Once the former residence of the Frisian stathouders, today it is the capital and cultural centre of Friesland. It is a dynamic and attractive town with pretty canals and many historic buildings. Leeuwarden is famous as the departure and return point for the tour of eleven towns but owes its reputation to the important place it occupies in the dairy industry in the Netherlands. Mata Hari and M.C. Escher are among the famous people born in Leeuwarden.