The Stedhûs Sleat Museum offers a surprising view of the history of Sloten with two rooms each approaching their historical subject from a different angle.

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Into the museum

Meer over de geschiedenis van Sloten

Into the museum

Council Hall: Sloten, the ideal town

The showpiece of this former townhall is the Council Hall or ‘court room’ on the first floor. Every half hour, we show our multimedia presentation ‘Sloten, the ideal town’, which gives you a surprising view of Sloten. There are also two display cases where you can look at several objects from the administrative history of this council hall, such as, for example, the copper voting beans, for the members of the council to vote with, the Mayor’s seat and the president’s gavel.

Don’t forget to look upwards at the exceptional, original plaster detailing above the fireplace, the door and on the ceilings.

'Vertrekzaal': Sloten in bird’s eye view and in detail

IIn the vertrekzaal – the other room on the first floor – you can see an outline of the history of Sloten. The enormous image on the curved wall is a copy of the map made by Nicolaas van Geelkerken in 1616. The niches in the wall hide small theatres containing objects that illustrate special stories from the history of the town.

Historie Maquette 1200

In 1984 the municipality of Sloten was abolished and the last mayor closed the door of the town hall behind him. The chests of drawers contain historical information about the town. You’ll find ancient pictures, objects and artefacts illustrating what Sloten looked like in earlier times!

Remember, you are allowed to open all the drawers yourself!

Historie strook 900br

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The beer barge

One of the scenes we bring to life in the is a disastrous episode that took place with a beer barge during the eighty-year war against the Spaniards. It’s our own variation of the Trojan Horse!

12 May 1588. Pier Lupckes from the neighbouring village of Tjerkgaast, had the nefarious plan to invade Sloten, but that’s not so easy: the town, with all its ramparts was difficult to attack. With the Spanish troupes of Philips II as allies, Lupckes thought he had found a way to get the rebellious town under control: two skippers from Grouw - Dotte Sibles and Stomme Jelmer, agreed to let a number of Spanish soldiers hide in the hold amongst the beer barrels. But an observant town guard discovered them and raised the alarm. A really fierce and bloody battle then took place between the town’s brave civic guard and the hostile Spaniards!

 After a betrayal of this gravity Pier Lupckes had to die and, two weeks later he was publicly beheaded in Sloten. His head was then put on a pole and ‘exhibited’ near the gate.

This famous event is re-enacted every three years with the town as backdrop.  

Historie Biersschip 1200br

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More about the history of Sloten

How did Sloten actually originate?

Sloten was formed in the thirteenth century as a settlement near a small, stone-fortified house, a ‘stins’ (typical for Friesland), which was owned by the family Van Harinxma thoe Slooten and stood at the crossing of the trading road from Bentheim to Stavoren.

Sloten was first mentioned as a town in the charter of 30 August 1426 and, in 1523, the little town was the last Frisian fortress to fall into the hands of the heirs of the Counts of Holland. During the siege of Sloten in 1523, where forces from Friesland and Gelderland were stationed, the Dutch nobleman Jan II van Wassenaer was fatally injured. Van Wassenaer was the last Dutchman killed in the battle of the reign over Friesland.

Sloten was located on an important waterway which ran from Sneek to the Zuiderzee and then further to the trading cities on the Ijssel. In Sloten this waterway crossed the road from Germany to Stavoren (Starum). At this crossing, one could charge users a toll and exercise strategic control. The country road went via Doniawerstal over the ‘gaasten’ (sand ridges) to Sloten, where you could cross the water by bridge, to Gaasterland and then further to Stavoren - a large and important trading city in the middle ages.

The video shows how Sloten owes its existence to a major ecological disaster in the Middle Ages (Dutch spoken, with English and German subtitles available).  

The sequel of this story can be viewed in the next video: why is the smallest of the 11 Frisian cities so ideal? And what do magic lantern pictures have to do with it? (Dutch spoken, with English and German subtitles available.)

These days, Sloten is no longer of strategic importance but is now popular with water sports enthusiasts, day-trippers and people looking for a pleasant environment to live in. A marina was constructed on the south side of the little town in the seventies, and is the site of a number of water sports companies. There is also a large factory in Sloten which is part of the Nutreco-group, producing milk substitutes for young farm animals (calves, piglets, etc.). And of course, there are livestock concerns all around Sloten which form an important basis for the local economy.

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Sipelstêd ('Onion town')

The town is fortunate enough to have retained almost all of the original ramparts and the entirety of the original structure of Sloten. The fortress was designed and built by the well-known fortress builder, Menno van Coehoorn, who was buried in Wijckel, a nearby village. In fortress terms, because of its onion shape (it is called Sipelstêd, onion town), Sloten was an ideal town to defend. Sipelsneon (Onion Saturday,) is held in Sloten on the last Saturday of June, so this year it will be on 23 June.

Historie Sipelsted 1200br

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A town in the 11-city tour

Sloten is one of the 11 towns in Friesland, so skaters participating in the 11-city tour used to come right through. This video is a documentary of the first one in 1909. (English and German subtitles available.) 


Unfortunately, nowadays, this is more history than it is reality! So, you can only look at nostalgic pictures or make the tour yourself on a bike, a canoe or on foot. In our Tourist Information Office, you’ll find maps with routes and lots of information about all the options.

Historie 11steden

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