Sneek (Dutch pronunciation: [sneːk] (listen); West Frisian: Snits) is a city southwest of Leeuwarden and seat of the former municipality of Sneek in the province of Friesland, the Netherlands. As for 2011 it is part of the municipality Súdwest-Fryslân. The city had approximately 33,855 inhabitants in January 2017.
Sneek is situated in Southwest-Friesland, close to the Sneekermeer and is well known for its canals, the Waterpoort (Watergate, the symbol of the city), and watersport (Sneekweek). Sneek is one of the Friese elf steden (Eleven cities). The city is very important for the southwest area of Friesland (the “Zuidwesthoek“).
Sneek was founded in the 10th century as Chud on a sandy peninsula at the crossing site of a dike with an important waterway (called the Magna Fossa in old documents). This waterway was dug when the former Middelzee silted up. The dike can still be traced in the current street pattern and street names like “Hemdijk”, “Oude Dijk” and “Oosterdijk”.
Sneek received several city rights in the 13th century, which became official in 1456. Sneek was now one of the eleven Frisian cities. This was also the beginning of a period of blooming trade for the city that would last until about 1550. In 1492 construction of a moat and wall around the city began. In those days Sneek was the only walled city in Friesland. The Waterpoort and the Bolwerk remain today.
Before 2011, the city was an independent municipality.
Since September 10, 1970, Sneek and the Japanese city Kurobe have been sister cities. In 1970, Mayor L. Rasterhoff of Sneek visited the city of Kurobe and was named an Honorary citizen. Mayor H. Terade of Kurobe made a visit to Sneek in 1972. In 2000 delegations of both cities visited each other again. The Japanese showed the citizens of Sneek a “Sneekplein” which was built in Kurobe.
The clothing store C&A started in 1841 with a store in Sneek. The Candyfactory Leaf produces Peppermint under the name KING [nl] as well as chewing gum (Sportlife) and various other sweets. The name “KING” has nothing to do with the English word ‘king’; it stands for Kwaliteit in niets geëvenaard (“Quality equaled by nothing”). Sneek also has steel, machinery and rope factories. Since 1964 there is a factory of Yoshida YKK from Kurobe. Besides that, the supermarket branch Poiesz, clothing brand Gaastra and Frisian gin called beerenburg from Weduwe Joustra are products that have their roots in Sneek.
Sneek is well known as the center of watersports with over 130 watersport companies and 13 Marinas. It also has a historic inner city replete with houses of old upper-class families.
- Waterpoort (1613)
- Sneek Town Hall (1550)
- Grote of Martinikerk (Protestant, 1498), with a carillon of 50 bells
- St. Martin’s Church (Catholic, 1872)
- Tonnema Candy Factory (1955)
- Dúvelsrak and Krúsrak, wooden bridges across the A7 motorway.