The Province of Friesland (or Fryslân in Frisian) is situated in the north-west of The Netherlands, and includes within its boundaries four islands along the North Sea coast. Friesland has 600,000 inhabitants. The region, originally known best as an area for cattle farming, dairy farming and dairy processing, has many businesses related to this industry but also has many other small and medium sized firms in every possible industrial sector, as well as a well developed services sector. (Multi) national companies are located in Leeuwarden, Heerenveen and Drachten. With its numerous lakes and interesting old towns, the province of Friesland has a lot to attract visitors from all over the world making tourism an important factor in the Frisian economy.
Friesland has many canals, small rivers and picturesque lakes, which makes it a paradise for water sports fanatics. A special treat and unique to The Netherlands is mud walking on the mudflats between the mainland and the islands.
The Frisians even have their own language, which dates back to the 8th century and is still spoken by a sizable part of the population. Dutch is the national language of The Netherlands. Frisian is the official language in Fryslan, however, English is spoken by almost everyone. In addition, many Dutch people speak German.