Name of the stateless nation: Fryslân
State or states this nation belongs to: The Netherlands
1. Physical and human environment
Area 3,340 km2
Altimetric zones (% of total surface)
Lower than 200 m 100%
Higher than 2,000 m
Biogeographical regions (% of total surface)
Land use (% of total surface)
Inner waters and wetlands 16.4%
Forests and open spaces 9.8%
Agricultural land 65.4%
Urban and artificial areas 8.4%
Between the 6th and 8th century, the great Frisian kingdom expanded to cover the coastal regions of north-west Europe, from Belgium to Denmark. This kingdom came to an end in 734 at the Battle of the Boarn, which resulted in the kingdom splitting up. Holland attempted but failed to conquer the still autonomous and independent Fryslân (which stretched to northern Germany) at the Battle of Warns in 1345, an event still commemorated by Frisian nationalists. It was only in the early 16th century that Fryslân was finally conquered, despite the many successes of the famous Frisian warrior Grutte Pier.
In the 16th century the approximate current borders of Fryslân were formed and in 1579 the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands (Dutch Republic) was established with the Union of Utrecht, a promise between the countries largely corresponding to the current territory of the Netherlands to defend each other against the Habsburg army. In this confederation each of the seven provinces was very much independent.
In 1795 the Batavian Republic succeeded the Dutch Republic. The new republic was much more unitary than its predecessor. Fryslân continued to be part of the Dutch state during its territorial changes in the early 19th century until the current territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands was established in 1839 with the Treaty of London, arranging the secession of Belgium.
The Frisian language is a large part of the Frisian identity. The West Frisian currently spoken in Fryslân evolved from the Old Frisian spoken in the early middle ages in the Frisian kingdom. Along with the language, a sense of Frisian pride has also remained intact through the constitutional changes in history.
Capital city Ljouwert
Name of President / Prime Minister / Other John Jorritsma (Queen’s Commissioner and Chairman of the provincial parliament)
Political status as part of the State Province (Rijksoverheid) of the Netherlands
Competences attributed / recognized by the State
The main competence handed down to provinces is spatial planning. This includes transport/infrastructure, city planning, nature planning, etc. Other important competences are nature management/conservation and provincial economic planning / fiscal responsibility. The province also oversees its municipalities.
Provincial Council (Provinsjale Steaten): the directly elected parliament of Fryslân. Currently it has 43 members from 10 parties.
Provincial Executive (Deputearre Steaten): the daily executive of Fryslân. Currently it has 6 members.
Judicial system: Fryslân has 1 district court (the lowest court tier) with two additional locations for canton cases. The court of appeal for the north of the Netherlands is also situated in Fryslân. Both courts are located in Ljouwert. (Rechtspraak).
Fryslân has no official external representation.
Territorial and local organization (counties, provinces, districts, municipal bodies, etc.)
Dutch provinces consist of municipalities. Fryslân currently consists of 27 municipalities, but several municipal mergers are in development.
The Netherlands is also divided into water authorities, which manage waterways, water barriers, water quality and water levels. One of these water authorities comprises of Fryslân and a small part of the neighbouring province of Groningen.
Main Political Parties
Political parties having (or having had in the past) representatives at the national level
The main political parties in Fryslân are the same as the Dutch national parties, with the addition of the provincial party FNP:
Partij van de Arbeid (PvdA) / Labour Party: The PvdA is a centre-left progressive social-democratic party.
Christen-Democratisch Appèl (CDA) / Christian Democratic Appeal: The CDA is a centre-right conservatie Christian-democratic party.
Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie (VVD) / People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy: The VVD is a right-wing conservative liberal party.
Fryske Nasjonale Partij (FNP) / Frisian National Party: The FNP is a centre-left Frisian nationalist party.
Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV) / Party for Freedom: The PVV is a conservative populist party.
Socialistische Partij (SP) / Socialist Party: The SP is a left-wing progressive social-democratic party.
ChristenUnie (CU) / ChristianUnion: The CU is a right-wing conservative Christian party.
GroenLinks (GL) / GreenLeft: The GL is a centre-left progressive green party.
Democraten 66 (D66) / Democrats 66: The D66 is a centre-right progressive social-liberal party.
Nationwide political parties having (or having had in the past) representatives at the local level
The aforesaid parties are all currently represented in the Frisian parliament. All except the FNP are also represented in the Dutch (state) parliament.
In the past, parties such as Gemeentebelangen (Municipal Interests) have had seats in the Frisian parliament
Nationalist organizations of civil society
The Fryske Akademy (Frisian Academy) is a scientific institute that does research on the subjects of the Frisian language, culture, history and society. It also publishes the (West-)Frisian dictionary.
The Afûk is a foundation that promotes the knowledge and use of the Frisian language. It is the main provider of Frisian language courses.
The Ried fan de Fryske Beweging (Council of the Frisian Movement) is an interest organisation for the Frisian language and culture.
