Leiden, the city of discoveries, is the center of Leiden Home Learners. It  is a beautiful place with a rich history. Rembrandt was born here, Einstein taught at the University for a brief period, the Pilgrims lived here right before they left on the Mayflower to go to America. It is a 15 minute train ride from the International airport (Schiphol) and about a 40 minute train ride to Amsterdam.

Leiden is a relatively small city, with a population of 120,000. It is easy to get around the whole city by bicycle (most people’s preferred way to travel) and intimate enough that you are likely to meet someone you know every time you step outside your house.

Here we list a few of our favourite places to learn and discover from in Leiden and in other places.

Places in Leiden:

Hortus botanicus Leiden: the oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands and one of the oldest in the world.

Naturalis Museum: the fabulous National Museum of Natural History that also houses the 17th century Plague House.

The burcht van Leiden: this ancient shell keep where Leideners gathered in times of crisis dates back to the 11th century and offers a beautiful view of Leiden.

Silvester Bookshop: a charming little children’s bookstore in the center of Leiden with lovely staff. The bookstore often has children’s theater shows above the shop on Saturday afternoons. Our first meetings were held in their little upstairs space.

Leidse Hout: this is one of our favourite outdoor meeting spaces for the spring and autumn months. We’ve celebrated two LHL birthdays here. In case the weather turns rainy, the bandstand is a great place to hide while you wait out the rain.

Vogelwijk Playground: this is a fantastic play area at the border of Leiden and Oegstgeest. It’s a good idea to bring extra clothes. We’ve had a few LHL children that have gotten soaked in the pond.

Kinderboerderij Merenwijk: a nice place to come and learn about the animals that live on the farm. Friendly staff and a small play area for children.

Cronesteyn: on warm days this is a favourite park to hang out with the children – a swimming hole with multiple floats, water pumps with interconnected wooden pathways, a zip line and lots and lots of space to run around and play.

Volkenkunde Museum: the newly renovated national ethnology museum.

Zwembad de Zijl: lovely big swimming pool with rapids, small diving boards, a baby pool, a slide and friendly lifeguards.

Huis van Sinterklaas: all things Sinterklaas related are celebrated here. Happy Zwarte Pieten give children handfuls of peppernoten (little cookies).

Lindewei Studio: the lovely Patrick Westendorp facilitated a beautiful music and dance workshop for the children using instruments from the East.

Places just outside of Leiden:

Warmond Beach: perfect spot for a picnic and a day playing outside – swimming, woods, a grassy play area and a little playground.

Vlietland Beach: lovely little lake with a big grass field and a very nice restaurant close by.

Space Expo, European Space Agency, Noordwijk: children can experiment with gravity, make water rockets, dress up like astronauts, and receive Astronaut Diplomas after completing a little program.

Katwijk Beach: lovely, peaceful place to spend the day, unless it’s a perfect sunny day and the weekend or the holidays. Then it’s super busy, like most Dutch beaches.

Boerderij ‘t Geertje: a really lovely children’s organic farm where children can feed baby goats milk and food, go on pony rides and watch the animals. Lots of space to run around and play.

Olmenhorst: a wonderful place to spend an autumn’s day walking in the orchard, picking apples with your friends.

Vlinders aan de Vliet: a very pretty place with beautiful butterflies, child friendly and wonderfully warm on a chilly day.

Other places we’ve loved:

Speeldernis, Rotterdam: this is a beautiful wild nature playground. A favourite place to visit for many LHL children.

KidZcity, Utrecht: this is our favourite indoor playground. Fun things to do for the really young and for older kids too.

Safari Park Beekse Bergen, Hilvarenbeek: a huge safari park that is almost impossible to explore within a day.

Stuif-Stuif, Haarlem: a fun children’s event in Haarlem with lots of activities – music, lego, building, painting, making, and lots more.

Delftse Hout/De Papaver Nature and Environment Centre: a pretty play area with lots of water, a children’s farm and a lovely nature and environment centre.

Science Centre Delft: good place to spend an afternoon experimenting and creating.

The studio of Clara Froger: wonderful little studio in Rotterdam where the lovely Clara showed us how to make felt balls