The province of Fryslân, with Ljouwert (Leeuwarden) as capital includes the sandy Wadden Islands Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog.
Ice Ages pushed-up the grounds in the south and south-east, while sealevel changes deposited layers of fertile clay along the northern coastline. In the Middle Ages humans created the central lowland meadows and lakes by diligently harvesting peat.
The Frisii settled the area in the 4th century BC but by 400 AD, despite living on terps, these
hardy folks had to abandon most of the lands to the rising sea.
Two centuries later Frisian tribes showed up again and made Aldgisl the first Frisian ruler. His son Redbad was the first and last king of Frisia.
In 884 the Frisians defeated the Vikings at Norditi and as a reward enjoyed a long period of Frisian freedom.
Animosity with the counts of Holland resulted in many armed conflicts but no clear winner. Yet, after huge floods created the Zuiderzee arond 1200 AD, West Frisia had to concede to the counts and became Noord Holland.
Unique to Fryslân is the Alvestêdetocht, a 200 km skating tour along the 11 Frisian cities. This infrequent event can only be held in very severy winters, lastly in 1997.
In 1815 Frysln became a province of the newly created Kingdom of the Netherlands and since 1995 Frysk is an official language in the Netherlands.
Tourism, agriculture and a dairy industry based on the famous Holstein Friesian cattle drive the economy.