Bolsward (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈbɔɫsʋɑrt] (listen), West Frisian: Boalsert) is a city in Súdwest-Fryslân in the province of Friesland, the Netherlands. Bolsward has a population of just under 10,200. It is located 10 km W.N.W. of Sneek.[1]


City and former municipality
City Hall


Coat of arms
Coordinates: 53°04′N 5°32′E
Country Netherlands
Province Friesland
Municipality Súdwest-Fryslân
  Total9.42 km2 (3.64 sq mi)
  Land9.11 km2 (3.52 sq mi)
  Water0.31 km2 (0.12 sq mi)
 (1 January 2007)
  Density1,055/km2 (2,730/sq mi)
 Source: CBS, CBS Statline.
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Telephone area0515


The town is founded on three artificial dwelling mounds, the first of which was built some time before Christ. During the Middle Ages, Bolsward was a trade center and port city connected to the North Sea via the Middle Sea. This connection was lost when the Middle Sea was reclaimed to form arable land. After this, a canal was dug to the Zuiderzee.[1] The town is first mentioned in AD 725.

As a trading city, Bolsward was granted city rights by Philip the Good in 1455. Bolsward was made a member of the Hanseatic league in 1422.[1] Before being merged into the municipality of Súdwest-Fryslân, the town of Bolsward was an independent municipality.

Notable historical figures

Notable historical figures born here include:


Heamiel. A local festival of four days in June. This is an old traditional festival to celebrate that the farmers finished getting the hay from the fields. The name of the festival, Heamiel, is Frisian for 'Hay meal', and is derived from the traditional banquet.

Bolletongersdei. Bolletongersdei is Frisian for 'bulls Thursday'. Bolletongersdei includes a street market. Bolletongersdei is held on the first Thursday of October.

Simmerwike. A festival of four evenings with musical performances, held in August.


Bolsward is one of the eleven Frisian cities in which the ice skating Elfstedentocht, an ice skating marathon, is held. Because the marathon depends on the thickness of the ice, it is not held on a regular schedule and is somewhat rare.

Bolsward is also the host city for the yearly Cycling Elfstedentocht, a road bicycle racing tour.

Notable buildings


  1. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bolsward" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

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