Odulphusklooster, but the monastery was destroyed by a heavy storm.

In the 11th century, Stavoren received city rights from the Brunones, which were granted between 1058 and 1068 by Count Egbert the first with the permission of Emperor Henry V. Stavoren was an important trading city at the time. The big skippers and merchants maintained important trade relations with the countries around the Baltic Sea.


In 1285 Stavoren became a member of the Hanseatic League. The skippers from Stavoren enjoyed an old privilege when passing the Sound; priority was given to them in the toll collection, which resulted in considerable time savings. The port of Amsterdam played an important role in Baltic Sea trade. With a rapidly growing population, Holland was dependent on grain imports from the Baltic Sea countries for food supplies. For that reason, the skippers from Friesland were of vital importance to Holland.

In wars between Holland and Friesland, Stavoren often sided with Holland, and in 1292 it received a Dutch city charter from Count Floris V of Holland. At the Battle of Warns, also referred to as the Battle of Stavoren, Stavoren chose the Frisian side.

At the end of the Middle Ages, the city fell into disrepair. The harbor silted up and Stavoren no longer played a significant role in the grain trade. The story Het Vrouwtje van Stavoren is based on this fact. After this time of decline, better times came in the 17th and 18th centuries with sea shipping to distant countries. But in the 19th century, the city continued to decline. Not much remained of the once so international port.

On the piers at the harbor entrance are two harbor lights and the lighthouse.

After the construction of the Zaandam - Enkhuizen to Amsterdam railway line (which also created the Enkhuizen - Stavoren ferry service to Enkhuizen and the Stavoren - Leeuwarden railway line), Stavoren became an important Zuiderzee port.

In 2011, Stavoren celebrated 950 years of city rights.

Since the municipal reorganization of 1984, Stavoren is no longer an independent municipality. Until 2011 this city belonged to the municipality of Nijefurd. After that, Nijefurd was merged into the new municipality of Súdwest-Fryslân. The town hall of Stavoren has been given a different purpose.