By William Carlos Williams (1883-1965)
Love is like water or the air
it cleanses and dissipates evil gases
it is like poetry, too
and for the same reasons.
Love is so precious
that if I were you I would
have it under lock and key-
like the air or the Atlantic
or like poetry!
Not sure where I found this one. Somewhere between Pieterskerk and Breestraat.
After walking around Leiden a while, you notice poetry on the walls of houses. At first you see one or two, but after that you notice many more!
By Christophle Plantin (1520-1589)
Le Bonheur de ce monde
A Voir une maison commode, propre & belle,
Un jarding rapissé d'efpaliers odorans,
Des fruits, d'excellent vin, peu de train, peu d'enfans,
Posseder seul, sans bruit, une femme fidéle.
N'avoir dettes, amour, ni procés, ni querelle,
Ni de partage à faire avecque ses parens
Se contenter un peu, n'espérer rien des Grands,
Régler tous ses desseins sur un juste modéle.
Vivre avecque franchise & sans ambition,
S'adonner sans scrupule à la dévotion,
Domter ses passions, les rendre obéissantes.
Conserver l'esprit libre, & le jugement fort,
Dire son Chapelet en cultivant ses entes,
C'est attendre chez soi bien doucement la mort.
Well, I can't even copy this one for you. You'll have to click to enlarge and if anyone can translate, I'll be happy to send you the larger image for a better look.
This one found in the passageway from the Nieuwstraat, leading up to the 'Burcht' (Citadel).
Les sanglots longs
Blessent mon coeur
Et blême, quand
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens
et je pleure;
Et je m'en vais
Au vent mauvais
De ça delà,
Pareil à la
where the strong wind takes him..... that's not on the photo!
Found this one on the square in front of the Pieterskerk (St. Peter's church).
This is the so-called 'peurbakken-tocht', a mid-summer local event in the city of Leiden. People get dressed up, decorate their boat and steer their boats through Leiden's inner city canals. The fraternity level of this event is rather high .... and yes that is a pretty big Glenfidich bottle cover in that boat.
You will enjoy a beautiful view from the topfloor of the department store V&D ( Vroom en Dreesman) in the centre, you will find there a restaurant 'La Place' with fresh food ( friendly priced, self service) and enjoy the beautiful panorama. In summer you can even sit outside!
Enjoy the canals , Koornbrug , historic buildings etc.
Most of you probably know that Rembrandt was born in Leiden. However, did you know that his birth home was knocked down and built over ages ago and that this commemorative plaque isn't even in that location?
Hij maakte de mens open
Hij maakte de vogel open
Vergeleek en zag dat het niet kon
En toch; tule, riet, papier, taf,
gaas, bombazijn dat door zijn vingers glijdt
zijn vingers die een schaduw
laten vliegen op de muur
Public library that is founded in the 17th century out of a legacy. The interior and the book collection haven't much changed since that time but unfortunately it is not easy to see it. Entrance is only arranged via the university and then even for groups and on appointment only.
And unfortunately standing on your toes and stare through the windows doesn't help much.. yes you can look inside (getting a few strange stares from fellow city-dwellers) but there isn't much to see on the ground floor...
This lovely guy lives in the Pieterskerk in a lovely glass encasement outside the nave. Apparently he's a bit of a mystery as no one knows who he was and he was buried there after they stopped burying dead there. (Insert creepy music here...)
Check out the website link here if you'd like to read a little more about it.
Every city in The Netherlands seems to have a local Weighing House. This is also the case in Leiden. It was built in 1657 by Pieter Post. Behind it is the butter hall.
Nowadays the weighing house is used as an exhibition room for contemporary art.
In many places in Leiden you can see a poem painted on the walls of houses. The one in the picture for instance is painted on a house behind the St Pieters Church. But there are many many more to see.
While the old catholic cemetary next to the Zijlpoort is still in use, the Groenesteeg cemetary is no longer. It is now popular with amateur painters and photographers but is also a lovely quiet place to stroll around. The cemetary dates from 1827 and was in use until 1975. In 1993 the old cemetary was restored to it's present state.
The place is especially pretty in spring when all the flowers are in bloom, but as you can see from the pictures, it's worth a visit any other time of year, too!
Groenesteeg cemetary website (Never mind if you can't read Dutch - just click on the last 4 links to go the the photoalbums!)
Opening hours are 9:00 - 16:00 hrs november-march and 9:00 - 17:00 april-october.
The pretty aula is open every first sunday of the month from april-october from 13:00 - 16:00 hours. There will be someone present who can provide more information about the cemetary and maybe even a guided tour, if you like.
Entrance is free!
How to reach it:
Halfway down the Hooigracht is the Groenesteeg (it's the alley with the restaurant 'De Hooikist' on the corner). Just follow the Groenesteeg right down until the end - keep walking! Through the big iron gates and you're there.
Visit the many Hofjes (courtyards or almshouses) of Leiden. There are over 30 of them. They are beautiful historic places with lots of green. Here you can see a recent 'discovery', the Tevelingshofje.
Located just outside of Leiden, this town also goes way back. I stayed here for several days with family. When the name Leithon was adopted, it actually came from a group of farmsteads which were located where Leiderdorp is now. So this town goes way back. There is not much to do especially with Leiden being so close by but it's still a nice quiet town. I also read in a book that they've found Roman artifacts although when I asked my family, they had never heard about that. I still enjoyed my time there nonetheless.