Leiden


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Historic Leiden is home to the oldest university in the Netherlands, established in 1575. The university achieved international prominence during the Dutch Golden Age, has produced sixteen Nobel Laureates, attracted lecturers such as Albert Einstein, and currently is ranked in the top 100 universities in the world. The city also has several excellent museums, including a working windmill, scenic cafe-filled canals, striking historic buildings, and the vibrant energy of a university town.

After a short run from Haarlem, we spent an excellent four nights moored in Leiden. While there, we explored the city and its many attractions, and also made a return trip to Amsterdam to tour the incredible new Royal Van Lent shipyard there.

Below are trip highlights from February 21st through 23rd, 2020 in Leiden, the Netherlands. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

2/21/2020
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Bridge Control
The bridge control station in the Leiden harbour master’s office, where we went to pay for our moorage.
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Zijlpoort
Zijlpoort, built in 1667, is one of three original surviving Leiden city gates.
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Oude Rijn
Looking west along the Oude Rijn canal in Leiden.
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Eduard IJdo
In 1889, Eduard IJdo opened a book and commercial printing business in this Leiden building that operated until 1962. (Boek-, kantoor- en handelsdrukkerij means Book, Office and Commercial Printers.)
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Hooglandse Kerk
Hooglandse Kerk in Leiden dates from the fifteenth century. It still functions as a church, but is also used for other purposes such as concerts and conferences.
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Burcht van Leiden
Burcht van Leiden was built in 11th century for defensive purposes atop a man-made 9-meter hill at the confluence of two Rhine river tributaries, the Oude Rijn and the Nieuwe Rijn.
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View North
Looking north across Leiden from Burcht van Leiden.
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Nieuwe Rijn
Many of the restaurants along the Nieuwe Rijn have installed barges in the waterway to extend their outdoor space.
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Wall Poems
The Wall Poems of Leiden was a project between 1992 and 2005 that funded the drawing of 101 poems on walls throughout Leiden. Some have since been lost, but most remain and are fun to encounter when rounding a corner.
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Waag
Carving of items being weighed on the facade of the Waag (‘weigh house’), established in 1658, where goods were weighed and checked in order to levy taxes.
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De Rijn
The view west along the canal De Rijn. The wide canal starts directly west of the Burcht van Leiden, carrying the joined flow of the two Rhine river tributaries, the Oude Rijn and the Nieuwe Rijn.
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Hartebrugkerk
The Hartebrugkerk church in Leiden was completed in 1836.
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Molen De Valk
The windmill Molen De Valk houses a working windmill museum where you can walk inside to the top of the structure.
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Leiden Centraal
At dramatic Leiden Centraal to take a train trip to Amsterdam for the day to tour the new Feadship shipyard there.
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Amsterdam Sloterdijk
We’ve passed through Amsterdam Sloterdijk station many times en route to Schipol Airport and other destinations, but never stopped here.
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Grand Cafe Hermes
A good lunch at Grand Cafe Hermes near Amsterdam Sloterdijk station.
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Feadship Amsterdam
With Folkert Schoots, who took us on a tour of the incredible new Royal Van Lent shipyard in Amsterdam. This new facility is part of the Feadship group, a world-leading superyacht builder. The drydock building in the background can accommodate ships up to 525 ft (160m) long. While we visited, two 70m+ ships were inside, the innermost under construction and the outer one in for a refit. Pictures aren’t allowed inside the building, but more on the construction of the state-of-the-art facility is in the latest issue of Feadship’s PILOT magazine. We had a fabulous time touring the facility, viewing the beautiful ships, and learning more about how Feadships are built. Thank you Folkert for a wonderful and unique experience.
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Train
On the train back to Leiden after a really educational afternoon at the superyacht builder Feadship.
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Brewpub
Tasting the wares at Stadsbrouwhuis (“City Brewery”) in Leiden.
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Gaspare Ristorante Pizzeria
We stopped in at Gaspare Ristorante Pizzeria to order a take-out pizza and shared a glass of red wine while we waited. It ended up being a fun stop—we talked at length with the proprietor, who brought us a delicious tapenade sampler to enjoy with our wine. The pizza was excellent too.
2/22/2020
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Zilpoort
leiden’s 17th-century city gate Zilpoort, viewed at night on our way out to dinner.
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Tanoor
An excellent meal at Iraqi restaurant Tanoor in Leiden, named after the traditional Iraqi flatbread pictured at left. It was delicious.
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Dirona
Dirona moored at Leiden.
2/23/2020
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Davin Bremner
Davin Bremner, who grew up in Seattle but now lives in Leiden, contacted us after passing by Dirona and noticing home port of Seattle on the stern. Davin’s profession of conflict resolution has taken him throughout the world and he eventually settled in the Netherlands. We had a wonderful time meeting him and discussing each other’s travels and our shared history in the Pacific Northwest.
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Guest Harbour
The Leiden guest harbour. Finding a spot here was a bit of a struggle. The wind was blowing mid-20s and the first location we chose, alongside in the foreground, had large piles holding us a bit more than a meter off the dock so we decided to go into a tight spot but one that looked good, next to the blue-hulled sailboat. It was super tight and, with the wind, it was too difficult to land in. We’re not sure if we would fit but suspect not and there was an open 20m spot on the opposite wall by the bright blue car at right that looked easy. We went over there and were stuck on the bottom about 2m from shore. That wouldn’t work either.

