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De Oldehove

De Oldehove
©: Bauke Folkertsma

The leaning tower of Pisa is a household name but the Oldehove in Leeuwarden is almost as skewed. Yet the latter is a lot less known. The current Oldehove has a special history.

On the square where the Oldehove now stands, there was a tuff church around 1100, which would be replaced in the 13th century by a larger church built from red cloisters. However, they did not get any further than the construction of the foundation When the villages of Oldehove, Nijehove and Hoek were merged in 1435 and the city of Leeuwarden came into existence, there soon became a need for a larger church. This is how a three-aisled basilica dedicated to St Vitus was established.

But the Leeuwarders wanted more: They wanted to have just as high a tower as the Groningers in the neighbouring province had built in the years 1469-1482 with the Martini tower. So action was unleashed and the money poured in from all over Friesland. After an energetic start it soon became apparent that the geology was not really designed for the enormous weight of the tower, whose walls at the base are meters thick. Immediately intervened by taking the subsidence into account during construction. To no avail, a crooked, half-finished tower remained.

With the Oldehove, Leeuwarden has definitively lost the battle with the city of Groningen and their beautiful Martini tower, but what a beauty of a monument the city of Leeuwarden has been left with. The Oldehove can be viewed and climbed. Look for the opening times at https://www.oldehove.eu

© Foto voorblad: Bauke Folkertsma

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