Leiden: A Quintessential Dutch Town

Visiting Leiden was the perfect antidote after celebrating King’s Day in Amsterdam. My girls and I made our way to the city, arriving after a short, 45-minute train ride, and found ourselves at the heart of old Leiden.IMG_0656


My daughter Natasha is studying on a student exchange at Leiden University, the oldest in the Netherlands, established in 1575. The city’s large student population gives the area a vibrant energy.

A full day of lectures kept Natasha from joining us, so we explored the city without her as our guide. She did suggest we seek out the V&D department store for a great snapshot of the city from above. The top floor has a market-style restaurant with an outdoor terrace offering a wonderful view of Leiden in all directions.

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With only one day in Leiden, we elected for a slow travel day. We wandered the historical centre taking in the 16th and 17th- century architecture and canals and occasionally ventured in the one-of-a-kind boutiques, interior design shops and unique second-hand stores.

Leiden town hall

Leiden’s Renaissance town hall dates back to the 1600’s

An orphanage dating back to 1583.

The Heilige Geest-of Armen-Wees-en Kinderhuis (The Holy Ghost or Orphanage and Poor Children home) –The orphanage dates back to 1583 and was in service until 1961. Notice the boy and girl on the upper ledge.


An elaborate gable.


Her school day done, in Dutch style and looking fashionable, Natasha cycled to meet up with us… as we relaxed in the sun at an outdoor cafe.


Here, she is about to park her bike at Leiden Centraal station before taking us to visit her flat and neighbourhood, only a 10-minute commute on her bike.

DSC_0579 Yikes, I hope she finds it again.


Ginette and the girls

7 thoughts on “Leiden: A Quintessential Dutch Town

  1. Pingback: Spring Has Sprung at the Keukenhof | White Postcards

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