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When In … Leiden, Netherlands

Welcome to Leiden, Netherlands! My name is Katie Sweeney, and I graduated from Clemson in 2000 with a marketing degree. Now, I’m a freelance advertising copywriter living in Leiden. A university town and the birthplace of Rembrandt, Leiden is located near the coast between Amsterdam and The Hague. Let me show you around:

 

1 | Pieterskerk
President George H.W. Bush visited Leiden in 1989 and gave a speech at the Pieterskerk, a stunning church that served as the Pilgrims’ original house of worship. Visit Leiden’s quaint and quirky Leiden American Pilgrim Museum (pictured) to learn more about the Dutch connection to the Pilgrims who arrived in America on the Mayflower.

 

2 | The Burcht
Just around the corner from the Pilgrim museum is another important remnant of Leiden history. Look for the iron gates with Leiden’s lion and keys symbol. Straight ahead and up the stairs, you’ll discover the remains of an 11th-century castle.

 

3 | Naturalis Biodiversity Center
This stunning natural history museum reopened in 2019 and is a short walk from the train station. Its nine floors are divided into different themes, covering the varied eras and stages of life on Earth. The dinosaur exhibit never gets old, and my daughter loves the activity rooms, where she can look through microscopes and identify bones.

 

4 | Outdoor Market
Wednesday and Saturday are outdoor market days in Leiden. Walk along De Rijn canal and pick out fresh meats, cheeses, fish, fruits, veggies and souvenirs from the vendors. During tulip season, I can grab two bunches (10 purple, 10 orange) for 5€.

 

5 | Canal Tour
If it’s sunny, the Dutch will be outdoors soaking up vitamin D. Whether you rent a boat on your own or take a guided tour, seeing Leiden from the water is a great experience.

 

Interested in sharing the best eats and secret spots of your own city with fellow Tigers? Email shutto@clemson.edu for more information.

When in Tokyo

Justin Prescott '09

Welcome to Tokyo! I’m Justin Prescott, class of 2009. I majored in economics and minored in Japanese at Clemson. I work at EY Japan in strategy consulting and lead Clemson’s (still unofficial) alumni group in Japan. I’ve spent my professional career in Japan, Indonesia and Singapore, but I’ve spent the most time in Tokyo, so let me show you around.

1| Tokyo Station

Tokyo Station

Located on the eastern side of the city, Tokyo Station is a popular attraction as it was recently renovated with its iconic brick façade preserved. The surrounding area has a number of buildings famous for their mixture of new and old architecture, like the Kitte building. For food and drink, I recommend the ninth floor of the Shin-Maru building, which has a terrace overlooking Tokyo Station.

PRO TIP: Compared to Shibuya and west Tokyo, the crowd around here is more mature, making this area great for date night.

2| The Imperial Palace

Just a short walk away from Tokyo Station, the Imperial Palace grounds are beautiful — perfect for a jog to cure your jet lag. Although the central area of the palace is only accessible on rare occasions, there is still plenty to see, especially if you’re able to visit when the cherry trees are in bloom.

3| Kichijoji/Inokashira Park

Kichijoji_Credit Alex Queen

Photo by Alex Queen

Located a bit outside of the city, Kichijoji is a neighborhood escape from the busy central Tokyo atmosphere. Inokashira Park is home to the Ghibli Museum, a must for Studio Ghibli fans, and Kichijoji has good shopping options with both high brands and quirky secondhand clothiers.

4| Shibuya

One of Tokyo’s most famous areas and the site of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersection (the Shibuya Scramble), Shibuya is a great place to visit, especially for the younger crowd looking for solid night life, food that you probably should only eat while you’re still young and all-night karaoke.

PRO TIP: Check out Dogenzaka for a picture with the iconic Hachiko statue.

5| Ebisu

Ebisu

Although Ebisu is just one stop from Shibuya by train, the vibe is totally different. Home to the headquarters of Sapporo and Ebisu beer, Ebisu claims some great upscale restaurants, including M House for western-style brunch, Day & Night Café — one of the only places in Tokyo to get a real pulled pork barbecue sandwich, y’all — and the famous Afuri Ramen shop.

PRO TIP: For a more daring culinary experience, go to Niku-Zushi, which serves sushi using nearly raw beef.

Travelers Summer 2019

Phil ’83, Ann ’87, Gracie ’19 and Wilson ’13 Scott found a Clemson-colored beach hut among many others on Brighton Beach in Melbourne. “I had a presentation I was giving in Melbourne, Australia, at the Sigma Theta Tau International Research Congress (Nursing Honor Society),” Ann says. “We turned it into a family vacation.”