These are no simple walls

Hello there! How is your Dutch coming along? Have you learnt some of the basics already, such as: “hoe gaat het?” (how are you), “dankjewel” (thank you), “wat is jouw lievelingskleur” (what’s your favorite color)? It can be helpful to know some of these and if you are interested in learning more, this website might be of some inspiration (FUN GAMES!): http://www.digitaldialects.com/Dutch.htm

Whether you have a flair for languages or not, you might have noticed the poems on the walls of several buildings as you bike around the city. Some of the poems are in Russian, some are in Italian, Native American, in bird speech “Tjielp tjielp…” or French like the one in the picture at location: Pieterskerkhof 4, Leiden.

These poems are all a part of the “Gedichten op Muren” project (translate: Poems on Walls), which was started in 1992 and completed in 2005. They are poems meant for everyone to read. A translation in Dutch and in English can be found at the bottom. The next time you bike past one, you could maybe take a closer look. You could also take a guided walk with these directions: http://www.muurgedichten.nl/wandeling.pdf (you might have to find a Dutch friend to read the directions, but hey, it could be really fun!). Finally, you could have a look here and see the overview from your desk at home: http://www.muurgedichten.nl/indexopontstaan.html

We hope you enjoy these discoveries in Leiden and wish you a happy Fall week. Although the weather’s been nice lately, the French poem mentioned earlier is one to appreciate on a stormier day (see English translation as well):

Chanson d’automne

Les sanglots longs

Des violons

De l’automne

Blessent mon coeur

D’une langueur

Monotone.

 

Tout suffocant

Et blême, quand

Sonne l’heure,

Je me souviens

Des jours anciens

Et je pleure;

 

Et je m’en vais

Au vent mauvais

Qui m’emporte

Deçà, delà

Pareil à la

Feuille morte.

 

Autumn song

The sobbing tones

of the violins

that autumn plays

wound my heart

with a languor that

lingers always.

 

Stifled and wan

the moment when

the tocsins toll,

I recall the ways

of the dear, dead days

and tears fall;

 

And I must go

where ill winds blow

without relief,

blown here, blown there

as though I were

an autumn leaf.

 

 

 

Looking for green?

Or maybe, rather say, “looking for orange, brown, or yellow?”. Fall has come and is showing its flying colors all around. The leaves on the trees are changing color and slowly letting go of their branches as the wind blows wherever he wants to. But where to enjoy this beautiful scenery the most in the city of Leiden? Here are some options to consider in and around Leiden for your weekly nature walk:

 

The Hortus Botanicus

Address: Rapenburg 73

Near the Leiden University Library, this garden is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. It showcases not only typical Dutch flora, but one can also find tropical plants and flowers there. It is calm and beautiful, plus you can enjoy a coffee at their café as well. Did you know you can enter the garden for free with your student card?

 

van der Werfpark

Address: Kruitschip, opposite the Kamerlingh Onnes Building (KOG)

With a statue of van der Werff in the middle, this park is a part of the history of Leiden. Here you can relax on a bench after a busy day or enjoy a coffee at their café. Maybe you can get your weekly work-out there as well, joining one of the bootcamp classes they offer outside.

 

Het Plantsoen

Address: by the Zoeterwoude Singel

This park is known for their aviary and the impressive mansions at the side of the park. On the grass, you can lay down and watch the boats pass by. Call up some friends and enjoy a picnic.

 

Cronesteyn

Address: Polderpad

This park, just outside of Leiden, is a perfect spot to come to and watch the night sky. During the day, you can easily walk up to two hours while enjoying the polder view, forest and vegetable gardens. At the end of your stroll, you can relax at the “Tuin van de Smid”. Here you can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea amongst the little farm animals.

 

Leidse Hout

Address: Houtlaan

At its center is a café beside a pond and a field with some deer and geese. If you are lucky, you might spot the stork. During fall, this park is especially gorgeous with all the colors of the acorn trees. To relive your child hood, make sure to jump on one of the swings along the way.

 

Hope you enjoy your walks and remember: “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”. So put on those boots and your raincoat, and go out to enjoy this beautiful fall!

 

 

 

Welcome to Leiden

Welcome to Leiden.

We hope you are slowely settling in and enjoying Leiden during your introduction week.

Stay tuned, as new posts will soon be published.

Hope to see you at our first event netxt Friday! https://www.facebook.com/pg/ContrastLeiden/events/

 

Life in Leiden: King’s Day 2017

As you may know, we celebrate the birthday of our King Willem Alexander on Thursday, April 27th! It’s a national holiday, which means that schools and offices are closed. This is the day that Dutchies go all out and everything and everyone is dressed in orange! Many people from all over the world come to the Netherlands just to celebrate King’s Day. Don’t miss it! more “Life in Leiden: King’s Day 2017”

Life in Leiden: Cheap Eats

So, what do you do when your parents are coming over and you still can’t cook? Or if you want to take someone special out to dinner? Or if you just feel like dining out? Here are some recommendations for cheap but good restaurants around Leiden. Don’t expect anything too fancy; we’ve selected reasonably priced restaurants with good grub (in no particular order). Here we go…
more “Life in Leiden: Cheap Eats”