almost 190 year


almost 190 year

fries genootschap (frisian society)

The Fries Museum has a rich history spanning nearly 190 years. In 1827 Francis Binkes, Henry Amersfoordt and Freerk Fontein founded the Provinciaal Friesch Genootschap ter beoefening der Friesche Geschied-, Oudheid- en Taalkunde. Also known as the Fries Genootschap (Frisian Society), it would oversee the preservation of Friesland’s history, language and identity.


fries provincial cabinet of antiquities

The Provinciaal Friesch Kabinet van Oudheden (Fries Provincial Cabinet of Antiquities) was founded in 1853 to preserve objects. Frisians were encouraged to donate typically Frisian objects. The items were not only preserved for posterity, but also exhibited, first in the Palace of Justice in Leeuwarden and later because of space constraints, in a room in the Stadhouderlijk Hof elsewhere in the city.

historical exhibition of friesland

To celebrate its 50th anniversary the Frisian Society held the Historische Tentoonstelling van Friesland (Historical Exhibition of Friesland) in Leeuwarden in 1877, the first ethnological exhibition in the Netherlands. The collection of the Frisian Cabinet formed the basis for the Historical Exhibition.

advertentie 1881
historische tentoonstelling


The exhibition was a huge success, both in terms of attendance and financially, such that the Eysingahuis in Leeuwarden could be purchased with the proceeds. The Fries Museum opened here in 1881.


In 1995, the museum reopened after a major renovation. The chancery was linked to the museum by means of a tunnel.

Het oude Fries Museum op de Turfmarkt

the new museum of friesland

Since 2013 the Fries Museum has been housed in the first completely newly built Dutch museum of the 21st century. Frisian architect Abe Bonnema provided the impetus for the new building. When he passed away in 2001 he left 18 million euros to the Fries Museum.

Over het nieuwe museum
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