In the city centre, above shoe shop Manfield, you can find the head of a man of Southern appearance who opens his mouth like he is yawning. Hence, his name the wijde gaper (yawner). However, he is not yawning, he is opening his mouth for medication. Because before it became a shoe shop, a pharmacy resided in this building for at least 125 years.
In earlier years, a yawner was pretty common in the Netherlands. Most pharmacies had a yawner on their shop. It was the old school sign board of this profession. The Southern appearance of the yawner was probably a symbol for the origin of the medication. And it probably also suggested a healing power of the medicine.
The yawner is a Dutch invention. Besides a few in the border region, you will not find any of them abroad. Most of them have disappeared nowadays, however. Damage caused by the weather and a lack of maintenance were probably the main causes. The yawner in Leeuwarden is not original anymore either. In 2007, the original was replaced by a replica. The original was restored and can be seen in the Historisch Centrum Leeuwarden.
De Wijde Gaper | Sights
Nieuwestad 156 (show on map)
Open: 24 hours daily