We called the harbor master, who recommended an alternative location a short distance away from the harbour. About 3m from shore our super-structure contacted trees preventing us from getting closer to shore. We found a gap in the trees and moved the boat sideways but ran out of water a couple of meters before shore. The sixth location has no shore power but it does have space, does have depth, and so we took it.

We’ve never worked so hard to dock a boat but that’s one of the joys of having a boat that really isn’t a canal boat doing canal cruising. We’ll post a video of the trip from Amsterdam to Antwerp that will include our six dockage attempts in Leiden.

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Einstein
A fun lunch at Einstein overlooking Nieuwe Rijn. The restaurant is full of references to the famous German physicist, who was a regular lecturer at the Leiden University.
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Leiden University
Leiden University was established in 1575 by William, Prince of Orange, and is the oldest in the Netherlands. The university achieved international prominence during the Dutch Golden Age, attracting scholars from around the world, has produced sixteen Nobel Laureates, and currently is ranked in the top 100 universities in the world.
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Hortus Botanicus
Hortus Botanicus, established in 1590, is oldest botanical garden of the Netherlands and one of the oldest in the world. We were hoping to view some it’s famous and historic glass houses, but the facility was mostly closed due to high winds. We were able to explore the modern glass house pictured, which featured carnivorous plants such a the Venus flytrap.
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Mayflower Exhibit
Viewing an exhibit on the Mayflower pilgrims at the Pieterskerk in Leiden. The Pilgrims who arrived in the New World in 1620 aboard the Mayflower set off from Plymouth, England but actually originated in Leiden. We’ve now seen their landing place Plymouth, USA, their embarkation point in Plymouth, UK and their origin here in Leiden.
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Baggage
Baggage is a memorial to the Jews of Leiden who were forcibly taken from their homes in in 1943. 270 later died in concentration camps. Stone suitcases such as these are spread throughout the city, representing the one suitcase each victim was allowed to take with them.
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Molen De Valk
Windmill gears near the top of the windmill museum Molen De Valk. Visitors can climb up all the way to the top of the inside and the windmill still operates when the wind is appropriate. We had a great time exploring the historic structure and learning how it operated.
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Rijksmuseum Boerhaave
Reconstruction at the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave of the Leiden University anatomical theatre, that in 1594 was one of the first anatomical theatres in Europe. We had a fun time touring the museum, which focuses on historical scientific instruments, mainly from medicine, physics, and astronomy.
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FLIR
A great FLIR camera exhibit at the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave. Here James opens his coat and you can see the heat underneath.
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Holle Bolle Gijs
Enjoying a drink along the canal Oude Vest at Holle Bolle Gijs after a big walk around town.
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Waag
A good dinner with great atmosphere at the extremely popular restaurant Waag, built inside Leiden’s historic weigh house.
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Stadhuis
Leiden’s 16th-century city hall, Stadhuis, looks especially dramatic lit up at night.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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