Leiden is a great city just to...
Leiden is a great city just to walk around in and look at everything. Walk by the canals or sit down at a cafe and have a drink and enjoy yourself. My fondest memory of Leiden is definitely the opportunity to get to know my uncle. I left Holland at the age of 8 and I didn't see this uncle until 12 years later at a family reunion and over there we didn't get the chance to talk. But this was an opportunity for me to spend some time with him and I found out that he was really great and I'm so glad that I had this chance.
When steering through the tight canals and low bridges of Leiden, safety should always come first, and our wine sampling tour was no exception. Note that no safety stone was left unturned: (1) Get the Captain drunk, (2) Wait till its almost dark outside, (3) Secure the last bottle of wine with the Safety Preserver, and finally (4) Give the steering wheel to the seven year old..... (well she was the only sober one aboard....)
Happy Boating.... and stay safe out there....
The information office sells a far few walks. Some specialised like the one on Rembrandt or the walking tour along Leiden's almhouses (price 2 or 2,5 euro). A more generic walk is the Leiden Loop. It'll take you along the main highlights and gives you a good impression of Leiden.
I have no idea how long the walk is. I did walk it but got distracted several times so in the end it took me almost all day.
The description of the walk you can buy at the Tourist information office which is located just outside the trainstation in the direction of the centre. It costs 4.95 euro (2004 prices).
Below this you can find the...
Below this you can find the most important information about the Rotterdam Mainport. The info is taken from the offical site www.portofrotterdam.com
Rotterdam is one of the world's most important junctions when it comes to cargo traffic. Every year, over 300 million tonnes of goods are handled here. Located on the North Sea - the busiest sea route in the world - this Dutch port serves a European hinterland of about 380 million consumers. The huge cargo flows result in advantages of scale for both carriers and shippers.
The port of Rotterdam covers an area of 40 kilometers, from the center of the city to the North Sea. The port and industrial area covers 10,500 hectares (26.000 acres). Around 30,000 sea-going vessels and 130,000 inland vessels arrive in the port every year. Rotterdam is the home port and port of call for around 500 shipping lines, running regular services to 1,000 ports. Rotterdam is Europe's most important port for oil & chemicals, containers, iron ore, coal, food and metals.
Via the Eurogeul (Euro-channel) in the North Sea, ships with a draft of up to 75 foot can enter the port fully loaden. This means that they can carry between 300 and 350 thousand tons of crude oil, iron ore or coal in one go. The largest container ships, of 7,000 TEU or more, can also enter Rotterdam completely unrestricted . Because there are no locks in the port, it only takes ships 1 to 2 hours from the pilot station before the port entrance to their berths along the quay by the terminals in the western port area.
Goods bound for the hinterland can leave the port by river, rail, road, pipeline or sea. For large quantities of bulk goods, transport via the Rhine, which flows into the sea at Rotterdam, is ideal. But inland shipping is also a good alternative for containers. With the use of shuttle trains, rail's modest stake in container transport is growing. Many chemicals are also carried by rail. Bulk chemicals leave Rotterdam by pipeline, as does part of the crude oil traded into the port by sea. Chemical products and semi-manufactured products, containers and food and food-related products, for instance, are transported by road.
Characteristic of a mainport like Rotterdam is that all kinds of different goods flows come together. These various types of goods, such as oil, ores and coal, or fruit and dry bulk, roll-on/roll-off and containers are usually handled by specialized companies. These companies are established in specific parts of the port, so that Rotterdam is characterized by a collection of specialized ports.
Crude oil, oil products and liquid chemicals account for almost half of the total throughput in Rotterdam. Important receivers and consignors of this liquid bulk are the five refineries and the chemical industry in the port area.
The relatively cheap supply of crude oil in VLCCs (very large crude carriers) forms the basis of Rotterdam's petrochemical industry. Most crude oil is discharged on the Maasvlakte (at the MOT) and is then transported onwards via pipeline, sometimes following storage.
