De Oldehove, tower of Leeuwarden,the capital of Friesland, the Netherlands; Shutterstock ID 409086418

Shutterstock / Beachbird



At the northwest corner of the historic core stands the notoriously off-kilter Oldehove – Friesland's rival to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Things went wrong shortly after the tower was started in 1529 and it never regained its proper posture, nor its intended height. Ride the lift up its 39 lopsided metres to enjoy a bird's-eye view of the vast square below, polka-dotted with engraved slabs of stone recalling the cemetery that was here until 1833.

In July and August 2018, a free sound-and-light show was projected onto the tower at 10.45pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings; there are big hopes that this highly atmospheric, after-dark event will continue.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Leeuwarden attractions

1. Obe Paviljoen

0.06 MILES

Named after the local Frisian poet Obe Postma (1868–1963), this contemporary wood-and-glass pavilion is razor-sharp in both architectural design and the…

2. Historisch Centrum


Read up on the town's history at the city archives, home to a permanent exhibition on the history of Leeuwarden. It also organises guided tours led by…

3. Keramiek Museum Princessehof

0.11 MILES

Pottery lovers will adore the Netherlands ceramics museum. Here you'll find the largest collection of tiles on the planet, an unparalleled selection of…

4. Natuurmuseum Fryslân

0.27 MILES

Let your angels run rampant in this natural history museum, covering Friesland's flora and fauna. Highlights include a virtual bird-flight simulation …

5. De Waag

0.28 MILES

The petite weighing house dominates Waagplein; butter and other goods were weighed here from 1598 to 1884.

6. Fries Museum

0.31 MILES

The provincial museum occupies an imposing glass-fronted building sporting a striking wood-and-steel roof that projects out over Wilhelminaplein. The…

7. Blokhuispoort

0.48 MILES

No single sight evokes the undercurrent of explosive creativity pulsating through the Frisian capital quite like this 19th-century prison-turned-cultural…

8. Eise Eisinga Planetarium

10.28 MILES

The Eise Eisinga Planetarium is named after its builder, an 18th-century wool comber with a serious sideline in cosmic mathematics and astrology. Between…