A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
The leaves are starting to turn orange, and Leiden has been transformed into an autumn-lover’s dream. Is there anything more picturesque than the canals lined by golden trees, accompanied by sound of the crunch of crisp leaves under your feet? Now’s the perfect time to explore some of Leiden’s parks (before the weather betrays us again), and there are some hidden gems.
Van der Werf Park
Every aspiring Leidener should have visited this park by now, but it’s at this time of year that itreally shows its colours. By now it might be too frosty to laze about on the grass like in the summer, so find a bench looking over the canal towards the Law Faculty and take in the surroundings.
Another park lining a canal, this one is in the north of inner city Leiden, an area possibly rarely visited by students unless they live there. It lies behind a housing block, entirely hidden unless you know where to enter; however, take a walk or a cycle there and admire this secret open space.
Also in the north end of the city, this picturesque park is actually an island all of its own. Sitting on the bank of the canal and looking over to the Zijlpoort, you wouldn’t be able to tell now that this peaceful spot was once part of Leiden’s metal industry – in the 19th century this park was the site of a metal factory. The park can be reached by two bridges over the Binnenoostsingel, in the east of the city.
The biggest of Leiden’s parks, the Polderpark Cronesteyn can be found on the outskirts of the city, bordering the large A4 motorway. Since this is a little further out, visiting this 90 hectare park is the perfect opportunity to take a Sunday afternoon cycle. There’s also a café in the centre of the park with enough space to park your bike and take a moment to appreciate the peaceful surroundings.
Every Leiden student should have already visited this park, especially seeing as students get free entry. Not only is it filled with enough grassy places to sit and enjoy an autumn day, the enormous greenhouses are also an interesting place to take a wander if it’s getting slightly frosty outside – it’s easy to imagine you’re exploring a South American rainforest, despite being only a 10 minute walk from the library.