The charming Dutch alternative to overcrowded Amsterdam


Holland’s answer to Oxford and Cambridge is a treasure trove of art, here’s how to get the best out of your city break there.

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Leiden, squeezed between Amsterdam and The Hague, has it all: canals, gabled houses, world-class museums, and a profusion of intriguing shops – with a few windmills thrown in for good measure.

It is Holland’s most prestigious university town, dating back to 1581. Bookshops abound, frescoes of poems adorn whitewashed walls, and canal-house windows reveal glimpses of chaotic student kitchens.

Leiden was also once home to the Pilgrim Fathers, and is the site of the first tulips ever grown in Holland. Not least, it is Rembrandt’s birthplace and arguably the crucible…

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