Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Sneeker Waterpoort (Sneek Watergate) in Friesland, Netherlands

There is not much information available about Sneek’s medieval water port or gateway (located in Sneek, Friesland in the north of the Netherlands). It was believed that the port was built around 1492 by an unknown architect and its primary function was to control the water flowing into the town. Back then cities and towns are built around thick stone walls for protection from enemy invasion, and in the Netherlands because of its quagmire topography, they make use of the water as moats, serving an additional line of defence.


I saw this poem engraved on a block of stone, written in Fries by Marcel van der Meulen on the trattoir just beside the water port. Fries is a language spoken in the northern part of the Netherlands, primarily in the Friesland province where Sneek is a part of. It is a bit similar to Dutch of course so I can understand some of it (written but not spoken) but not all.


Here is my meagre English translation (in Fries or Dutch they actually rhyme but not in English, too bad):

Butter, bread and milk in our cup
Who cannot say this is not a real Sneker
I am though, because I live in the Water Port
There in ‘hewwe jim’ it was heard (this line I am having a hard time translating, help!)
It is a very old building that I adore
Boats, canals and the city
Sneek will always be my biggest love


And here are a few more fotos of the famous Sneeker Waterpoort:


In Madurodam (The Hague), the mini-Holland park or the smallest city in the Netherlands, there is a little replica of the Sneeker Waterpoort, scaled down to 1:25. I think I even have a foto of it, hmm, need to search my archives. Other replicas are to be found in China (Holland Village in Shenyang), Japan (Huis ten Bosch in Nagasaki) and Denmark (Legoland in Billund).

Many say that the Sneeker Waterpoort, one of the great examples of medieval architecture, is the Netherlands most beautiful water gateway. I quite agree.


Travel Period: October 2010
Destination: Sneek (Friesland), The Netherlands

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