Over 20 multinationals have branches in the industrial area. Most chemical semi-manufactured products find their way to the hinterland by pipeline. A total of one-third of all liquid bulk leaves the port by pipeline.
For the handling of crude oil, oil products and chemicals, Rotterdam has a number of specialized tank terminals; not only can ships and lorries load and discharge there, but stocks of chemicals are also stored for the owner and supplied on demand. They have a joint capacity in excess of more than 30 million m3.
The German steel industry transports almost all of its iron ore via Rotterdam. This is relatively cheap due to the large-scale trade into the port by means of huge bulk ships and the large-scale trade out over the Rhine via six-strong tug-pushed lighters. The German steel companies have their own EECV terminal in Rotterdam Europoort, where the majority of the ore arriving in Rotterdam is transshipped. The rest goes through the EMO terminal on the Maasvlakte.
Coal is only shipped in via the EMO terminal, from where ± 50% is distributed to Dutch power; the other half is mainly destined for England and Germany. In addition to ores and coal, Rotterdam also handles considerable amounts of agribulk: grain and crude animal feed but also other dry bulk such as phosphates for the fertilizer industry. These are the specialities of European Bulk Services, with terminals in the Botlek area and in Europoort.
In Rotterdam, some 30 million tons of food are transshipped, 60% of which is destined for consumption in the European hinterland. In addition to agricultural raw materials, beverages, meat, fish, preserves, grain products, fruit, vegetables and fruit juices are also handled in Rotterdam. Handling of the last three products is concentrated in Rotterdam Fruitport in the Vierhavens-/Merwehaven area on the north bank.
Rotterdam is the largest container port in Europe. An increasing proportion of container throughput takes place on the Maasvlakte, where stevedoring company ECT operates three terminals. ECT is shareholder in a fourth terminal. These are part of several 'dedicated' terminals, in which ECT, the municipality and the government are investing a total in advance of 2 billion guilders.
Its situation close to the sea and its accessibility for very large container ships makes the Maasvlakte an ideal location for the sea-sea distribution of containers and the establishment of centers for large-scale distribution. Many container services therefore include Rotterdam as one of the few European ports of call and serve the others with feeder ships.
Apart from the Maasvlakte, containers are also transshipped in the Waalhaven/Eemhaven area, where short-sea activities are concentrated.
Center for transport, trade and industry
The intensive concentration of goods flows has given mainport Rotterdam a clear role as a center. All major shipping companies are represented here, either directly or via an agent. The British/Dutch P&O Nedlloyd has its head office in Rotterdam. Other shipping companies, such as, for example, Maersk/Sea-Land, have centers from where they organize all their inland transport to the northwest European hinterland. For this purpose, Rotterdam offers a great concentration of hauliers, inland shipping companies and rail carriers. But European trade has also concentrated itself in Rotterdam; the presence of the only European auction for imported citrus fruits and the numerous 'Trade & Distribution Centers' of Asian countries are good examples.
But the most noticeable concentration of activity in Rotterdam is that of industry, in particular the field of chemicals and petro-chemicals . For these industries, the goods flows to Rotterdam are a must. A number of multinationals, such as Lyondell and 'newcomer' Lyondell have their most important or only European industrial complex here, where products are manufactured for the whole of Europe or even the whole world. Beautiful sceneries at night, when the oilindustries are lighten up.....
Signs are everywhere
The city has a lot of cute details you can discover while wandering along the canals.
Some are tiny others pretty big. Go and explore! Leiden is beautiful in each season, in winter when everybody lights their houses and the city dresses the trees with lights,but best when the canals freeze over!
In spring when the trees get their bright green leaves on the canals, and the people start to come out again, and the honeysuckle and chestnuts bloom.
In summer when it 's warm and people have their dinnder oudside on the sidewalk (b/c lack of a back yard)and when you hear the voices of peopletaling,laughing and drinking wine in the alleys and the roofterraces.
In fall when it's windy and you have to brace yourself when going to the market and you can skulkinside with a warm drink,looking out over the changing trees.