Moving country can be scary, but when you’re heading to one of the most chilled out and fun-loving countries in Europe, there’s a lot to be excited about! The Netherlands may not offer blistering sunshine, but it has a character and culture which are enviable.
Sadly, there are still banal practicalities to overcome when moving to the fine city of Leiden. You need to sort out your accommodation, budget for the different cost of living and all those things. Don’t worry, we’ll explain all that - plus other practical information for living in Leiden - in this handy guide.
We will advise on your budget, explain the local public transport (bikes, bikes and more bikes) and generally help prepare you for the less-exciting but very important parts of moving country. Once that’s all over, you’ll be able to focus on having fun, meeting new people and exploring the city of Leiden.
Leiden may be a small city with only 100,000 inhabitants, but did you know that around 20,000 of them are students? It is one of the Netherlands’ true student cities, and is also the home of the country’s oldest university, founded in the 1500s.
With such a young population, there’s a curious feel to Leiden. There is old architecture and quaint Dutch streets, but also loads of bars and clubs designed to cater for those in their early 20s. It’s also great to hear, in a small city, dozens of different languages being spoken on the streets - it really tells of how welcoming the Netherlands is to internationals.
Don’t worry about not having much to do here either: if you ever decide you want to explore a little, Amsterdam and Rotterdam (and everywhere else in the country, really) are just short train journeys away. You’re not going to get bored and, if you can handle a bit of rain, you’ll not want to leave at the end of the year!
Though the Dutch people are generally exceptionally talented in English, you should try to learn at least some of the language before heading out there. Learning and putting into practice a new language is a thrilling experience, and Dutch is an extremely interesting one.
The weather is Leiden is much like the rest of the country: it’s pretty wet and very grey. The temperature drops around freezing over winter and into the 20s in summer, with beautiful transformative seasons in between. Long story short, it’s a city with real seasons. Some people prefer a less changeable climate, but you can’t help but fall in love in Leiden after seeing it through all four seasons.
A public holiday is one where the university (or your workplace) is likely to be closed, and you get an extra day off. Usually these are great times to do a bit of travelling or, if it’s that time of year, cram in an extra day of study. King’s Day is also a cause for celebration in the city, so maybe don’t travel too far afield for that one!