The opening ceremony was performed by The King and Queen of The Netherlands in Leeuwarden-Friesland. Church bells rang out across the entire province of Friesland, a gesture that announced the start of a grand and vibrant cultural year. The province shares the cultural year title with Valletta2018, the other Cultural Capital of Europe.
The opening weekend of Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018 began Friday at noon, celebrated by various Frisian primary schools. Music, theatre and recitals took place on Friday and Saturday evening and over 80 museums opened their doors on Friday evening. Sixty projects gave a preview on Saturday evening. These 2018 previews were accessible throughout the entire city centre. The international project De Stormruiters welcomed visitors with Frisian horses on the streets leading to the city centre. Illuminated skûtsjes (Frisian sailing vessels) sailed and 20 metres high replicas of the famous leaning tower Oldehove functioned as podiums for many musicians and plays. The night ended with afterparties at several locations in the city.
The opening ceremony was centred around local cooperation. Thousands of Frisians, singing, making music or taking up a role behind the scenes, gave the ultimate example of the LF2018 theme supporting iepen mienskip, a community that listens and meets each other. A community that is open towards the rest of Europe.
Escher’s Journey, from 28 April 2018
Some of the highlights of the year will include: Escher’s Journey, from 28 April 2018 in the Museum of Friesland. Reproductions of his work can be found gracing the walls of teenage bedrooms, stores and apartments around the world. Escher’s work is particularly iconic and part of the collective memory of the world’s population. Who isn’t familiar with the birds and the salamanders, the stairs and the cubes? Escher’s Journey will be an extensive exhibition of this popular graphic artist’s work who originated from Leeuwarden.
Eleven Fountains – from 18 May 2018
Eleven Frisian cities and their residents welcome eleven internationally renowned artists to create a fountain in or around their centre. Each artist designed a fountain that relates to their city and history. These are not just fountains; they are contemporary works of art that express the history and culture of the Frisian cities in a unique way.
The Giants of Royal de Luxe 17-19 August 2018
After staging productions in Buenos Aires, Montreal, Liverpool and Barcelona, the Royal de Luxe street theatre company is bringing their iconic, gigantic marionettes to Leeuwarden. The parade of giants – some as tall as office buildings and apartment blocks – will march through the streets of Leeuwarden telling the story of the city’s history and folklore. The giants move with the help hundreds of volunteers who animate them as the show progresses. An awe-inspiring spectacle.