Home in Leiden

Croatian, Za vise informacija na hrvatskom jeziku, molimo kontaktirajte Tamaru,

German, Wenn Du weitere Informationen auf Deutsch brauchst, wende Dich bitte an Dorothea,

Danish, For mere information paa Dansk kan De kontakte Heidi.



Czech, Pro více informací v ceském jazyce kontaktujte prosím


French, Pour plus d'informations en français, vous pouvez contacter Claire Caron sur

Polish, Po dodatkowe informacje w jezyku polskim kontakt or

Spanish, Si quieres más información en castellano, no dudes en ponerte en contacto conmigo, Laura

Indian, Please contact Rippy at if you'd like help in Hindi or Punjabi.

Diana Jekina,


About us
Pregnancy and Birth
Childrens Health
Learning Dutch
Previous Homepages
FAQ: Moving to Leiden


Cafes and Restaurants
Getting around
Hotels and B&Bs
The library


Home in Leiden was set up in 2009 by Harriet Fitski and Tanneke Westmaas as a volunteer website and organization to help international families feel at home in Leiden. We care passionately about getting people from all backgrounds together and creating community and support. We aim to provide easily accessible and up-to-date information to enable you to make the most of this wonderful city and become part of that community. We are now run by an informal committee, and welcome anyone, with or without children, who would like to be involved. Please contact with any suggestions, questions or ideas.

Here you can read about some of the people in the HomeinLeiden community; there are lots more behind the scenes and we always welcome newcomers. Do get in touch if you'd like to know more about a particular area, or just for a friendly word!

Harriet, who co-runs the site, is responsible for much of the content of the website. She is 36, British, married to a Dutch man, and mum to Quentin and Evelyn. She has lived in Leiden for more than 12 years, and frankly refuses to leave. She started an international parent and baby group when she was pregnant with Quentin, and is passionate about getting people in touch with each other, and creating support networks for people with small children. She loves having a house full, and hates people taking themselves too seriously.

Harriet is an artist (see ) and children's author (see ), and her second book will be out next year. Nevertheless, she still seems to spend most of her time making bows and arrows, getting covered in flour in the kitchen with her baking-mad children, and trying to persuade her daschund Daisy to sit. You can contact Harriet through

Alice, who co-runs the site, has updated and written lots of new sections and brought Oegstgeest into the picture. Alice is English and married to a partly-Dutchman who was brought up all over Europe, so they can cherry-pick as they please from several countries' attitudes. She has four children aged seven to thirteen, and works four days a week as a hydrogen and future energies technologist for Shell. At work she enjoys the peace and adult conversation, and at home the semi-controlled chaos is a refreshing contrast. In her spare time Alice goes rowing, makes complex constructions out of Kapla, potters about in the garden and while still dealing with muddy Wellies is also learning to handle incipient teenage angst. She loves to cook (and thus, of course, to eat, especially bread, cakes and biscuits) and to play with words and languages, and hates being inactive. You can contact Alice through

Jessica, who co-runs the site, kept up the labour of love What's On section for years and has written and researched a lot of content, including the Schools section. Jessica, who has a PhD from Leiden University, is from the US and lives in Leiden with her Dutch husband and their son Darius. Apart from writing learned papers on Jewish trade networks and generally being a Busy and Important Academic, Jessica likes to spend her time inventing nerdy quizzes, tasting wine (although she refuses to spit so I say that's just called drinking), being a foodie and trying to feed her friends to death. She loves goat cheese and fighting injustice, and hates stingy hospitality and olives. You can contact Jessica through

Tanneke is responsible for all the real hard work behind the website. She is Dutch, 39 and works as an assistant data manager at the LUMC. She grew up in Alphen aan den Rijn but has lived in Leiden for 18 years. She has done a study to be a webpage designer and makes websites in her spare time. She is quadriplegic, is ranked as seriously cool by all children, given her wheelchair with lights, buttons and beeping noises, and is very tolerant about it being used as a climbing frame.

She loves doing things with friends and hates cold, rainy weather.

Marianne Orchard, of the wonderful website , is our super-dooper Guest Author of various pieces guaranteed to make you involuntarily snort coffee out of your nose, including the Dutch Festivals and Traditions section. She controversially left Leiden a few years ago for the rural charms of Appelscha - however, we are hoping to win her back soon when the joys of snow-shovelling and being That Strange Woman What Speaks Foreign pall. Marianne is British, married to a Dutch man, and mum to Maddy and Jay. She is a writer and translator when she has time off from her busy schedule of Titanic activities with Jay, making pumpkin lanterns, and knitting snails. She loves community living and sustainability (as long as there's plenty of wine and giggling about Kabouter Plop) and hates leaf blowers and colouring inside the lines.

Jill Bowe is 34; has recently moved with her husband from Ireland to Leiden and is loving life here! She is studying Dutch as a Second Language at Leiden University, leads a scouting group and is working as a teaching assistant in a Dutch primary school (thanks to Harriet) - although some of the children are a little bewildered by her Dutch/Irish accent. She is determined to get to grips with the language and to laugh at herself along the way.

Although Jill is not a mum, she is very much part of the group; her brief is organising pub nights and clothes swaps (aka "Swishing parties"). She likes the openness of Home In Leiden and the chance of meeting a great bunch of girls; whatever is happening, you're guaranteed a giggle and a bit of bad manners to boot!

Jill dislikes people who complain and fast food. She likes The Killers & Kings of Leon , seventies inspired fashion, the outdoors and Shane Horgan (an Irish rugby player).

Laura de Francisco wrote the Greener Living in Leiden section, and she is very happy to hear any ideas about how to live in a more sustainable way. She is Spanish, married to a Dutchman and has two children called Anna and Paul (who insist in having blue eyes - not a very common characteristic in half-Spanish kids!). Four days a week she is busy with her job as a supply chain consultant at Deloitte, and on Thursdays and at the weekend she spends as much time as possible with her family and friends.

She loves doing simple things that bring lots of happiness, like learning how to crochet granny squares, writing her blog - -  and preparing jam, and hates wasting her time in front of the TV.
Marie Vijendran moved from England to Leiden in early 2009, and is famous to many for starting up the Vogelwijk Wednesday morning playgroup just six weeks after arriving. She recently handed this over in favour of home-educating her two children, Leo (5) and Chiara (3), and is now out and about every day with them; she may frequently be found at the Vrouw-Kind Centrum, various Leiden museums, Katwijk beach or if not at those places probably covered in mud at the family volkstuin (allotment). Marie also started a new profession as a HypnoBirthing practitioner when she moved here; read more about her classes in the Pregnancy and Birth section or at .
She loves nothing more than putting her feet up with a glass of wine and some knitting and hates wasted energy in any form!



Baby/Toddler Groups
Vogelwijk Playgroup
Oegstgeest Family Life
Classes and Sports
Photo Gallery
Vrouw Kind Centrum


Find a Babysitter
Dutch Etiquette, Festivals and Traditions
Greener Leiden Living
HIL Top Tips
Expat Centre Leiden
Useful Links