Only 15 minutes by train from The Hague, Leiden is an historic town famous for it’s university. I visited on it on a cold and grey day back in October 2009.

I started my visit with a well known Dutch symbol, a windmill. The one preserved as the Museum De Valk was built in 1743, though a mill has been on the site since 1611. It was surprisingly large up close, with seven floors inside it’s 29m height.

The highlight of Leiden for me was the wonderful National Museum of Antiquities, filled with Egyptian, Greek & Roman antiquities. Founded in 1818 it has over 180,000 objects in it’s collection, though as usual only a fraction are on display.

Close to the museum was Hortus Botanicus Leiden, botanical gardens established in 1590, with a clearly more modern tropical glasshouse. Unfortunately either it was closed or the weather put me off at the time.

Pieterskerk is a sizable church dating back to the 15th century. It was deconsecrated in 1971, and is now used for events such as this book fair.

As expected there were canals in Leiden, and attractive brick architecture, plus this unusual modern bridge.

To end with something that dates this visit clearly, a giant classic Nokia phone in a shop window.

Author: jontycrane

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