The city of Leeuwarden, Friesland
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The capital of Friesland is Leeuwarden. The old Weigh House stands near the centre of the town, in the midst of the market, a large square bordering one of the main canals. The buildings of most interest are the tower of St. Jacques, and the Chancellerie, and the Museum.
Following the main streets of Leeuwarden brings one sooner or later face to face with the curious steeple shown in the engraving. It is the leaning tower of St. Jacques. Controversy has arisen over this and similar structures, as to whether they were designedly built out of the perpendicular, or "have suffered from a yielding foundation. However it may be with the tower at Pisa, buildings out of the straight are so common in Holland, and so shifty is the subsoil, that the reasonable explanation is subsidence, not deliberate purpose. Whether it be only a slight slant, as in the steeple of the old church at Delft, or whether it be a decided inclination, as in the St. Jacques' Tower, opinions can hardly differ as to the unpleasing effect. It is a pretty conceit to imagine the old pile leaning over to catch the accents of the passers-by; but the visitor who sees it for the first time is apt to give it a wide berth, lest, disliking his accent, it might do at that instant what it seems to be perpetually threatening, namely, descend and crush him.
The Museum at Leeuwarden possesses a very extensive and instructive collection of antiquities connected with the province. Some rooms are devoted to the representation of an old Hindeloopen house. The furniture is, of course, genuine, and the tile decorations on the walls and all the details are composed of the objects that have done duty in an actual house. Lay figures add to the realism, inasmuch as they are dressed in the complicated, richly-coloured costumes of the old inhabitants of that little Zuyder Zee port. Although not quite so easy of access as the towns and villages of North Holland, there are many little ports and villages along the eastern coasts of the Zuyder Zee that very fairly come under the classification of picturesque Holland. We cannot do more than name such places as Hindeloopen, Harlingen, Stavoren, and Sneek. The ancient costumes still linger in these places. Away from the beaten track the traveller, who has time and inclination, finds much to reward him, and to illustrate the character and history of Friesland.