Experience in Leiden, Netherlands by Sarafina
What is it like to live in Leiden? Would you recommend it? What is the city like?
Leiden is a nice, small city located between the Netherlands' biggest cities of Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Rotterdam. It is a vibrant student city, there is always a good vibe, the atmosphere is cosy and laid back. It has a rich history.
What is the student lifestyle like in Leiden?
Leiden is a university city, so it has a big and active student community. Many Dutch students are involved in so-called student associations, some focusing on sports, games or just socializing/partying. However there is always something to do as a student, when one is not involved in one of these organisations.
How much does it cost to live in Leiden?
Housing in Leidens costs on average about 330 euros per month including electricity/gas/water etc. Additional living expenses (depends of course on how much you go out/eat out) is about 250 euros per month.
Is it difficult to find accommodation in Leiden? Is there any advice you can give?
Not specifically. Have a look at www.kamernet.nl, which is a Dutch site on which most free rooms are submitted.
What is the food like? What are your favorite dishes?
There are plenty of nice restaurants in Leiden. There are Italian, Spanish, French, Japanese, Surinam, Indian, Indo-Chinese, Thai, Turkish and Moroccan (etc., etc. ) restaurants, as well as some typical 'Dutch' options and of course fast food options.
What places would you recommend visiting in Leiden?
There are a lot of interesting musea to visit. Next to that is the Hortus Botanicus (botanical garden) in summer really nice, the churches are worth a visit as well as 'de Burcht', which is a stronghold from the Middle Ages in the heart of the city that towers over the city and gives the visitor a great panoramic overview.
Lastly, 'het Academiegebouw' is the heart of the university (which is the oldest in the NL) and really worth a visit.
Is it good to eat out in Leiden? Can you tell us your favorite spots?
My favorite spots to eat are 'de Bontekoe', 'het Pakhuis' and 'Einstein'.
Is the nightlife good in Leiden? Where is good to go?
'Gebroeders de Nobel' is a cultural stage with regular parties and performances from renowned DJs and bands. Otherwise 'Einstein' on Wednesday nights (international night), Belgian beer café Olivier on the last Saturday of the month or regular open parties at the student associations. However, for the real 'clubbing experience' you can take a night train to the Hague, or even better Amsterdam.
What advice would you give future students headed to Leiden?
If you're in for studying and living in a small but beautiful town with a great history and some epic festivals (such as the 3rd October and the Queen's Day), a vibrant student life and an excellent university, I welcome you to Leiden!
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