Sloten in Friesland is the smallest town in the world!
DURBUY (B) - The fortified town of Sloten in the Dutch province of Friesland (Fryslân) is the smallest town in the world and not Durbuy in the province of Luxembourg in Belgium.
This is the claim made by journalist Albert Hendriks, who is also director of the Friesland Holland tourist office. He ended up in Durbuy by chance during a working visit to the Ardennes. He could not help but notice the huge advertising hoarding in the town square proclaiming ‘Durbuy, the smallest town in the world’. After having wOtherd around the town making photos for four hours he was convinced that Sloten in Friesland was both smaller and also much more authentic.
The Frisian town, with its moat, fortifications and water gates as clear boundaries, measures just 350 by 350 m. Hendriks claims that the less clearly demarcated town of Durbuy is many times larger. Sloten would also seem to have the edge when it comes to the number of residents. About 350 people live in the town centre, while a lot more people appear to live in Durbuy. In addition, Sloten has a well-preserved urban structure and historic buildings, with a minimum of modern premises.
“Sloten is so well preserved, it could easily function as an open air museum. Durbuy has a lot of modern elements, such as a long, wide promenade with shops and restaurants. Such developments have not taken place in Sloten. Sloten looks like an old town, complete with bulwarks and cannons, water gates, a town hall, a pillory and a real town crier.”
Surely Sloten cannot be that perfect? “One blot on the landscape is the powdered milk factory on the town’s north-eastern periphery which was originally a dairy factory dating from 1903. If that was removed, the town’s image would be well-nigh ideal. However, I still think Durbuy is beautiful, and well worth a visit. In some ways it is similar to Sloten. It too has a river running through it, it is medieval, a tourist attraction and is also a water sports centre, but then on a smaller scale, using kayaks.”
Although people go canoeing in the canals in and around Sloten and on the nearby Slotermeer lake, the vast majority of vessels used are sailing and motor boats. Sloten is one of the key destinations in Friesland for water sports enthusiasts and holiday cyclists alike.