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Until the end of 1996, the province bore Friesland as its official name. In 1997 this Dutch name lost its official status to the Frisian Fryslân. Nevertheless, Friesland remains in common usage, being the Dutch (and English) name for the province.
Friesland has 646,000 inhabitants (2010) and its capital is Leeuwarden (W.Frisian: Ljouwert), with 91,817 inhabitants, in the center of the province.
Fryslân distinguishes itself from the other eleven provinces by having its own language, West Frisian, which is also spoken in a small adjacent part of the province of Groningen, to the east. Closely related languages, East Frisian ("Seeltersk", which is different from "East Frisian (Ostfriesisch)", a collection of Low German dialects of East Frisia) and North Frisian, are spoken in the Saterland and in North Friesland areas in Germany, respectively.
Friesland is mainly an agricultural province. The famous black and white Frisian cattle and the well known black Frisian horse originated here. Tourism is another important source of income, principal greatest tourist destinations including the lakes in the south west of the province, and the islands in the Wadden Sea in the north.
Another interesting feature is the presence of many windmills. There are 195 windmills in the province of Friesland, from a total of about 1200 in the entire country.