A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
After what felt like the longest winter of my life, spring has finally arrived in the Netherlands. Spring is the most wonderful time of year in Leiden, give or take the odd random and surprisingly heavy rain/hail shower that you will inevitably have left your umbrella at home for.
Let me paint you a picture of Leiden on an April Saturday: the streets are filled with happy people milling around the busy market in the sunshine as the air wafts with the smell of delicious organic fries. The sun glints off the ripples of the canals and the few white clounds reflected in the dark water scud across the sky. The cafes throng with chatting, laughing people, drinking cappuccinos or a cheeky afternoon bierje. Bikes cycle more slowly as cyclists enjoy the sun on their faces, noting that cold winds no longer freeze their fingers wrapped around the handle bars. Students laze around in the Van de Werf Park, taking a break from academia by basking in the warm sun and stretching out languidly on the grass. Beautiful flowers bloom in parks, fields and by roadsides: crocuses, daffodils, and the real treat, tulips.
Ah the tulips. Soon, if not already, people will be crowding into the Keukenhof gardens near Leiden to view the wonderful flower displays, but in particular the bulb fields, where the tulips blossom right up to the horizon, as far as the eye can see, a cacophony of colour.
All the seasons have their charm in Leiden; the frozen canals of the winter, the atmospheric early evenings of autumn and the (sometimes) sweltering days of summer, but spring really is its most beautiful time of year (when it isn’t raining!).