Friesland Province’s History, Politics and Economy


Friesland*, also referred to as Fryslân, is a province of the Netherlands that is situated in its northern region. It is named after the Frisians, a Germanic people who have settled in the coastal areas of the North Sea for centuries. The preservation of Frisian culture and language is one of Friesland’s distinguishing characteristics, which is why it is regarded as a special region of the Netherlands. Along with its traditional activities like sailing and skating, Friesland is also known for its stunning natural atmosphere, specifically its lakes and islands. This is a reason why Friesland has become a more popular place for tourists, heard over and over. There are many aspects of Friesland to consider, including its history, politics, and economy.

To begin with, Frisia has an extensive history extending back to the era of the Roman Empire. A Germanic tribe known as the Frisiis settled in the northern areas that today’s borders of Germany and the Netherlands. According to certain reports, the Frisiis inhabited the North Sea shoreline at that period. The modern-day provinces of Friesland, Groningen, North Holland, and South Holland happened to be included in Frisia during this time. The Frisians are regarded as both a continuation of the Frisiis and Anglo-Saxon immigrants after the Roman era. The processes that took place over time show that it is challenging to rule a region as a single entity as a region’s population increases and its territorial area widens. Friesland was therefore split into West Frisia, South Frisia, and Middle Frisia. It further existed as a polity based in Utrecht that followed customary law in the seventh and eighth centuries. The Frisians made an effort to live a life free of slavery and feudal systems. Parts of Friesland became a province of the Dutch Republic after the Union of Utrecht was signed in the 16th century, following a revolt in the northern Netherlands against Spanish authority, even though some attempts at liberation were unsuccessful. This was a start in the direction of defending the liberties that the Frisians held valuable.

The politics of Friesland can be distinct from Dutch politics, to put it another way. The People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), which received the most votes in the House of Representatives election on March 21, 2021, and is owner of the conservative liberalism and center-right ideology., maintained its significance. As one of the Dutch provinces in the north, Friesland has a distinct cultural identity and history that have had an important effect on its politics. The Frisian people value a strong sense of regional pride and rights, which often shows itself in their political decisions, as it did in the past. The Frisian language, which shares official status with the Dutch in the province and emphasizes the value of cultural preservation, lends support to this regional identity. There is a regional party known as the Frisian National Party since the VVD is as powerful there as it is in the Netherlands. The Frisian National Party works to protect Frisian rights, culture, and language. The Frisian National Party wants greater autonomy and a kind of government that is almost independent, even if they support federalism. FNP is a big tent party that is not only focused on one ideology but also considers other ideologies and includes other ideology supporters. Its key points can be seen as defending only these values, but FNP also seeks out principles like sustainability, biodiversity, and entrepreneurship. That it makes the situation clearer to comprehend that FNP supports democracy, federalism, internationalism, the culture and language of the Frisian people, entrepreneurship, solidarity, and sustainability. It should be noted that the FNP is also represented in the Senate along with other regional parties like the Groninger Belang (Groningen’s Interest) and Partij voor Zeeland (Party for Zeeland). Furthermore, the FNP is represented in Europe under the name of the European Free Alliance along with parties from Wales, Scotland, and Catalonia. It wouldn’t be surprising to learn that national parties and Frisian parties work together when dealing with concerns, upcoming elections, or everyday situations. 

Finally, there are certain vital elements to the economy of Friesland, such as tourism and agriculture. From an economic perspective report, it is envisioned that the Friesland will be left to future generations in a sustainable, environmentally friendly, and clean state. For Friesland, issues included an aging population and a coronavirus epidemic. Friesland had its fair share when the world’s economy suffered due to the coronavirus. The economy of Friesland is not much better than that of the Netherlands as a whole, therefore several residents rely on insurance and other benefits.


                        GDP per capita in USD. As of 2021.


Friesland’s population composition for 2000-2050

    Bottom to top: 0-15 years old, 15-65 years old and 65+ years old.

As it can be seen from the table, which compares Friesland’s gross fixed capital formation in terms of agriculture, fishing, and forestry, it is possible to state that the region’s agriculture is already established.

Friesland238 million Euro
Groningen191 million Euro
Drenthe145 million Euro
Flevoland199 million Euro

                                              As of 2017

According to predictions, Friesland will deal with these issues in the future by responding to population change by increasing labor productivity, luring new residents to the region, and embracing digitization. It also includes encouraging entrepreneurship and moving from “old” sectors to ones that are more digitalized. Regarding industries, Friesland and the northern Dutch provinces concentrate on the IT, medical, and agricultural fields. Northern provinces like Friesland and Groningen are attractive to enterprises due to the Netherlands’ fast internet access, geographic location, and climate. The quality of higher education in the Netherlands also supports the field of health science. Research and development initiatives help the agriculture sector improve as well. The most important economic sectors in Friesland can be categorized as industry, agriculture, tourism, trade, and business services. Friesland appears to be ready for the digital age according to plans and expectations.

In short, it is stated that Frisia has a rich history dating back to the Roman Empire, when a Germanic tribe settled in northern regions of the Netherlands and Germany. After the Roman period, the Frisians were also Anglo-Saxon immigrants and divided Friesland into West, South, and Middle Frisia. In the 7th and 8th centuries, the Frisians sought freedom from slavery and feudal structures. In the 16th century, parts of Friesland became a Dutch Republic province to protect their rights. About its political status, Friesland’s politics are distinct from Dutch politics, with VVD being the most voted party in the House of Representatives election. The Frisian National Party (FNP) focuses on preserving Frisian culture, rights, and language while supporting federalism and sustainability. FNP is represented in the Senate and collaborates with other regional parties. In terms of Friesland’s economy, it is possible to mark that Friesland’s economy faces challenges like an aging population and the Coronavirus pandemic, but still works on maintaining its developed sectors, such as industry and agriculture. To address population change, Friesland plans to increase labor productivity, attract more workers, and transition to digitalization. Key sectors include IT, health, and agriculture, with Friesland prepared for the digitalization era. These key points can tell much about Friesland and its future.

* There are other Frisian regions in the Europe, such as East Frisia where is located in Germany, but Netherlands’ province is focused on article for politics and economy.


Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2012, January 9). FrisiaEncyclopedia Britannica.

Make It In The North. (n.d.). The Northern Dutch energy sector. Retrieved September 21, 2023, from

Friesland Databank (2022). Economische Barometer Noord-Nederland. Retrieved from

Make It In The North. (n.d.). The Northern Dutch life science and health sector Retrieved September 21, 2023, from

Eurostat (2004, March) Portrait of the Regions – NETHERLANDS – FRIESLAND – Economy. Retrieved from

Knoema. (n.d.). WORLD DATA ATLAS. Retrieved from:  

Frisian National Party. (n.d.). About the Frisian National Party. Retrieved from

Previous Post

Cyprus Negotiation Process: A Historical Analysis

Next Post

Adapting to a New Era NATO Throughout History

Related Posts