With the spotlight on this unsung corner of the Netherlands, it’s time for this European Capital of Culture for 2018 to show off. And it’s doing so with a powerful theme: Celebrating the diverse community that makes this Dutch city what it is.

In many ways, Leeuwarden is a typical Dutch city. The hub of the region of Friesland—home to those pretty black-and-white Friesian cows—it has the usual vast number of monuments (over 600, if we’re counting), street after street of artisanal shops, and an impressive Jacobean church. Cobbled streets wind between rows of architectural masterpieces in the medieval city center, with only narrow canals to separate them, and historic sailing vessels—former Dutch commercial ships—are a reminder of Leeuwarden’s Golden Age of trade.

But as one of this year’s two European Capitals of Culture, Leeuwarden is shaking off its dusty, traditional image. Up to now, it may only have been known only for those Friesian cows and large cattle market, but the city is flexing its metaphorical muscles, reaching out across its borders, and going for something a little more cutting-edge. In fact, its 16th-century Oldehove—a tower that leans more than Pisa—has become a symbol of the city and its people: Quirky and somewhat unconventional, but definitely upright.