Practical information

About Explore the North

Explore the North is a wintry urban festival presenting the historical Leeuwarden city centre as stage for music and stories. Our sixth edition will be celebrated 22–24 November, when we will be enjoying a jam-packed festival weekend together with you.

But that’s not all! This year our festival period will already begin on 15 November with the opening of the heart of the festival that everyone can visit free of charge – a large greenhouse called the Stadskas on the Oldehoofsterkerkhof. This will be followed by two special international performances in the city centre and a new festival focusing on young talent. You can read more about that here.

Explore the North is also proud to be the official closing event of the year in which Leeuwarden - Fryslân was the European Capital of Culture. But strictly speaking it is hardly a closing event: it is simply the beginning of a new cultural start for a city and province which have been clearly transformed.

The Stadskas (heart of the festival ‘City Greenhouse’ at the Oldehoofsterkerkhof, 15–25 November)

Explore the North is building a Stadskas – a City Greenhouse – at the Oldehoofsterkerkhof! It can be visited daily from 12 noon until 12 midnight, 15–25 November, for a bite to eat or a drink, to party and to relax. But there’s more too: together with our partners such as the Stadsoase, Leeuwarden-Fryslân 2018’s Fuck Up Nights, New Faces and the Popfabryk, we will also be presenting a new programme every day. Details can be found soon on the website. Together with leading bookshop Boekhandel Van der Velde we will also be presenting book signings with the authors from the Explore programme. And of course there will also be the opportunity to purchase your favourite authors’ books. The Stadskas is the place to find information about every aspect of Explore the North and purchase tickets for Explore, Liquid Loft, AquaSonic and Young Explorers. The Stadkas is also where you can pick up your festival wristband during the festival (22–24 november).

Festival locations, opening hours and programme

This year, Explore the North will begin on a Thursday for the first time ever. Day tickets are available for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The block schedule can be found here. Have a look at our festival booklet here.


Participants in Explore expeditions get to see Leeuwarden city centre from a very different perspective. The route takes you to undiscovered locations where you can see artists perform in an intimate setting. In previous editions, intrepid explorers were treated to Spinvis, Siv Jakobsen, A.L. Snijders and Adrian Crowley in small-scale intimate settings in beautiful buildings such as an old soapworks, the ceramics museum cellar and the treasure room of the local historical society Historisch Centrum Leeuwarden (HCL). There are three different kinds of expeditions, all three lasting 1½ hours. The expeditions were created together with Historisch Centrum Leeuwarden and A Guide to Leeuwarden. More information and the opportunity to sign up via will follow in early November.


To be admitted to all of the Explore the North festival locations, you will need to trade in your ticket for a wristband. You can pick up your wristband at the Stadskas, our heart of the festival at the Oldehoofsterkerkhof, on the following days at the times stated:

Thursday 22 November | 12 noon to 11 PM

Friday 23 November | 12 noon to 11 PM

Saturday 24 November | 12 noon to 11 PM

Overnight stays

During the festival discounts are available on rooms at WestCord WTC Hotel Leeuwarden. Book your hotel room here.

Wheelchair accessibility

All Explore locations are accessible to wheelchair users with the exception of the Popbunker. Expedition 2 (more news to follow in November) is also accessible for wheelchair users.

Please note

The intimate locations used as Explore venues have limited space. So please be on time, because all venues are first come, first served: full = full.


Why not pitch in! We can always use enthusiastic volunteers to help out at the sixth Explore the North edition. We are looking for people to do a variety of jobs, both prior to, during and after the festival.

What’s in it for you? You will experience a lot of wonderful festival days and probably make a lot of new friends. We promise to take good care of you. More information can be found in the application form. And don’t worry, we will treat your personal details with the proper confidentiality. Any questions? Please send your email to: [email protected].