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Photo tour of Leiden

Posted on Thursday, September 11th, 2008 at 11:50 pm CET

Next week we’ll be moving from Leiden in the Netherlands to the USA. We’ve lived here in Leiden for the last 6 years and really enjoyed this old charming town. Here are some of our pictures of Leiden.

This is Oude Vest looking at the harbour, about 5 minutes walking from our house. We pass this every time we walk to the center of town. There are a lot of canals like this in Leiden, lined with boats.

This is Haarlemmerstraat, the main shopping street of Leiden. All shops are open Monday to Saturday and Thursday evenings. Some of the big shops are also open on Sunday.

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This is Rembrandt Brug, named after the famous painter that was born right around the corner of this bridge. 2006 was Rembrandt’s 400th anniversary and there were a lot of fun activities in town.

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This nice little windmill is a replica of the one where Rembrandt’s dad used to work. It’s right next to the bridge from the last photo.

In the summer the cafes and restaurants expand their terraces onto flat barges in the water, which are great to have a drink or eat while watching the boats go by.

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Here is another popular terrace in the water from a cafe called Annie’s Verjaardag (‘Annie’s Birthday’), a nice place to have a drink or lunch. The photo is taken from the top of the V&D department store, which has a restaurant on top with an outside place to sit.

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This picture is taken from the top of the old Meelfabriek (‘Flour Factory’), which is abandoned and normally closed. We had a tour of the place on last year’s national Open Monument Day (8 September 2007). Our house is just to the right of that large church.

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3 October is an annual holiday in the city of Leiden to commemorate the liberation of the city from the Spanish occupation in 1574. Every year there is a large funfair on this day with life music and traditional free herring and white bread for the citizens.

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This is the front of Leiden’s main train station. We have a great train connection to the rest of Holland. It’s just 12 minutes to The Hague and 33 minutes to Amsterdam from here.

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This is the back of the train station. This photo was just taken in April 2007 but today all this looks different as there is a huge construction pit where those cars are. They’re building a huge underground bike parking place, which is highly needed.

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There are bikes ALL around the station in places where they are officially not allowed to be, but what else can people do if all places are full? Yesterday we looked around for 10 minutes to find a place and almost missed our train.

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This is the current bike parking in front of the station. It opened in November 2002 with 2050 ‘legal’ spaces, and it’s been in constant overuse since then. Misparked bikes continue to clutter the place. This photo was taken on a Saturday, but on a weekday you can hardly walk through anymore from the bikes laying everywhere. Amy wrote about this a few years ago.

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I’ll end with this funny sign in someone’s window that we saw last year. It translates as: “WARNING!! Loose-flying pigeons. When they come: lay flat on the ground and wait for help. If no help arrives: good luck”. πŸ˜‰


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