Total population 647,214
Density 193 inhabitants/km2
Age structure 0-14 24%
over 65 17.7%
Urban population 44.1%
In the capital city 13.8%
In other major cities 30.3%
Annual growth 1.72‰
Net migration rate 0.68‰
Life expectancy Men: 79.2 years
Women: 82.9 years
Language areas (whether vernacular or not)
Frisian and Dutch, spoken in the whole country.
Number and percentage of speakers of each vernacular language over the total population
Frisian: around 75% of the population (some 485,000 people) can speak Frisian well to very well
Official languages and languages recognized by the authorities in the territory of the nation
vernacular languages of the nation which are official in or recognized by the state
Frisian (its status and use is recognized in various laws of the Netherlands, although Frisian is only official in the province of Fryslân)
national vernacular languages official or recognized outside the state (by other states and/or by international organizations)
Frisian (recognised in the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages)
Use of vernacular languages in public administration
Frisian can by law be used to interact with governmental bodies whitin Fryslân
People are legally allowed to use Frisian in the judicial system in Fryslân
Frisian is by law a regular subject in schools Schools are free to use Frisian as the language of instruction. Certain goals and standards for the use of Frisian exist
In place names (toponymy)
The use of Frisian in place names is allowed but not mandatory. Signs often use bilingual names. The situation differs between municipalities (some only use Frisian, some only use Dutch, some use both)
In cultural production (books, movies)
There are very few figures available on cultural activity made in Frisian. Frisian is widespread in cultural use, for example by the Frisian theater company Tryater and at the large festival Oerol. Several recent feature films have also been made in Frisian
In the media and the internet
In Fryslân there is a Frisian radio and television broadcaster: Omrop Fryslân. The market share of Omrop Fryslân is about 25% on radio and 12% on television. Its website is also the most visited one in Fryslân.”.
Speakers of other languages
No other official languages are spoken in Fryslân, but there are two distinct dialects spoken in specific regions (certain municipalities) by small minorities: Bildtish and Stellingwarfs
5. Transport infrastructure
One military airport (Leeuwarden Air Base), and two small regional airports (Ameland Airport and Airfield Drachten)
High speed railways
Density of transport infrastructure
Roads and motorways
2,704 km / 1000 km2
1,395 km / 100,000 inhabitants
45 km / 1000 km2
23 km / 100,000 inhabitants
Trans-border connections (Number of trans-border connections for each kind of transport infrastructure / kilometres of border line)
Road: 36 / 146 km = 1 every 3.94 km
Rail: 2 / 146 km = 1 every 73 km
Trading ports (more than 1 million tons per year)
6. Education and culture
Educational attainment of the adult population (%; aged between 15 and 65):
No attainment at all 1%
Primary and lower secondary 32%
Upper secondary 44%
Culture (expenditure per person / year) No data available
Museums, libraries, etc.
Other cultural goods or services
Theatre shows: 225 (2005)
Musical works published:
7. Armed and police forces in its territory (Number of troops and police officers)
Army no data available
Navy no data available
Air force no data available
State police 1,390
National police 224
Local police No local police forces
Currency Euro (EUR).
GDP (in million €) 18,200
Annual growth GDP -2.0% (2009)
GDP per capita (€) 28,192
Composition of GDP Agriculture
Inflation rate 2.3%
Unemployment rate 5.7%
Energy balance (thousands of TOE) and energy import coverage rate - No data available
Energy production (thousands of TOE) No data available
Energy consumption (thousands of TOE) 1.528
Imports (mill €)
Exports (mill €)
Trade balance (+ mill €) and import coverage rate (%)
9. National symbols
Coat of arms
Typically only the first verse and chorus of the anthem are sung at events:
Frysk bloed tsjoch op! Wol no ris brûze en siede,
En bûnzje troch ús ieren om!
Flean op! Wy sjonge it bêste lân fan d'ierde,
It Fryske lân fol eare en rom.
Klink dan en daverje fier yn it rûn
Dyn âlde eare, o Fryske grûn!
Klink dan en daverje fier yn it rûn
Dyn âlde eare, o Fryske grûn!
Hoe ek fan oermacht, need en see betrutsen,
Oerâlde, leave Fryske grûn,
Nea waard dy fêste, taaie bân ferbrutsen,
Dy't Friezen oan har lân ferbûn.
Fan bûgjen frjemd, bleau by 't âld folk yn eare,
Syn namme en taal, syn frije sin;
Syn wurd wie wet; rjocht, sljocht en trou syn leare,
En twang, fan wa ek, stie it tsjin.
Trochloftich folk fan dizze âlde namme,
Wês jimmer op dy âlders great!
Bliuw ivich fan dy grize, hege stamme
In grien, in krêftich bloeiend leat!
A full version of the anthem, sung by Anneke Douma, is available at: