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Leiden is easily one of the most enchanting cities in the Netherlands. It's home to the oldest university in the country, the birthplace of Rembrandt and breeding ground for ground-breaking science and Nobel laureates since centuries. It's a charmingly compact fortified city, literally packed with well-preserved historic heritage but with a young and lively atmosphere due to its large student population.

Leiden is one of the most important museum cities in the Netherlands. Four national museums are located in Leiden, among others, that are worth to visit. Naturalis Biodiversity Center is a museum on the history of life and the natural planet. The main part of the museum tells the story of life on earth through bones, fossils, etc. The museum also features a collection of specimens from extinct animals, including bones from a Dodo. Do not miss the treasure chamber (schatkamer) where exceptional and valuable collections, such as extinct animal bones, gemstones, etc., are on display.

Oude Rijn is the oldest branch of the Rhine river is little more than a city canal here. Historically, this waterway is what gave the area its importance, first as a Roman border, then during the Golden Age as a trade route. Nowadays, river traffic doesn't use this branch and the river just serves to fill the city's canals with water. The area between the Oude Rijn and Nieuwe Rijn is one of the most undisturbed bits of Leiden - go here if you like walking along canals. On the other side of the city centre (Weddesteeg, Galgewater) is the place where the canals recombine - this is one of the most beautiful spots in Leiden, with a windmill, the old city gate, a small park, and a wooden bridge over the river.

Haarlemmerstraat and Breestraat are the main shopping streets at the heart of the city center. Shops include bookstores, fashion shops and other ordinary shopping items. In the areas around the Pieterskerk and Hooglandsekerk, small boutiques and antique shops are worth a visit. Historically, all the city's lively markets were situated along the Nieuwe Rijn canal. Some names of the bridges over this canal remain as reminders of the trades that took place there once. There's the "buttermilk's bridge", the covered "grain bridge" and the "chicken bridge", to name a few.

Leiden has a lot of restaurants and bars. Especially in the Pieterswijk (the east side of the Breestraat) are a lot of cosy restaurants.


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