I went to Leiden a couple of days ago to visit the Museum of Ethnology and the botanic gardens. Leiden’s was the first university in the Netherlands, established in 1575 by William, Prince of Orange, leader of the Dutch Revolt during the Eighty Years’ War. The botanic gardens were also the first in the Netherlands, established in 1590. They say that its founder, Clusius, brought the first tulip to Holland over from Turkey and planted it in this botanic garden. Pretty cool!
Leiden is one of my favourite cities in the Netherlands and one that I would recommend highly for a visit. The museums are amazing – you have traditional Dutch art in Museum De Lakenhal, you have magnificent antiquites in Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, and ethnological treasures in Rijksmuseum van Volkenkunde. The city’s centre is historic and beautiful, and there is a lookout on Rapenburg which is the most quintessentially Dutch view you could ever hope to see.