A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
There are many adjectives one could use to describe Leiden: welcoming, charming, warm, artistic, vintage. The latter two unveil one of the reasons I love this city: whereas Amsterdam offers a huge variety of vintage clothing shops and lovely second-hand markets, Leiden surprises me every time for some of its streets and shops, with offer a mixture of tradition and extravagance. Even more, Leiden is a city you want to take a walk in and lose yourself in every single, small detail.
In this article, I will focus on a type of activity which is really important to me: record hunting.
Nowadays we are all used to listen to music with apps: Spotify, Apple Music, whichever you prefer. Are you a nostalgic, or, so to say, do you enjoy sitting down, taking your time to explore music you never heard of? Or maybe do you enjoy listening to the best quality one of your favorite songs? Well, this is my suggestion: buy a record player with some friends, and go record hunting!
The Netherlands is full of record shops, Leiden (together with Delft) offers, in my opinion, some of the best! I am going to give you a top 3 of my favorite record shops and the reasons why you should go to one or the other.
– drum rolls –
3rd Place – ‘The heart is a lonely hunter’. These words mark the entrance to a record shop to which I am very affectionate: indeed, ‘The lonely hunter’. This shop, located in Burgsteeg, always fascinated me. Its collection is huge, and most of the vinyl you will find in there you will not probably find elsewhere. Classical, Jazz, 50s and 60s Rock ‘n’ Roll music are the main genres you will see here. Tip: unlike other record shops, you might find in here some famous records in perfect condition, not at full price. However, and this was when I found out very sad news, on the internet circulated the rumor that the shop will close around half of this year. I do not know if this is certain, but I invite all of you readers until you can, to check this incredible corner of music!
2nd Place – Even if I am not a fan of chain stores, the silver medal goes to Velvet. Located on Nieuwe Rijn, this represents the best resource if you aim to find a specific record.
The shop already has one of the largest, richest collection, but, guaranteed, the shop assistants will help you find what you are looking for and you will get what you want, if not in the immediate by online order. This shop is extremely careful about the condition of returned records, and they sell mostly new ones. Prices might not be the lowest around but be ready to be amazed by the variety of genres and by the gorgeous look and elegant atmosphere this shop has to offer! Seriously, gorgeous and elegant.
1st Place – In Vrouwensteeg, a crossroad of Harlemstraat, you will find an old-fashioned record shop, the best option for record-hunting! It’s my favorite, and the most ‘student-friendly’ record shop around in Leiden: Plato.
Are you searching for old artists and musicians who you never heard before? You like Jazz and Soul and you cannot find much around? This is the place for you! Besides a good collection of new records, Plato focuses on reselling 2nd hand ones, some of them at ridiculously cheap prices (I am talking 25 records for 20€!!!). You might want to check them before on the shop turntables, but as a frequent customer (almost once a week!) I rarely bought an overly damaged record or broken! I love to spend some time there, after a lecture or a meeting, and just sit down and seek for new music together with a friend! The personnel at Plato is friendly and passionate about music. Sometimes I entertain myself talking with the shop-assistant (one of them looks like Jack Nicholson, Dutch edit.) as they really care about the customers and I can always ask them for advice or for any kind of assistance! People, I love Plato!
This was a personal top 3 of Record Shops in Leiden. Do not forget to check out every record store in Leiden though! I hope this was informative to you and that you will enjoy record-hunting!