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Archive for the 'Daytrips' Category

Leiden Daytrip

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Leiden_terraces

A post yesterday on the forum made me think about what the other cities around Amsterdam can offer on a daytrip out of the city. And well… there is plenty. After all the Netherlands is such a small country that it takes up no time at all to go places. Let’s start off with Leiden.

Leiden is just like Amsterdam a city of channels but on a smaller scale. It is a very cozy city with lots of historic buildings, picturesque streets, alleys and sights. In the Golden Age, Leiden was the second most important city in the Netherlands with all of its wealth and academic fame. It is still a  student city, so there is lots to do in Leiden. The inner-city is swamped with  bars, coffee shops (yep both sorts), terraces and places to meet. But on the cultural side there is much to do as well.  A must see is the ‘Burcht’  one of the most striking monuments of Leiden.

Leiden_burcht_outside3

The elevation on which this citadel is situated was erected by people around the years 850 – 1150 as a defence against the water of the Rhine. The citadel itself is from around 1150. The city expanded around the fortress. Nowadays it is a city park. The gates are open during daytime and the entrance is free.

Leiden also hosts the best museums around and has regular festivities. I always think of Leiden as a small version of Amsterdam ; it has  the  charm of a city but  the warmth of a small village.

Did you know that lots of famous painters came from here, like Rembrandt van Rijn, fine-painter Gerrit Dou, Jan Steen, Jan van Goyen, Lucas van Leyden, and Theo van Doesburg, who established De Stijl (“the style”) in Leiden.

So what more can I say about Leiden? I guess you have to see it for yourselves.  The only downside I can think of is that Leiden has not much accommodation for the budget traveler. The closest hostel is in a village nearby called Noordwijk aan Zee and is called The Flying Pig Beach Hostel. But it is very easy to get to Leiden by train or by bus.

In a next post I will look into some places, like  museums and food and drink. and will add a map so you can see where everything is.