Dokkum Market | Dokkum, Netherlands | HOSPER

In 2018  Leeuwarden-Fryslân was declared as Cultural Capital of Europe 2018. One of the activities to celebrate this was to connect the Frisian 11 cities of the Elfstedentocht – eleven cities ice-skating tour – in a new way, through the sparkling water of 11 new and extraordinary fountains. For the market in Dokkum the artist Birthe Leemeijer created an ice fountain. This ice fountain, with its innovative way of making ice, connects St. Boniface – killed at Dokkum in 754 – , the Elfstedentocht and climate change. The proposal for the installation of this ice fountain also resulted in a degree of social unrest. In light of this the municipality of Dongeradeel commissioned HOSPER to draw up a new design for the market.

Broad-based design
A broad-based design was made for this important and highly layered historical space. HOSPER produced insightful models that illustrated the possible design scenarios. These models were discussed in both the Mienskipkommisje and public information meetings. The starting point was an integral plan in which the many historical elements of this place come into their own and that at the same time forms a natural platform for all kinds of activities as well as the planned ice fountain.

The Boniface Terp
The former Boniface Terp – Boniface mound – has been restored as a spatial experience. The mound is constructed as a visibly raised surface, with 50cm height difference along the edges so that trees can grow on them without disturbing the archaeological soil below. The square now has a green layout with grass surfaces and trees. On the square the contours of the former abbey church have been made visible in the paving and by newly erected walls of kloostermoppen bricks, giving a self-evident privacy to the new terrace area.

Material and furniture
The pavement on the mound consists of large rectangular granite tiles, referring to the historic gravestones of the graves that are under the market. There is a subtle distinction between the largely paved top square in front of the church, and the slightly downward curving northern part of the square where a combination of granite and grass is used. The light grey-yellow colour of the used granite is inspired by the soil layers from which the mound is constructed and, together with the grass, gives the square a warm and park-like atmosphere. The ice fountain has a central position on the square and is surrounded by trees, among which a number of pin oaks – Quercus palustris -, which offer shade and seclusion.

At various places on the square there are benches with preserved bamboo wooden seats and sunken line lighting. The size of the benches is derived from the recorded small tombs found on the market. There is space for 28 parking spaces on the north side of the market. The houses on the market will have a paved zone in front of the façade, as is customary in the city centre of Dokkum.

Design plan
Scale model of redesign market square including ice fountain

Dokkum Market

Location: Dokkum, Netherlands

Landscape Architect: HOSPER
Designers: Hanneke Kijne, Jonas Strous
Partners: Enno Zuidema, Birthe Leemeijer

Client: Municipality of Dongeradeel

Year of design: 2016 – 2018
Year of completion: 2019
Photography / visuals: Luuk Kramer / HOSPER

About Damian Holmes 3223 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at