Sneek is built around a waterway (in old documents called the Magna Fossa) The waterway to the north (Geeuw, Sneeker Oudvaart)( was needed because the Middelzee was silted. The old hemdijk comes in as the "Hemdijk", turns into the "Oude Dijk" and becomes the "Wijde en Nauwe Noorderhornes" before it goes on as the "Peperstraat" and the "Wijde en Nauwe Burgstraten", it is eventually the base of the busy shoppingstreet the "Oosterdijk", and leaves the city as the "Griene Dyk".
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 blooming trading city that would last until the year 1550. In 1492 they began building a ditch and wall around the city. In those days Sneek was the only city in Friesland that had a wall. Only the waterpoort (watergate) and the Bolwerk are remaining today.
In this panorama of the Dutch photographer Hans Molenkamp you can see the 'Waterpoort' with it's remarkable towers in the center of the image.
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights. In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states. Text by Steve Smith.