Leiden Festival Weekend

The annual Leiden Laken (cloth) Festival and the Leiden Food Festival have come to an end. The 4-day event (Thu-Sun) treated us, like every year, to a lot of fun activities and great food in the historical city center of Leiden. The Leiden cloth festival refers to the flourishing textile industry in Leiden in the 17th century. It’s one of the biggest events of the year with dragon boat races, markets, and street musicians.


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In the cobbled streets around the Pieters church you could rummage stalls from local farmers, bee-keepers, and artisans.IMG_2651

At the market I ran into the stall of Harriet Damave. I have written about her several times, but had never met her in real life. Her hand-painted jewelry and home accessories are even more stunning laid out in front of you. Read my blog post about her here.IMG_2652 IMG_2654

The Pieters church square was transformed into a nostalgic kids fair with whimsical and traditional mary-go-rounds, candy vendours, and ice-cream stalls.


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Leiden’s mainstreet, the Breestraat, became a pedestrian area  for a bric-a-brac market packed with trunk sales and thrift shops showcasing their curiosities, and vintage treasures.

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at the Hand-made market people sold their handmade products like knitware, crochet, ceramics, lace, and water colour illustrations.

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A huge part of the festival is the street musicians route. At nearly every pub and on every corner you’ll find a group of street musicians, sometimes quirky and humorous making a whole spectacle of it to entertain the crowd.

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Another part of the event is Culinary Leiden, a food fest. Several local restaurants present themselves to the public with small size delicacies. At restaurant Dartel I tried the winning Tartar of king’s crab with Granny Smith apple and chives served with foam of cucumber and sorbet ice cream of sea buckthorn berries with caviar.


At Buddhas I had the mixed platter with a sateh (chicken skewer) with spicy peanut sauce, eggroll, and Kanom Tjip Thod (fried puff pastry filled with spicy ground beef).

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New this year was Noroc. It’s a small lunchroom that only serves organic food and bio-meat. I was very eager to try it, and I can confirm that the meat is soft, tender and so much more tasty. I did miss some colour in the presentation. We had:

  • tortellini filled with mushrooms served with duck confit and a sauce of porcini and Madeira.
  • spring roll with salmon, vegetables, hoisin sauce, waisabi cream and lemon

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6 thoughts on “Leiden Festival Weekend

  1. What a lovely review and beautiful photos. I wish I could have seen more myself, but I was stuck behind that booth at the Handmade Market. 😉 There was a great joyous vibe in the city.

  2. What a fun, colourful and joyous review of a great day out.
    Your photos are lovely and really transport me as if I was there.

    Thank you!

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