Ceramics Museum

Leeuwarden - Friesland

Some ins and outs on the Netherlands' most famous spy Margaretha Geertruida MacLeod, born in Leeuwarden, and known by most as Mata Hari, are included on the page 'Famous Dutch'.


Keramiek / Ceramics

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the supply of ceramics grew enormously and conseqently prices fell. The Dutch ceramics industry struggled to survive. Production and quality also declined in Friesland, but Frisan tiles remained as popular as ever and the 19th century Frisian lead-glazed earthenware remained popular for everyday use. Often it was decorated in the 'ringeloor' technique, whereby decorative motifs were applied to the earthenware by pushing a thread of liquid clay through a cow's horn with a hole in its tip (similar to decorating a cake).


Art Nouveau

In the 20th century, more and more ceramists abondoned the traditional pot and experimented with shapes, techniques and materials. Individual creativity came to the fore and led to unique ceramic objects.

At the same time, visual artists discovered ceramics as an artistic medium. Picasso's efforts inspired many artists after him to create and paint ceramics.

Karel Appel - Tête, 1978

Pablo Picasso                       - Visage de face, 1963

Learn more about Dutch gables by following the link.

Elements representing the Silk Route as described at 'The Golden Age'.

Probably one of the most famous underground stations in Art Nouveau style: the Metropolitain in Paris.

Mata Hari

Exotic Dancer and double agent

The Ceramics Museum is located in the Princessenhof ('Princess's Court'), a city palace named after Princess Maria Louise van Hessen-Kassel (her portrait is displayed on the left), the widow of Governor Johan Willem Riso van Nassau-Dietz; as such she is a direct ancestor of our present king Willem Alexander van Oranje-Nassau. The Princessenhof was used from 1731 to 1765 by the princess, who was popular among Frisians because of her modesty and engaging way in which she interacted with people.

As promised, the 17 inch long ceramic octopus.

The illustrations on ancient ceramic tiles and plates provide an excellent insight into the history of the Netherlands with its agricultural background and its efforts 'to rule the waves' on some of the shipping routes.

Tulips are integrated into many things Dutch, hence this website would not be complete without a little bit of 'tulip history'.


In 2018, Leeuwarden together with the province Friesland is the Culture Capital of Europe. And rightfully so, Leeuwarden on itself can boost about 600 monuments and on top there are a hugh number of activities, festivals etc. taking place. Furthermore Leeuwarden has got its own leaning tower. The visit to the Ceramics Museum changed my view on ceramics.

Ceramics as an artform