This Sunday it is the fiftieth day after the celebration of Easter. It marks the Christian festival of Pentecost: an important event that commemorates the descending of the Holy Spirit upon the early followers of Jesus, the Apostles. It also means two official holidays in late Spring. With all that leisure time to spend on fun activities in Friesland this long weekend, De Ruis highlights five events that may be of interest to international students.  

 By Sharon Cornelissen

Pentecost to some is the beginning of the Christian church by bringing the Christian Spirit into existence and enlivening it. In the New Testament, we read about an event that seems quite social and communicative indeed. On this day, the first followers of Jesus were all together in one place. A potent rushing wind filled the entire house where they were sitting and fiery tongues rested on those assembled who were suddenly able to speak in other languages. All courtesy of the Holy Spirit.

The term ‘Pentecost’ is actually derived from the Greek word pentekostos for ‘fifty’. It refers to the fifty days that have elapsed since Easter Sunday. The event appears in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, it alludes to the ‘Feast of Weeks’, an agricultural event (held exactly fifty days after Easter) that celebrated the end of the grain harvest. It was during this festival that the Holy Spirit poured over Jesus’ first followers. In the New Testament, the grain festival is absent and the Holy Spirit hit the Apostles fifty days after Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension.

Social events with something agricultural about them, it would seem, quite suit the Pentecost tradition. Four of the entries on our list meet this description. All five offer hours of enjoyment.

1. Joure onder de wol (‘Joure covered in wool’)

Saturday, the 19th of May, the city of Joure will turn into an epic village, hosting a festival surrounding wool for the fifth time in a row. There are demonstrations of sheep shearing and of different techniques using wool: spinning, weaving, yarning, knitting, crocheting, etc. In addition, you can pick your own sheep to have it sheared especially for you. Then you can use the wool to create your own masterpiece during the many workshops that this festival has to offer. Also do not forget to cuddle the lambs, rabbits and alpacas: fuzzy and adorable! Best of all: entry is free.

 Saturday 19th May: 10.00 – 17.00h

Midstraat, Joure

  1. Frituur Festival Leeuwarden (‘Frying Festival of Leeuwarden’)

Fond of everything that makes the grease drip down your chin? Then you definitely have to attend the ‘Frituur Festival Leeuwarden’. Here you can fill up your belly with anything that is deep-fried. At this food festival you will not only find the regular, commonly known fried snacks; here you can taste for instance the Carbo croquette (a croquette with a ‘Spaghetti Carbonara’ filling) and the Bolo slice (a slice with a ‘Spaghetti Bolognese’ filling). Bring cash, because you cannot use a pin card here.

 Saturday 19th May: 12.00 – 20.00h

De Neushoorn, Leeuwarden


  1. Flinke Flea Market (‘Gigantic Flea Market’)

Selling or buying stuff from the trunk of your car, that is what this festival is all about! At a green, astonishing location in the village of Hemelum, right in the middle of nature, you can dig up treasures at this flea market. But you can also sell your own stuff; for only €10 you can claim a spot for your car to start selling from its trunk. In order to sign up, mail to:

Sunday 20th May, 10.00 – 16.00h

It Flinkeboskje, Hemelum


  1. Nachtvaren Alde Feanen (‘Nightly Sailing Alde Feanen’)

Exploring the province of Friesland in the dark while spotting stars in the inky-black sky; at National Park ‘Alde Feanen’ you can, while sailing through the mysterious woods of ‘Alde Feanen’. During a two-hour sail in the dark, a local skipper will tell you chilling ghost stories from the region, as well as memorable facts about the night sky. The tour starts at 21.30h; entry is €17,50 per person. Reservation is obligatory.

Monday 21th May, 21.30 – 23.30h

De Stripe 22, Earnewâld


  1. Fietselfstedentocht (‘Eleven Cities Bicycle Tour’) (English info)

For over a century people have been riding this 240 kilometer tour across the traditional Frisian eleven cities (known from the ice-skating tour) by bicycle on the Monday of Pentecost. Participants start in the city of Bolsward between 05.00 – 08.00h in the morning; they have to finish again in Bolsward before 24.00h in the evening. Participants who finish will receive a unique souvenir medal to commemorate their impressive effort.

Whether you are a professional cyclist or a recreational cyclist, whether you bring a racing bike or a tandem or something else on two wheels, everyone can register to participate. While no less than 15.000 available tickets are available each year, far more people want to partake so a draw decides who can. If you do not have one, there is still some good news left! Many festivities take place on the route and in each of the eleven cities through which this small army of cyclists peddles. There is music, special food and drinks to be enjoyed while you cheer on the cyclists and have fun in one go!

Monday 21th May, 05.00 – 24.00h

Eleven Cities in the Frisian Province; for the route of the tour, go to:


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