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IMG_1459 copy by mirandascraps. 3 oktober hutspot

Drie Oktoberrrrr (you have to say it with as many r's as possible because that's how you say it with a Leiden accent) is a huge event in Leiden. If you work in Leiden it's likely that you'll be given the day off work.

What's it all about?

Drie Oktober marks the liberation of Leiden on 2 and 3 October 1574 after the Spanish siege that had sealed off the town. You can always tell when 3 Oktober is approaching, because the roads near the train station gradually close until it's almost impossible to get through. This is because of the funfair that takes over the streets near the station and starts a day or two before the third.

There are all kinds of events for 3 Oktober: live music on the evening before and day itself, a procession along the Breestraat of all the sports clubs from Leiden on the evening before (Taptoe), herring and white bread at the Waag on the third itself, a memorial service in the Pieterskerk and of course the funfair. There often seem to be fights between locals and students in the night as well.

There are two commemorative meals on 3 Oktober. The first is hutspot , which is mashed potatoes, carrots and onions. The story goes that a young boy discovered the deserted Spanish camp and a pot of hutspot that the Spanish had left behind as they fled. He was able to tell the townspeople that the siege had ended. The second meal is haring en witte brood , herring and white bread, which the relief troops brought with them. In the morning of 3 Oktober you can go to the Waag for herring and white bread. You need to register first, this seems to be on 18 September in the Waag, and either show proof that you have some link with Leiden, the text says with a driving licence, wedding certificate or other form of id, or be a member of the 3 Oktober Association. It's not clear whether living in Leiden qualifies you for this.

Can I ignore it?

If you live anywhere but in Leiden then it's easy to ignore. If you live in Leiden it's pretty impossible to ignore. You'll hear the music all through town and shouty people all through the night.

What do I have to do?

Take the day off work if you work outside Leiden and take it all in.

What do I need?

Lots of money for the fairground rides and beers.

What is the history of Drie October?

The siege began in June 1574 and, because there had already been a siege from September 1573 to April 1574, food was scarce and people began to starve. The mayor of Leiden, van der Werff, is remembered for his rousing speech in which he offered himself as food. Many starved to death, but the town held out until the waters finally rose at the beginning of October (the dykes had already been broken but water level was too low to flood the area surrounding Leiden where the Spanish were camped) and the Spanish were forced to lift the siege. Van der Werff's statue is in the van der Werff park in Leiden and there is also a huge painting of the moment when van der Werff offers himself as food in the town hall. There has been a memorial service in the Pieterskerk from 1574. The day has been celebrated in its current format since 1886, when the 3 Oktober Vereniging (association) was set up.

Where can I find more information? (in Dutch) (in Dutch)



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