According to beautyphoon, Leiden is a large city in the western part of South Holland. The city has a long rich history and its prosperity is partly due to the university of the city. This university was donated to the city by William of Orange after Leiden had withstood a heavy siege from the Spaniards. Partly because of this, Leiden is now a vibrant student city. Leadis known as a knowledge city with several museums such as the National Museum of Antiquities, Museum Volkenkunde, Naturalis and the Boerhaave Museum. Many of these museums are directly linked to the university. Just like the Leiden Observatory and the Hortus botanicus. The liberation of the city is still celebrated here every year on October 3rd under the name Leidens Ontzet. During this festival, herring and white bread are traditionally distributed.
Top 10 Things to Do in Leiden
#1. National Museum of Antiquities
The National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden has the largest archaeological collection in the Netherlands. It has four main sections, each with their own era, culture and charm. Downstairs you will find the ancient Egyptians with their mysterious mummies and hieroglyphs. There is even a real Egyptian temple in the hall of the museum. The ancient Greeks and Romans can be found on the first and second floors. A large collection of old statues and utensils can be seen here. In addition, a retrospective exhibition of utensils found in the Netherlands has been found at the top. The RMO is not only interesting for adults.
#2. De Waag
The Leidse Waag is a national monument on the Aalmarkt. This beautiful building in Dutch classicist style was built here in the seventeenth century to replace the old wooden weigh house. A weigh house used to be one of the city rights that promoted fair trade in the city. The market merchants and traders were here obliged to weigh their goods. The Leiden weigh house now serves as an annex to the Stadgehoorzaal. Concerts are regularly given here. The agenda for this can be found at the link below.
#3. De Leidse loper
The Leidse loper is a signposted walking route through the historic center of Leiden. This walking route takes you along some of the most beautiful places in Leiden. In total you will pass 24 historic places in Leiden such as the Doelenpoort, Rapenburg, the Waag, the Burcht, the Pieterskerk and the Cloth Hall. Information can be found along the way on the website of the Leidse loper where you will find sound fragments at each historic building. One can also download an App with these sound clips.
#4. Museum of Ethnology
The Museum of Ethnology is a museum that takes you to all corners of the world through a number of rooms. It features a particularly large and old collection. The origin of the collection lies with the Rijks Ethnographical Museum. In total, the collection of the Museum of Ethnology consists of 240,000 objects. About 4,000 of these objects are on display in eight different rooms. There are regular exhibitions on specific topics. Various guided tours and workshops are also given here.
The official name of this is Naturalis Biodiversity Center, but it is popularly referred to as Naturalis. This research institute and natural history museum has more than 37 million objects in its collection. The majority of these are insects and other invertebrates. There are a number of permanent exhibitions here, such as the Oerparade, Earth Life and the Nature Theatre. In addition, there are various changing exhibitions with various themes. Various treasure hunts and workshops are organized in the museum for children. It is also possible to throw a children’s party in the Museum.
#6. Leiden courtyards
In total there are 35 courtyards in Leiden, the first of which was opened in 1467. These courtyards mainly consist of a single or a double row of houses with a communal garden in between with the water pump. These courtyards were built by benefactors as a kind of social housing. In order to be eligible to live in a courtyard one had to meet a number of criteria. One had to be a widow, above a certain age, to adhere to a religion and not to forget the residents had to be poor. Most of these courtyards in Leiden are free to visit, one should keep in mind that most courtyards are inhabited.
#7. De Burcht
De Burcht van Leiden is a ring wall fortress in the center of Leiden on an artificial hill. The first parts of the castle date from the ninth century AD. In the centuries that followed, the castle was expanded, rebuilt, rebuilt and renovated several times. The last renovation took place in 2010. During this renovation, the walls were reinforced and old bad renovations were eliminated. From the castle you have a beautiful view over Leiden. The Burcht can be visited all year round.
#8. The Leiden
Observatory The Observatory is now located in the JH Oortgebouw. The old Observatory of the University of Leiden is located on the grounds of the Hortus botanicus. After several years of restoration, this building has been reopened to the public since 2012. Here you can now find out everything about the universe, but also about the rich history of the Leiden Observatory. Leiden University has had an observatory since 1633. In the early years still on the roof of the university, but later in the Observatory building at the Hortus botanicus. Guided tours are also given here in the evenings
#9. Hortus botanicus Leiden
The Hortus botanicus is the oldest surviving botanical garden in the Netherlands. This garden was laid out only a few years after the opening of Leiden University. In the early years mainly to study medicinal plants. Today, the botanical garden consists of several parts. The Front Garden, the Winter Garden, the Von Siebold Memorial Garden, the Orangery, the System Garden and a tropical greenhouse complex. The tropical greenhouses also include the Victoria greenhouse where the Victoria Amazonica can be admired. This is the largest lily species in the world with large floating leaves that can be up to three meters in diameter.
#10. Shopping in Leiden
There are several pleasant shopping streets in Leiden where both large chain stores and small unique shops can be found. For example, there is the Breestraat shopping area, which runs right through the old center of Leiden. Then there is the Pieterskwartier shopping area with numerous small boutiques in the shadow of St. Peter’s. Then of course there are shopping areas Hartje Stad and Beestenmarkt where many cafes and restaurants are located.