He already held Nassau Walks and Maria Louise Walks through the centre of the city of Leeuwarden, the capital of the Province of Friesland, in the north of the Netherlands. On 5 August Bearn Bilker – a known Dutch royalty-expert – led the very first Anna van Hannover Walk, about his favourite Frisian Nassau. It was not his first tour ever, but nevertheless he was a bit nervous he said at the start in the Walloon Church, which still cherishes the organ that Anna once donated.
Soon however almost 30 people were listening to his interesting story about the life of Anna, who was born in Herrenhausen, Hannover, Germany, in 1709 and died in The Hague in 1759. She was the Princess Royal and daughter of King George II of Great Britain and Ireland. During the two hour sit and walk you’ll hear all about her childhood in Herrenhausen and London. And why did she marry Stadtholder Willem IV of the Netherlands, who wasn’t exactly the most handsome man in the world, nor the most desirable royal in Europe? Most of their married life, from 1734 to 1747 the couple lived in Leeuwarden, before moving to The Hague when Willem became the Stadtholder of all Dutch provinces.
We didn’t visit the Grote of Jacobijnerkerk, where many of the Frisian Nassaus, until 1765 were buried. Willem and Anna weren’t buried here, but in Delft. Willems mother Maria Louise was the last to find her resting place in Leeuwarden. We however did pass the former palace, the “Stadhouderlijk Hof“, nowadays a hotel. In front of it since 1906 is the statue of Stadtholder Willem Lodewijk, Count of Nassau-Diez (1560-1720), in Friesland called “Ús Heit” (Our Father). We of course also passed the Princessehof, where Anna’s mother-in-law lived, as well as the Prinsentuin (Prince’s Garden), where Anna regularly walked. And we walked through the Anna van Hannoverlaantje, of which Bearn Bilker is very proud.
The tour finished at Brasserie Maria Louise, named of course after the mother of Willem IV. On the side of the building is a wonderful wall painting that you shouldn’t miss when visiting Leeuwarden.
The walking tours are about 1 1/2 to 2 hours long and cost € 4,00 a person. They start at 1.30pm at the Grote of Jacobijnerkerk or the Walloon Church. In case you’re interested: you can sign in at historischcentr[email protected] Preferably you sign in at least two days beforehand, as there is a maximum of 30 people. There is another Anna van Hannover Walk on Saturday 12 August. On Saturday 2 September is a Maria Louise Walk. If you don’t make it this year, you could maybe put a visit to Leeuwarden in your agenda for 2018 already.