A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Weekly shopping has always been one of the crucial issues for most of the university students. It is also an integral part of staying healthy during intense study load of university life. So, finding fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, dairy and bakery products for a week in cheap rate, along with lots of options, is important for you. Here, Leiden has come up with its 900 years old tradition of street market (or you can call the food market).
Yes, I am talking of the Street Market of Leiden which sits alongside the canals of Nieuwe Rijn, Vismarkt and Botermarkt on every Saturday and Wednesday. However, you will get more options and varieties with more shops on Saturday than Wednesday.
What you can find? Almost everything that you need for a week. Ranging from Fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, spices, cheese, dairy products, bakery items to clothing, cosmetics, bicycles accessories, household stuffs etc. that you need to make your student life healthy, happy and cost effective at Leiden. The place is such a cosmopolitan. You will find students from all around the world who are studying at Leiden along with the local Dutch people. And, I am pretty sure that you will find some of your favorite items there that you used to have in your country.
The market is separated into sections. Usually the north side (other side to the town hall) is for flowers, plants and fish. And you will find fabrics, fruits, vegetables, and miscellaneous items on the south side. Although it is a street market, you have to walk through it. So, you need to park your car somewhere nearby which is not always available. But you will find ample bike parking spaces around the streets.
The best time to enter the market is on Saturday at around ten o’ clock. Most of the items (especially the vegetables, fruits, fish and cheese) are half to one-third less than the prices at some daily super stores like Albert Heijn, Aldi, Dirk, Lidl, Jumbo. And, I often buy those 1€ baskets containing vegetables or fruits usually displayed in front of the shops. As the Dutch people pretty much straight to talk, the sellers do not bargain with the price. However, if you go to the afternoon, and if still there are something left, they often sell the perishable items in lesser price than the morning (I know it happens in Haagse Markt in the Hague frequently if you go there at 4 p.m. before it closes at 5 p.m.).
As I said earlier that the market is for necessary weekly food stuffs. However, if you want to have large and fresh ‘Stroopwafel’, ‘Patat Frites’ with curry sauce and onion topping, ‘Herring’ or ‘Kibbeling’, and the famous different types of Dutch cheese, this is the ideal place. So, shop on Saturday, stay healthy and enjoy your student life!