A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Looking for something a little different to do next Saturday in Leiden? After you’ve been around the market and eaten a stroopwafel or maybe some kibbeling, walk next to the Hooglandsekerk and go into the little Antiques shop on the Niewstraat, just along from the Twee Spieghels.
It is only open on Saturdays, but it is well worth the visit. If you’re into antiques, curiosities, vintage, bric-a-brac or second-hand memorabilia, then this will be heaven for you. You walk through room after room stuffed with the weirdest and most interesting collection of treasure/junk, ranging from medieval religious objects to 1930s colonial maps of Asia. And for the architecture lovers out there, this is a must-visit place in Leiden. From the front, the building looks fairly normal, but looks are deceiving, and this shop is a veritable tardis. Once through the entrance room, go through the corridor to the left and you enter a small, dimly lit room, leading out into what looks like an old barn. Bare brick walls and creaky, uneven floorboards. Pottery stacked above your head on perilously balanced shelves. Boxes and boxes of maps and drawings.
But wait, there’s more! To the right is a door to a small outside courtyard. Overgrown, and with a old well, it houses even more bits and pieces like old cart wheels and gargoyles. Go through the courtyard and you come to the next part of the shop.
In here I think it gets a bit creepier. Far away from the bustle of the front of the shop, the rooms in this part are eerily silent, and very dark. Plants and old velvet curtains cast strange shadows, and a chess set and piano seem to be waiting for someone who was just playing them. In the room right at the back, old and battered arm chairs sag with the memory of their long deceased owners.
And what is this?!
I discovered this thing a couple of years back, and I would frequently take friends to go see it, because, you know, it’s weird and stuff. Weekend after weekend it lay there in the cabinet, until one weekend, it had gone! Sold? Perhaps. It was gone for a while. But then one time when I was visiting again…it was back! Those large staring eyes and creepy claws pointed right at me! Eek!