A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Taking my thesis to coffee: Exploring a new cafe in Leiden

If you’re searching for good coffee, amazing cake, and a peaceful but buzzing atmosphere, there’s one café you have to try! The Old School in Pieterskerkhof is a mix of coffee bar, art gallery and community culture and theatre groups. Leiden and Den Haag both have an amazing selection of cafes (and a very strong coffee culture), and grabbing your laptop or a book and heading out to explore a new one is a great weekend activity. Check out this post for more cafe recommendations!

I headed there on a Sunday morning, after a very busy week and another one ahead of me. I was searching for a quiet, restful atmosphere, with a good hot drink and cake to try and get ahead of the week, and I definitely found it.

To drink, I had a delicious hot chocolate, which was made properly, with fresh chocolate dissolved into hot milk (soy or oat are available too!), while my partner had a very good-looking cappuccino. They don’t do savoury food, but there are delicious looking cakes by the bar. A brownie was well received, and studded with rich and sweet dried fruit (maybe cranberries?) and walnuts, although the star of the show was the carrot cake. An orange-citrus frosting here lifted the flavour, and the texture was perfection. I would say this is the perfect cake for sitting with a cup of tea or coffee and writing an essay.

The café was quiet, with excellent music (a mix of indie, and experimental music, with a lovely balance of vocals and instrumental music – perfect for studying!), however there was still a buzz of activity from the Leiden International Short Film Experience that is hosted in one of the community culture rooms. A trip to the bathroom leads you through an art exhibit, and allows you to explore the architecture of this beautiful building.

For studying I would say this café is perfect, the Wi-Fi is relatively reliable, if a little slow (but the staff are happy to help out), and there are a good number of power outlets located next to the comfy chairs. The large window looking out onto Pieterskerk lets in so much light, and being able to see the large beech trees outside adds a very restful element.

Sadly this doesn’t seem to be the most accessible location, with stairs up to the entrance, and an another flight of stairs up to the bathroom. Do you know a leiden or Den Haag café with better wheelchair access? I will keep searching and try to find somewhere!


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