I (Johannes Oppewal) am born in the city Sneek (1980) in the province Friesland, also known as “Fryslân” in the Frisian language, is a province in the northern part of the Netherlands. It is a unique and distinct region with a rich cultural heritage and a strong sense of identity.

Friesland has a history of striving for freedom and independence. The Frisians fiercely defended their autonomy in the past, and this spirit of independence is still evident in their culture and traditions.

Even though I’m often on the road for my art, I regularly come back to Friesland. That’s why in the summer of 2023, I have drawn the Frisian Eleven Cities in pop art style.

The Frisian Eleven Cities, known as the “Elfstedentocht” in Dutch, is a legendary ice skating race that covers a 200-kilometer route through eleven historic Frisian cities in the Netherlands. This event, often regarded as a true test of endurance, only takes place when the natural ice is thick enough to support the skaters. It has a special place in the hearts of the Frisian people, as it combines their love for winter sports, culture, and tradition.

While the ice skating event only occurs when the ice is thick enough, the same route can be enjoyed by cyclists throughout the year. Bicycling through the Eleven Cities is a fantastic way to explore the picturesque Frisian countryside and visit each city.

The Elfstedentocht is more than just a sporting event; it’s a cultural phenomenon that celebrates history, community, and the indomitable spirit of the Frisian people. It has a profound impact on the region, fostering unity, tradition, and a shared love for Friesland’s unique heritage.

The 11 cities are, to begin with the city where I am born:
* The first name is in Frisian, the second in Dutch

Snits (Sneek)

Drylts (IJlst)

Sleat (Sloten)

Starum (Stavoren)

Hylpen (Hindeloopen)

Warkum (Workum)

Boalsert (Bolsward)

Harns (Harlingen)

Frjentsjer (Franeker)

Dokkum (Dokkum)

Ljouwert (Leeuwarden)

Find more about Fryslân at www.popart.frl (Dutch language)