The Leidener

A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

From a lecture room in Leiden to the avenues of Accra: what has and hasn’t been useful?

Guest Blogger Eline Sleurink, MA African Studies What am I doing in Accra? For the past 3 months I have been based at Impact Hub Accra, Ghana, as part of … Continue reading

March 31, 2017 · Leave a comment

Metropolitan Impression

When I introduce myself to other people that I come from China, they always ask me, “Which city are you from then? Beijing? Shanghai?” That sounds very interesting as if Beijing and Shanghai are the only metropolitans in China. Lol just kidding! Beijing and Shanghai are, however, my two favorite Chinese metropolitans that I got to visit recently. They are obviously very different from Dutch cities in many aspects. In this blog post you’ll see a bit of what kind of impressions Beijing and Shanghai gave me, and what are the differences I observed during my little trips. 1.Beijing being non-political Hang on. Are you too tired from all the traveling and transportation that messed up the thoughts in your brain?” Haha, thanks for your concern my readers, I am pretty okay and I do feel that Beijing is a very traditional and artistic city. The Tiananmen Square might be too frequently referred to as a political symbol of Beijing, but I don’t think it is necessarily what I’ll agree on. If you take a look further beyond Tiananmen, the Forbidden City is right behind it, and there is a whole Chinese palace to amaze you. Let’s put aside political struggles and alternations of dynasties, and look into the beauty of Chinese traditional architecture. Amazing, isn’t it? Well, there is also modern art in Beijing. 798 Art Zone has been increasingly popular among Chinese young hipsters. Postmodernism is spread in this former Soviet Communist-style industrial factory that was constructed in the middle of the twentieth century. Modern designs make strong contradictions with the old, gray, and torn-out industrial area. I sense no politics in these places, but a rather artistic atmosphere. 2.Shanghai being political You must see the prosperity of Shanghai in these pictures. But wait, I feel as if Shanghai is more political than Beijing. I live near the Bund (外滩), a.k.a the most famous sight of Shanghai for more than a century (How near? I only need to walk for 15 minutes to get there and enjoy the evening view of the romantic Shanghai). Every hour I hear a ‘red song’ (Communist-themed music), which is used on a clock tower; I see Communist mottos very frequently on the streets; there are many Communist sights in Shanghai, including the memorial site of the First Conference of the Chinese Communist Party. I felt that the political atmosphere in Shanghai is stronger. 3.Beijing and Shanghai are too huge compared to Dutch cities You only need 50 minutes by train from The Hague to Amsterdam, even faster if you start from Leiden. Do you know how long it takes to go from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport to Pudong International Airport by underground? 90 minutes! 90 minutes past and you are still in the same city. These metropolitans are indeed too huge. And, look at the crowd… One good thing in China is that you can generally get back to where you were if you turn right, turn right, and turn right again. In Dutch cities, oh my friend, please don’t. In a nutshell, I love cities in both countries. Chinese cities are large and modern; Dutch cities are delicate and adorable. There are certainly a lot more cities for me to visit, and I’ll keep you updated.   – by Xueyan Xing (coming all the way from China; studying at Leiden University College The Hague)

August 27, 2014 · Leave a comment

My Incurable Pen-mania: Every Pen Has A Story

In the last winter break, I could not help but went stationery shopping again. I bought five ball pens in a small stationery store back home, and they only cost … Continue reading

February 4, 2014 · 1 Comment

The Boekenzolder

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” Groucho Marx   For its small size, Leiden never ceases to … Continue reading

January 10, 2014 · 3 Comments

TED-spiration: a day in the life of a Leiden caveman

It’s now nearly a month since Leiden’s very own TEDx conference where speakers from all over the Netherlands and Europe gathered in the Meelfabriek to inspire we Leideners (and token … Continue reading

December 24, 2013 · Leave a comment

What’s it like to be home?

OK OK, those of you who unwittingly were lead to believing that the last post I posted on The Leidener was my last, will have to think again. I’m sorry … Continue reading

August 3, 2013 · 2 Comments

A windmill revolution

Leideners, like many citizens of the world today, will no doubt be suffering from a collective food coma of epic proportions. If I’m anywhere near the mark, having been filled … Continue reading

April 1, 2013 · Leave a comment

Who is Zwarte Piet?

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, men, women and anything in between on the jury, it is my very warm pleasure to be writing here today on a subject that is … Continue reading

November 25, 2012 · 5 Comments