A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Missing Leiden

Having returned to Old Blighty for New Year, I noticed there were certain things I missed about Leiden, and living in Holland. Putting aside mushy stuff such as my boyfriend and my friends (whom I did miss, a lot -bleurgh-), there were some things I didn’t even expect to miss. Perhaps it’s the same for you when you leave Leiden?…


I notice that in Britain I am one of very few who is constantly peering over their shoulder, even when on the pavement, in fear of being run over by a tweewieler. I realise I may have looked a bit furtive and shifty, but when I visited Cambridge this uncontrollable tick came in handy as there were a good deal of bicycles ready to mow you down if you took one hesitant step off the pavement.

Obligatory photo of bikes

Obligatory photo of bikes

Independent bars and coffee shops
Sadly Britain (and I have a strong suspicion America) is overrun with chain shops, restaurants and coffee houses, most noticeably the demon overlord Starbucks. I can’t tell you how much I missed the little coffee houses in Leiden, the sophisticated bars and the intimate little restaurants. Chains have no soul!

Twee Spieghels- Favourite bar

Twee Spieghels- Favourite bar

Having grown used to hearing the ‘melodic’ tones of Dutch, and furthermore, the recent awakening of a vague understanding, hearing English constantly was actually quite jarring. There are many accents in Britain and many of them are not lovely.

Yes, I was able to wear heels, but did I want to anymore? Not really.

Favourite cobbled street

Favourite cobbled street

Excellent Transport

Sometimes I hear Dutch people complaining about the transport and I have to stifle a laugh.

It seems obvious but it won’t even cross your mind until you see a river and think it could try a bit harder.

Obligatory picture of canal

Obligatory picture of canal

What do you miss when you go home?


3 comments on “Missing Leiden

  1. mandala56
    January 16, 2013

    I miss the market. I miss frites. I miss Indonesian food! And I miss all the flowers!

  2. kelly
    February 1, 2013

    I love Leiden for it’s tranquility and it’s feel of familiarity. Growing up in large cities such as The Hague and London, it’s a relief to live in a place where you don’t constantly look over your shoulder to see if someone is following you at 3am 🙂

  3. theleidener
    February 1, 2013

    Kelly you are exactly right, the main thing is that I feel safe and happy 🙂 Am glad you do too

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This entry was posted on January 16, 2013 by in Anna, Living in Holland and tagged .

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