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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.