A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Ignoring the false starts, it’s now officially Spring and that means it’s time to enjoy the green sights of Leiden and The Hague. Coinciding neatly with essay and exam season, a bit of outdoor time can help to clear your mind, as well as helping you sleep better and get a bit of fresh air and exercise.
The Netherlands are of course famous for their flowers, and spring time is the perfect time to go exploring, clear your mind (and get good Instagram stock). Enjoy the spring sun, the tiny greenshoots that are growing, and get to know the green side of Leiden and The Hague!
Hortus Botanicus Leiden
Hortus is located between KOG and Lipsius and is free entrance for Leiden university students. It hosts a beautiful selection of greenhouses and flower beds, making it perfect for spring showers or sunshine. Taking a book with you is a particularly excellent way to spend an afternoon, either sat in the top greenhouse (with giant lilypads and a pond) or on a bench looking over the Singel.
The Singel is the defensive canal surrounding the historic centre of Leiden, and a large portion of it is surrounded by green space and city parks. These make for a lovely walk between lectures or as a study break with a coffee. The Plantsoen (near Hoogvliet) also hosts a lovely aviary of birds, as well as a lot of very friendly cats. No matter where you are around the city, there’s probably part of the Singel Park nearby! They also have tarmacked paths, making them wheelchair accessible and good for those with mobility issues.
The Hofjes are Leiden’s secret treasure, translating best as almshouses- these are little historic house squares around a small patch of greenery. Many have a silence policy, making them a wonderful respite from the busy nature of the city centre, and an excellent way to clear your mind from stress. There’s a small guidebook you can purchase from the Tourist information that details the location and history of all the public ones- I highly recommend getting it.
Not quite green space, more yellow and blue, but a visit to the beach is definitely an excellent way to get some fresh air and enjoy the early spring sunshine. It’s easy to reach from Den Haag HS or LAAN by bus, or it’s a short cycle from the city centre. Whilst the water might be a little too chilly still for a swim, it still makes a lovely walk.
Also getting an honourable mention are the city farm parks around Leiden, such as Kweeklust, which is filled with sheep, goats and cute donkeys! There’s just something wonderful about finding a little oasis of quiet and green in a city, especially if it’s populated by cute fluffy farm animals, that always makes me feel less stressed during essays. Where’s your favourite outdoor space?
Also, for bonus spring points and a tip for the spring room contest- visit the market on Saturdays to pick up some cute dutch tulips or daffodils to brighten up your room and bring spring inside- a cleaned out jam jar makes a cute vase!