Leiden is that far from the North sea and it's now surprising that seagulls are in town when the street markets are there. It looks like most birds are older one, just waiting for food spills, but don't be surprised when one of them takes a dive to snatch some fast food.
The Netherlands are a country of cyclists, there are more bicycles then people and it is not uncommon for people to own more that one.
Therefore, cities are organized in such a way that cyclists rule the streets.
This can be a problem for anyone using a different means of transportation.
If you are a driver, you will notice that often there is a dashed line about a meter from the sidewalk , that means that it is a cycling lane and that if there are bikes there, you must wait to pass (unless you have enough space anyway).
Usually, red pavement is for bikes, this is not always the case, but when in doucbt this might be a good indication.
In any case, that does not mean bikes will keep to these lanes, they will go anywhere they like, they will cross the street without looking, often while speaking on the mobile phone/eating/carrying a case or any combination of these.
The problem is that if you are involved in an accident with a biker, you will always be blamed no matter what he/she did.
When walking, there are lanes, often paralell to the sidwalk, usually also red couloured that are for bikers ONLY. If you happpen to walk there, chances are high that you will be run over, get hurt and insulted also. Don't expect the biker to stop to see if you are OK, the best you get is a rude insult (probably in Dutch), so be very careful!
Vandalism is a problem in Leiden, with groups of usually younger men and women walking around (often inebriated or under the influence of other substances) and destroying everything they see. Bikes are usually targeted and often they end up in the canals, or in a shop window.
However, a very specific kind of vandalism that can be a problem for tourists is the one directed at cars with foreign license plates. German and Portuguese/Polish (even the police cannot understand that they are two different countries...) are particulary endangered species. I personally had the car vandalised several times and many of my friends have been through the same. Most of the time it happens that only the foreign car is affected so this confirms that it is trageted vandalism.
It is more of a problem in the evening, during the day the car should be fairly safe.
Not much you can do except avoid parking in the center.
Make sure you park where you are allowed.
If you come to the center of Leiden (or any other Dutch city center for that matter), parking can be an issue.
Make sure you park where you are allowed to. This is quite obvious, but since it can be difficult to know where the allowed spots are, here are some tips:
If there is a blue "P" parking sign and it says "vergunningshouders" under it, that means it is for permit holders ONLY.
Sometimes these reserved spaces are right next to places where you can park, so when in doubt, ask someone.
The allowed areas also have a blue "P" sign and usually there is a symbol of a hand with a coin.
There are some spots with red meters and those are paid 24 hours and can be used for a maximum period of 2 hours..
Police check the meters/cars several times a day, specially 5 minutes before the end of the paid parking period (usually 21.00).
You can also buy a day pass for 7,20 euro (at the ticket machines). This will allow you to park anywhere in Leiden for 24 hours including spaces reserved for permit holders
If you come by car to Leiden and want to spend the day, the best thing to do is leave the car at the parking lot at the Haagweg street right after the railway crossing. For 4 Euros you get a one-day pass and there are free shuttle busses that will take you (and also pick you up) anywhere in the Center.
This is a problem not only in Leiden but the whole of the Netherlands. There are speed traps all over the place, so be careful and respect the speed limit, these traps are usually set to allow only 5-10 km over the limit (sometimes even less).
They can often be easily spotted and sometime there is even a sign that ligths saying "U rijdt te snel", meaning "you are driving too fast".
Obviously, should you get caught and are driving a rental car, the charge will be automatically added to your bill or charged to your credit card if you have already paid for the rental.
the sex museum in amsterdam is more like a giant shock horror expo of the extreme and vulgar over the ages and caters for the seedy side in a in your face warts and all freak show of exibits and printed and video material where almost anything can be viewed at a price.
THIS PLACE IS TOTALLY UNSUITABLE FOR ANYONE WHO MAY SHOCK EASILY.
i recommend you walk by, take a photo and move on.
According to the guide i had bought the route was also idicated by characteristic poles... Yeah right. The only thing i found was the indicator embedded in the street.. But that wasn't always the case either. You migt have better luck but i was glad i had the walking route with a map in my hand ...
Leiden is a student city and that means bikes everywhere and usually of questionably quality.. (and origin). But since so many bikes dissappear no one will use a new and expensive bike to get around. Because te bike on the picture could have been yours....
When you visit the "Hofjes" (inner courts) at Leiden, please respect the privacy of the people that live here.
In the Hooglandse church I found this sign:
'namens de kerkvoogden, TABAKSSPUWEN in de kerk verboden'.
Or: on behalf of the church elders, TOBACCO SPITTING prohibited in church'.
While standing underneath the windmill to get this picture, I kept thinking that part of the blade was about to fall off and strike me....eerie!
IF YOU ARE RIDING A MOTORCYCLE UP ONTO THE FERRY........GO VERY SLOWLY AND BEWARE OF THE SLIPPERY RAMP.
CAN BE OILY FROM THE THE TRUCKS AND CARS...AND IF ITS RAINING IT IS A NIGHTMARE !!!!