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Frisians love water. In the summer they like to gather on or around one of the many lakes. In the winter, they have a blast ice skating when the water is frozen. It’s not for nothing that the longest skating tour on natural ice, the Elfstedentocht (Eleven-city skating tour), originated in Friesland. But holding an Elfstedentocht on ice has become an increasing rarity due to the warm winters. The last time this 200-kilometre race was held on natural ice was in 1997. Practical as the Frisians are, they just created a new Elfstedentocht. Not connected by ice, but by the sparkling waters of fountains.

11fountains is a true crowd pleaser that has attracted visitors from all over the world since it opened last year. Because if we do say so ourselves, it’s a really special thing to have all eleven cities in Friesland connected by water! Every city now proudly displays a fountain in celebration of this connection.

Meet the artists

These fountains were created by top international artists from eleven different countries. The artists were not randomly chosen; there was a search for a match between the artist’s work and the character and history of each of the eleven cities. The result is a colourful mix of new cultural heritage. Take a look at this unique Frisian open air gallery!

Love – Leeuwarden – Jaume Plensa (Spain)

The Fountain of Fortuna – Sneek – Stephan Balkenhol (Germany)

Immortal Flowers – Rikka – IJlst – Shinji Ohmaki (Japan)

Lapwing – Sloten – Jorge & Lucy Orta (Argentina & United Kingdom)

The Fish for Stavoren – Stavoren – Mark Dion (United States)

Flora & Fauna – Hindeloopen – Shen Yuan (China)

The Rampant Lions of Workum – Workum – Cornelia Parker (United Kingdom)

The Bat – Bolsward – Johan Creten (Belgium)

The Whale – Harlingen – Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla (United States, Cuba)

The Oort Cloud – Franeker – Jean-Michel Othoniel (France)

The Ice Fountain – Dokkum – Birthe Leemeijer (Netherlands)

Meet the fountains in 2019

Behind every fountain is a story that seamlessly aligns with current events. The Lapwing in Sloten gets you thinking about how we take clean water for granted. The Ice Fountain in Dokkum says something about drastic changes in nature and the melting icecaps. And The Whale in Harlingen refers to the human impact on marine life. 11fountains organises different activities this year, which align with the stories behind the eleven fountains. Come discover all the stories!

Facts from the source

  • The energy for creating the ice for the Ice Fountain in Dokkum is generated by 150 solar panels on the town hall.
  • The 18 metre-long sperm whale in the Willemshaven of Harlingen unexpectedly spouts water eight times per hour.
  • Local ship and furniture builders worked for 9 months on the two giant antlers of the Flora & Fauna fountain in Hindeloopen.
  • The mist around the Love fountain in Leeuwarden is so fine that you don’t get wet and the legionella bacteria doesn’t stand a chance. What an innovation!
  • The symbol of Sloten, a key, is on one of the water bearers of the Lapwing fountain. Can you find the symbol?
  • The Rampant Lions of Workum contains a capsule stuffed with children’s wishes for the future of their city.

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