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 seventh 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 8 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 special (international) performances in the city centre.

The Stadskas (heart of the festival ‘City Greenhouse’ at the Oldehoofsterkerkhof, 8–25 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, 8–24 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, ZuperStition and Noordelijk Film Festival we will also be presenting a new programme every day. Details can be found on this page. 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, AquaSonic and En toen schiep God Mounir. The Stadkas is also where you can pick up your festival wristband during the festival (22–24 november).

Festival locations, opening hours and programme

Day tickets are available for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The block schedules are available right 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). In 2019 there are two different kinds of expeditions, lasting 1½ hours. The expeditions were created together with A Guide to Leeuwarden. More information and the opportunity to sign up via this page.


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:

Friday 22 November | 12 noon to 11 PM

Saturday 23 November | 12 noon to 11 PM

Sunday 24 November | 12 noon to 11 PM

Overnight stays

You don't need to catch the last train since we have a wonderful deal for you: during the festival weekend for just €10 per night you can stay in Alibi Hostel's dormitory room if you purchase a ticket including overnight stay with us. These tickets are available in the webshop after you've selected your festivalticket and entered your details.

Or are you in for a bit more luxury? During the festival discounts are also available on rooms at WestCord WTC Hotel Leeuwarden. Booking information is available at explore-the-north.nl.

Wheelchair accessibility

All Explore locations are accessible to wheelchair users with the exception of De Eestroom. Although we will be doing everything we can to make the Waalse Kerk and De Westerkerk as accessible as possible, it would be a tremendous help if you would announce your arrival in advance by emailing info@explore-the-north.nl. Thanks!

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 seventhExplore 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: vrijwilligers@explore-the-north.nl.


The intimate locations used as Explore the North venues are limited in size. So please be on time, because all venues are first come, first served: full = full. The programme, times, locations and venues are all subject to change. Keep an eye on explore-the-north.nl and our social media channels for the latest updates.