Heritage centre for Leeuwarden
The Historisch Centrum Leeuwarden (HCL) is the centre for documentation for the history of Leeuwarden and surroundings. Thousands of meters of historical documents, stretching back to the middle ages and up to the present day, are being preserved here and are made accessible to the public. Every one who wants to do research in the history of Leeuwarden or its early inhabitants, is at the HCL at the right place. Our expert staff helps the visitors to find their way in the archives, civil records, drawings, newspapers and a lot of other sources.
How does the HCL collects its sources?
The HCL originates from the Municipal Archives of Leeuwarden. Originally, it was the legal repository for the archives of the city government. The oldest act dates from 1426. Newer archives are among others the 19th- and 20th-century civil records. In the course of time, archives of municipal agencies, churches, companies and private people also were collected. Slowly but steadily, the former Municipal Archives developed into a centre for historical information.
The HCL receives a few thousand visitors each year. Many people search for the history of their houses or are doing genealogical research. Professional visitors are for instance estate agents, journalists, environmental scientists, lawyers, teachers and civil servants. Students also make al ot of use of the HCL. Here they find material for their papers, and they can join in educational projects, which are organized by the HCL in cooperation with the schools and colleges. At request, the HCL staff does research for others, against the usual rates.
The HCL organizes exhibitions in its own building, about topics that have to do with the city of Leeuwarden. The city’s history is so rich, that there’s a huge number of potential topics. The exhibitions are as well interesting for the Leeuwarders, because they see the history of their own environment coming to life, as for tourists.
Mostly in cooperation with related institutions, the HCL organizes a variety of historical activities, such as the annual Heritage Day, city walks, workshops and lectures.
In the archives shop of the HCL, publications about the Leeuwarden are for sale. A large part of these publications have been written by the many amateur- and professional historians that do research in ours sources. The publications range from voluminous books to little brochures and articles. Among these, you’ll find the biographies of M.C. Escher and Mata Hari, both of them natives of Leeuwarden. In our shop, you’ll find old picture postcards and reproductions of city maps.