Lend a Frisian

The day and age in which libraries merely offer books for lend are long gone, think about for example cd’s and dvd’s. The Libraries here in Friesland now even offer Frisians for lend, that’s right, actual Frisians. Libraries serve the purpose of distributing knowledge from one to another. What better way to learn about Fryslân’s unique aspects than by hearing about it from a real Frisian.

By: Johan de Fries – photo: Leeneenfries.nl – Translation: Jelmer H. Zijlstra & Vicky Pammer

The project is an initiative originating from the library Drachten/Smallingerland, and has rapidly spread to all Frisian libraries. Tourists now have the opportunity to lend a Frisian by going to Leeneenfries.nl. The website can be seen as a sort of Ebay. On this marketplace platform, Frisians can offer themselves up for lend, to talk about their expertise, in regards to Friesland and its culture.

Tons of Options
The initiative has grown to be a significant undertaking that offers tourists a fun interactive way to learn about, for example, the Keats-capital of Friesland, Franeker, getting the game explained by a real keatser and actually get to play the game themselves. On Schiermonnikoog you can do yoga with a yoga teacher at the beach and in Sneek can you get to know everything about the Jewish history of the city by means of a city tour. But that’s not all, you can explore the richness of the city canals by going on a boat trip, discover everything there is to know about Fryslân’s iconic landmarks or learn about its rich history by getting a tour through one of many museums. These are merely a few examples of the tons op available options offered by ‘Lend a Frisian.’

Back in October, when the Cultural Capital 2018 program was first announced, the Leeneenfries.nl website went online as well. By now, the organisation has a large amount of Frisian hosts, but there is always room for more, and luckily it is surprisingly easy to become one, you do not necessarily need to speak Frisian, all you need is a healthy dose of passion about your preferred topic and the desire to share your knowledge with others. Connecting tourists with Frisians is directly in line with the “Iepen Meanskip” philosophy which the Cultural Capital 2018 tries to uphold.

Students Frisian Design Factory
The students of Leeuwarden are shifting their weight in the project as well. The students from the Design Factory in the Blokhuispoort are working on realizing a real pop-up which enables them to connect to each other and ‘Lend a Frisian.’