I absolutely love the town I live in. Leiden is a quaint little city, especially its city center. It boasts plenty of cafes and restaurants, museums and the shopping is pretty okay if you know what to look for. Especially once you start walking around the little alleyways there are plenty of gems to be found. I already shared a first edition roughly 6 months ago, and where that focused on bars and cafes, this one will focus on some landmarks that I think you shouldn’t miss if you happen to visit. Time for Leiden Hot Spots #2!
Van der Werf park
One of my favorite places to hand out in summer: Van der Werf park. It features plenty of greenery to shade you from the sun, which is a plus. During spring/ summer, this small park along the canal pretty much serves as my backyard. I like going there for a few hours with a book, some music and a cold drink on a pretty day and just chill.
Galgewater & Molen de Put
One landmark you cannot miss is the windmill along Galgewater. This canal is named after the gallows that used to be just outside the city wall next to this water. That’s pretty much the place where the windmill currently stands. Fun fact, the windmill that stood here in the 17th century belonged to Rembrandt’s father and the family lived in a house just across the water. Along this canal you will also find some of the oldest buildings still standing in Leiden, such as some old warehouses and just off to the right you can see the boasts that make up the historic harbor. I used to cross the little drawbridge you can see here almost every day as I went to class during my Master’s. It’s one of the nicest parts of Leiden to walk around.
Smack in the middle of things you will find De Burcht, this fortress on top of a hill served as an outlook post for centuries. It faces a fork in a river and the two waterways still curve around it. It serves as a great outlook post and will give you some of the prettiest views of the city. I once was lucky enough to climb up the steps after a snowstorm and took some lovely pictures of the city covered in snow. In summer, you can see some other famous Leiden landmarks such as Hooglandsche Kerk and St. Peter’s Church: two of the tallest buildings in the city center.
Molen de Valk
I cannot do a blog post on Leiden landmarks and not feature the one landmark I pass buy so often that I’d nearly forget it’s there. I pass by Molen de Valk twice a day on my commute to work. Which is why I think it is the single most photographed thing on my Instagram account. I took shots with magnificent sunrises in the background, through hazy fog and frozen solid winter time. This picture is from last October, when the October 3rd celebrations were about to start and the windmill was all decked out for the occasion.
Nieuwe Rijn with City Hall
The tower in the back is City Hall. This 16th century building burnt down to the ground in the 1920s and all that was left was the facade and part of the tower. So that still stands. This is another highly familiar view: I walk this stretch of canal every time I go to the gym or get groceries. Doesn’t mean it isn’t pretty though.
There are of course many other landmarks I didn’t feature here today, but let me know if you’d like to see more of Leiden and I will make sure to feature them in another blog post. For now, I hope you enjoy your Sunday!