Notes from the Netherlands

Notes from the Netherlands #5

Note from the Netherlands

Notes from the Netherlands is my feature where I discuss my time studying at Leiden University. I want to blog about this amazing experience as much as I can!

It’s been a little while since I last blogged about this. Since I last shared my experiences with you at the beginning of the month, a lot has happened!
  • 3rd October was ‘Leidens Ontzet’, which is a big celebration every year to mark the occasion that the Spanish siege of the city was stopped. It basically means a HUGE two day city-wide party and fairground. Rides and food stalls everywhere in the streets – it was impossible to cycle, let alone drive, through the streets because of the crowds. The festivities started on 2nd October, and we spent that day wandering around the fairground. My friends seemed to rather enjoy the skeeball… and I spent 20€ on an archery game to win stuffed toys. GUYS I FELT LIKE KATNISS. Except, you know, a lot less skilled.
  • Just a rollercoaster in the middle of the main square, as you do.

    Just a rollercoaster in the middle of the main square, as you do.

  • That evening we ended up at a party on a boat (AMAZING) and then trying (and failing) to get into other parties. Too busy! So we ended up eating currywurst and going on the dodgems at 2am, which was also super fun!
  • 3rd October was a later start, to recover from the night before, and we went to watch the ‘Polstokverspringen’, which basically involved people trying to pole vault over one of the canals. Three of my friends signed up, and it was amazing to watch! Then there were fireworks later that evening (and lots of alcohol…)
  • Leidens Ontzet at night.

    Leidens Ontzet at night.

  • My grandparents came to visit for a weekend halfway through the month, and it was lovely to see them again. I cooked them a meal one evening, which was certainly a challenge in my little student kitchen with few facilities! We went to visit Delft one day, a pretty place that reminded me a lot of Leiden – much more than somewhere like Rotterdam.
  • Once they’d gone home, it was pretty much just revision revision revision for nearly two weeks. My Archaeological Theory exam was HORRIBLE and I’m convinced I’ll have to resit, but we’ll see. Museum History went a lot better I think. BUT EXAMS ARE ALL DONE NOW YESSSSS
  • Me and some of my friends went to a museums conference (‘for experts’ apparently!) which was really fascinating. They also provided free food and drink afterwards, which is always a bonus. There were also free drinks at the archaeology faculty an hour later so… we made the most of both situations.
  • Wednesday night was a big celebration since we’d all finished. Our usual spot until 2am, then onto one of the societies until 4.30 or so. I didn’t get home until nearly 6am, and it was wonderful to be able to lie in and not worry about wasting time. I’ve spent the last few days being lazy and doing whatever I want: watching TV shows, reading, playing games – although I need to write my thesis proposal some time today… Just want to relax before lectures start again on Monday.
  • I’ve also found a love for the gym. I’ve been trying to go most days and I’ve kept up with it, until now! I haven’t gone since Tuesday (it’s Saturday as I’m writing this), but I’ll be starting again tomorrow or Monday. I feel really great after each session and I need to get healthier.

I’m finding balancing blogging and all this a little more difficult than I thought, but that’s probably because exam season has just finished. I’m sorry I haven’t been commenting on your blogs too, hopefully I’ll find some time soon.

Notes from the Netherlands

Notes from the Netherlands #4

Note from the Netherlands

Notes from the Netherlands is my feature where I discuss my time studying at Leiden University. I want to blog about this amazing experience as much as I can!

I’m getting a better balance of blogging and studying now!
  • I have my first two exams in three weeks and I’m kind of freaking out. I really don’t feel prepared in the slightest, we don’t even really know the sorts of questions we’ll be getting. Plus it’s just been sprung on us that we have to read an entire textbook for the Museum History exam – it would’ve been nice to have known that four weeks ago!
  • I went to Antwerp one Sunday to meet up with some friends – online friends, who I’ve known for seven years, and until that point had never met in person. It was wonderful to finally meet them after talking to them so often for such a long time. Hopefully we’ll sort another meeting out soon!
  • Antwerpen Stadhuis

    Antwerpen Stadhuis

  • There was something called Nacht van Kunst en Kennis (Night of Art and Knowledge) here in Leiden, so I went with my friend Jack. We assumed, from the description, that there would be street entertainment and stalls, so we’d be okay with not buying a ticket as they were €17.50 each. However everything was inside so we didn’t really get to see anything that was part of the event! Instead we went for some drinks and a chat, which was really lovely.
  • Our Museum History assignment is to compare two ‘time capsule’ museums: Museum Meermanno in Den Haag, and Teylers Museum in Haarlem. We’ve already been to Museum Meermanno (with a rather strange ‘Birds’ exhibition) and by the time this post goes up I should also have visited Haarlem!
  • Leiden by night.

    Leiden by night.

  • On 25th and 26th September, it was the official opening of the new archaeology building. To celebrate, they held a symposium for all students and staff. The first day consisted of a series of lectures by guest speakers from universities across the world, and the second day was a ‘crafts market’. They had stalls set up representing different areas of archaeology, for example at the osteoarchaeology stall there was a ‘skeleton puzzle’ where you had to try and put an entire skeleton together. They even had a camel you could ride and BABY GOATS!! I WANT A BABY GOAT NOW PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
  • Then there was a free bar from 5pm, and a party. Lesson learned: do not give archaeology students, or rather ANY students, an all night free bar. Fifteen glasses of wine later (in SOME cases, hahaha… I had about eight) and we were done before 10pm. Cheapest Friday night ever.


  • Up and coming (although gone by the time this has been posted, so I will have more to tell in the next one) is Leiden Ontzet, the celebration of the resistance of the Spanish siege. Basically a HUGE city wide party, fairground and everyone gets really, really drunk. It sounds amazing.
  • My grandparents are also visiting from 9th – 13th October, so that should be interesting! I’ll have to take them to a couple of different cities, it’s so easy to get anywhere from here.

    Next time I hope to have an account of Leiden Ontzet for you! Now back to studying…