The center of Leeuwarden is cozy and manageable in size – the one time we got lost lasted about 20 seconds – and the people are very friendly. At the end of the market day, we witnessed how the owner of a market stall had prepared a big package of unsold foods, which he pressed into the hands of an indigent gentleman, with strict instructions to eat it all himself. A walk through the Bagijnestraat brought us to Boomsma Museum; home of the Boomsma Beerenburger, the local gin. Here, you can request a group tour and a tasting, or you can just stroll through it. A stroll, incidentally, that sometimes feels like you jumped down the rabbit hole after Alice in Wonderland, as each room leads to another whereby every time you pass through a door, you go back in time another two or three decades – until you end up in the Gruttersmuseum / Grutterswinkel. Here they sell old-fashioned candy and you can order a cup of coffee or tea, and a local pastry, in one of their modest-sized living rooms. The jump down the rabbit hole can even be made literal, as you crawl down the stairs to visit the locale’s old wine cellar.
If you come to Leeuwarden with your children, be sure to go to the Nature Museum. Its target group is primarily children, but it has been set up in such a way that even you, as an adult, will find yourself wanting to participate.