Last Thursday evening I was having drinks with my colleagues and I was telling them about the most popular upcoming feast in Leiden: “Leiden ontzet”. Then I started talking a bit about this beautiful city where I’ve lived the past two years, and I realized, once more, how happy I am to live in a city with so much history and idiosyncrasy. In my blog of today I’m going to write about this city full with history and… water.
Leiden is the second city in the Netherlands with more canals, obviously the first one is Amsterdam, but I think it has to do with the size of the cities, in any case, Leiden canals are much cleaner and nicest to navigate. Leiden is home of the oldest university in the Netherland and has the oldest still operating astronomic observatory in the world. Leiden was home of Rembrant, one of the greatest painters in Europe, throughout the classrooms of Leiden University notorious thinkers and Scientifics found a place to develop and teach their knowledge, Einstein was one of them (today one of the most famous bars here is named after him). Is not for nothing that the Royal family study in this University.
It was from Leiden were the pilgrim fathers found refugee from the English persecution before sailing to America, where they will found a city called New Amsterdam, today, New York. In the XVII century was Leiden the bravest city to resist the Spanish siege, it was then when Wiliam van Orange, father of Holland, broke the dykes, letting flood the city and making the Spanish run away. William brought herring (the Dutch most precious typical fish) and white bread. The Spanish left behind some food, and from the leftovers, the hutspot was born. (Smash potatoes, carrots and onion). Nowadays this is a meal given to all dwellers of Leiden, as well to all people born here. It’s an amazing and huge feast of three days, but I’ll write more about it, hopefully, another day.
I’m happy to live in this convenient – located city, only 15 minutes away from the airport and no more than 30 minutes away from any important city in the Randstad, 15 min to the Hague, 15 min. to Harlem, and 30. min. to Amstedam and Utrecht. We have here everything that one can find in Amsterdam, but in a better and relaxing atmosphere.
We moved not too long ago to a new house, in front of a canal our own strawberry, parsley and mint garden. This is Leiden, this is my home-city in the Netherlands!