There's no time for a post-Queen's/King's day hangover - the weather's looking up (well, on average, at least), it's the May holiday so there are children to amuse, and there are new initiatives sprouting all over Leiden and Oegstgeest. Spring is in the air!
The Netherlands don't really spread their public holidays out; after Easter, there's Queen's Day, Ascension (40 days after Easter), Whitsun and in every fifth year also May 5th (Liberation Day) - and then nothing until Christmas. Depending on the Church calendar this can mean odd concentrations of holidays in spring, and the school meivakantie fortnight comes somewhere in the middle of all this, this year from 29/4 to 10/5. If you're going away, have a lovely time: if not, here are some ideas.
In Oegstgeest there is a wonderful kinderrommelmarkt on 5th May , when the streets are paved with children selling off their old toys and games. Oegstgeest being what it is, this can be the place to pick up seriously good bargains - but make sure you arrive early!
The Leiden buurthuizen (community centres) run extra children's activities during the holiday - check out www.libertasleiden.nl under the 'In uw wijk' section to find out more, or - better - simply turn up and ask. The community centres are mostly open in the mornings and there'll the Gemeentecentrum) will also be organising things, but their website has no info as yet so you're better off going along to ask. Again, mornings are best. If your child is in school in Oegstgeest, s/he will receive a leaflet about holiday activities anyway. Leiden's museums ( www.leidsemusea.nl ) are always worth a visit and will have special holiday programmes on.
My favourite at this time of year, though, is just to get OUT among some green growing things - after the spring we've had, I don't need warmth; anything over 5C feels perfect to me! Look back at old springtime homepages for more ideas, but my favourites within easy cycling distance are: the farm 't Geertje ; the woods of the Panbos between Wassenaar and Katwijk Huys te Warmont in Warmond; the 't Joppe lake in Warmond; the Vlietlanden to the south. It's also a wonderful time of year to get to know the Leiden speeltuinen . Remember that these playgrounds receive a subsidy which depends on the number of members they have, so do join your local playground rather than paying each time you visit; the cost is minimal (up to about eur20 per family per year!).
Thank you to all who joined our brainstorming session at the CJG in Oegstgeest on the 24 th , for bringing all your ideas and enthusiasm! Although details are still to be confirmed, one thing seems sure; Oegstgeest is going to get its very own weekly meeting point for international families, we are calling it the Oegstgeest Family Group , and it will be on Friday mornings. Our model is the wonderful Wednesday Vogelwijk group, and we hope that the Oegstgeest version will prove to be just such a relaxed and happy place to meet people and start to put down roots in the area. WATCH THIS SPACE!
Hayley Smith, a book-loving HomeinLeiden reader, would like to start up a book club, meeting monthly over drinks and nibbles in central Leiden. Read her flyer here; initial plans are to meet on Monday or Tuesday evenings, depending on what people want, in her flat in Central Leiden, and to take it from there. You can mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
It's all happening in Oegstgeest at the moment . Bettina of the Germano-Russo-Anglo-International monthly coffee mornings is holding another session on Monday 13 th May and all Oegstgeestenaren are welcome. For your diaries: the next meetings after that are on June 3 rd and July 1 st ; mail email@example.com for details of where they're being held.
The founder of HomeinLeiden and general all-round good egg Harriet has written a lovely article about how this website started for an Amsterdam website which shares many of HomeinLeiden's aims - take a look at it here.
And to anyone who feels as though they're needing a tribe at the moment - do please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to help!
HomeinLeiden is taking some time off during the holiday, and wishes you all a sunny and happy (and hopefully WARM) couple of weeks until the next homepage.