More about Leiden
The city of Leiden is intersected by numerous canals that are lined on each side of their banks by tall Dutch town houses. It is primarily for this reason that Leiden is said to resemble Amsterdam. And there are certainly similarities between Leiden and Amsterdam, because after all they are both Dutch cities. But in general Leiden is a smaller, cleaner, and more laid back urban environment than Amsterdam.
The streetplan of Leiden has hardly changed since the 17th century, and the centre of the city is a riddle of tight passageways lined with shops, cafes, and coffeeshops. The best way for first time visitors to get their bearings in amongst the maze of streets is to find the ‘Leiden Loop’. The ‘Leiden Loop’ is a pedestrian tourist walk that windes aound the narrow cobblestoned streets of the city, and passes all the most important historical landmarks. The route is marked by poles that have been set into the pavement all over the city. Along the route you will stumble upon local art traders, gift shops and many appatising restaurants. If you fancy eating like a Dutchman then drop into Oudt Leyden for a pancake. You can choose from a variety of sweet and savory fillings which will be served on the huge traditional Delft plate. The ‘Leiden Loop’ also passes The Burcht, abrick ringwall that sits on top of a man-made mound, created between 800 and 1150AD – which is the unofficial landmark of the city. If you fancy taking a look around Leiden but don’t care for the walking, then why not make use of the boat tours that enable you to see the city from the water.
Leiden is famous around the world as the birthplace of the famous artist Rembrant, commonly regarded as one of the greatest painters to have been born in Europe, and the most significant in Dutch history. As a boy he was a student at Leiden University, which is still open today, and attracts students from all over Europe who help to keep the vibe of the city balanced somewhere between youthful and historical. To cater for the students the city has a good selection of bars and nightclubs, so whatever your musical taste you should be able find a place to jump around and shake your hips.
By far the most impressive attraction in Leiden is the Natural History museum. The building was opened in April 1998 and houses 13 million zoological and geological specimens inside a 62 meter high tower that dominates the Leiden skyline.
Leiden is also home to Hortus botanicus, the botanical gardens, which are open all year round. The gardens are situated on the outskirts of Leiden and well worth a visit - if only to take a look at the flesh-eating plants on show!
Leiden is famed for its many windmills. The De Valk windmill dates back to 1743 and is the most impressive mill in the city. It has seven floors, all of which are open to the public, and a good cafe near by where you can get your breath back after climbing all those stairs.
How to get to LeidenThe best way to get to grips with Leiden is to simply jump on a bus from The Beach Hostel Noordwijk, and investigate the city for yourself. If you require any further information then just ask at the Beach Hostel reception - and don’t forget to grab one of the many discount vouchers that reduce the entrance fee into most of the major attractions in Leiden.
Coffee shops in Leiden