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.



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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

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Diana Jekina,


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Spring is in the air!

Oh how lovely it is to have a bit of sunshine! After our non-existent spring last year, I think we are owed a good one for 2014.

Would you like to get involved?

If HomeinLeiden has been useful to you, and/or you're looking for some voluntary and would like to get out and meet new people (or indeed just do some writing in the privacy of your own home) - how about joining the HomeinLeiden team? Would you like to write or update a section? Do you perhaps have your finger on the pulse of what's on in Leiden and would like to send me stuff to put on the homepage? Or would you like to help run an event? HomeinLeiden will be 6 in June and we're planning a celebratory event, as well as a couple of events with guest speakers, so there's plenty to do! We've just been joined by Carolyn, who is a fantastic addition to our team, so just email me on if you're interested too.

Local Elections

As you've probably noticed, there will be local elections on Wednesday 19 th March. Who is allowed to vote? Well, NL citizens over 18 living in the gemeente of Leiden, obviously, but we foreign over-18 Leidenites who are either EU citizens or have lived here continually for 5 years or more are also allowed to vote in local elections. You can only vote with a stempas , a voting card, which you should have received by post. If you haven't received a voting card and think you should have done, you can ask for one at the Stadhuis (take ID!) until the 18 th , or order one by post until the 14 th - download the form here here. They are making a bit effort to make the whole thing fun and so there will be all sorts of activities going on that day - there's a list of all the poling stations and related activities on , and they are open 7.30-21.00 (except at V&D which shuts at 20.00). Don't forget to take your stempas and ID!

If you aren't sure who to vote for, there's a list of all the parties here There's a great website where you can see which party most closely follows your opinions about local policy decisions such as parking, taxes, asylum seekers, road building etc - (although it's in Dutch and not very easy Dutch at that) There is also a highly recommended event at the VKC on Thursday 13 th March, 13.00 - 14.30, which offers an opportunity to interact with women candidates for the parties PVDA, SP, D 66, Groen Links and CDA and discuss policies and local issues. There is free childcare provided for pre-schoolers. It's a Dutch-language, women-only event, but gives a unique opportunity to actually meet some of the candidates - I've always found it hard to know which candidate to choose. Contact the VKC for more information

VKC_logoVoor vrouwen door vrouwen

There is a list of all the candidates here here, although frankly it leaves one none the wiser.

Happy voting!

So what else is new in Leiden this month?

New parenting course from Childrearing matters!

Don't you just hate it when you lose your rag with your children, and then feel bad about it afterwards and regret what you've said? Following on very nicely from the mindfulness we've been talking about, Alison Sutton is now offering a course to help us use mindfulness to the benefit of our kids and our whole family life! If you haven't yet done one of her courses, I cannot recommend Alison highly enough - she is such a kind, wise and insightful person, who makes one feel truly empowered. She says:

How can you take your mindfulness practice to a new level in your parenting?




are combining forces to present this mini-course in June. The course is especially designed for international parents who already practice mindfulness. On it, you'll learn to

  • Better understand and deal with your own experience of being parented
  • Use mindful practices to prevent and diffuse family conflicts
  • Cultivate compassion in your relationship with yourself

Mindfulness techniques have been shown scientifically to reduce stress and promote good family health. International child behaviour expert and public health advisor Alison Sutton M.Sc. (Leiden), P.G.C.E. (Cambridge), B.A. (Exeter and California) will teach you how to combine mindfulness techniques with insights into child development, to improve significantly the quality of your family life. 

ADVANCED MINDFUL INTERNATIONAL PARENTING will take place from 7.30 until 10pm on Wednesday, 4 th , 11 th , 18 th and 25 th June at CompaNanny, Rhijngeesterstraatweg 40, 2341 BV Oegstgeest.

Thanks to CompaNanny's sponsorship, we are offering a limited number of course places for the special price of €199.00 per person, with special rates for couples and for parents and professionals who have completed the Mindful International Parenting course

To reserve your seat, register by email asap on

Places are strictly limited, so book early to avoid disappointment.

New baking club!

What's not to like - meet some new people, and eat a whole lot of cake! I had a great time last week (and we've been loving eating the proceeds ever since - so if you love baking, here's what lovely HomeinLeidener Femke says:

'Recently Leiden gained a new club; the Leiden Bake Club. Set up by expat Hayley and repat Femke, the Leiden Bake Club is for everyone who likes to bake. Early March we had our first meeting and six people came along and we had a lovely evening of natter and lots and lots of cake! The LBC aims to meet around every 6-8 weeks in someone's house and everyone brings along something they've baked. This can be anything from cakes to biscuits and from pies to muffins. Each meeting there is a broad theme. If you would like to join the Leiden Bake Club, you can get in touch with us on Facebook: or email Femke at foxyfemke *at* gmail *dot com. To whet your appetite here are some photos from the cakes people brought along for the first meeting! We only have space for 8 people maximum at each meeting, to keep it nice and cosy! We hope to see some of you at one of our next meetings!'

New Baby massage course!

Elena Empagliazzo, one of the loveliest people I know, runs baby massage classes (as well as giving amazing ayurvedic massages to grownups) in her new studio in the Haven. Learn practical baby massage techniques from from both modern and traditional Indian perspectives, as well as how to pick up on your baby's signals to aid communication, and how to best enjoy bathtime! It's also a great opportunity for parents to meet like-minded peers and share information and experiences!

New plans for the Oegstgeest Family Group

The Oegstgeest Family Group (OFG) has a new schedule for the upcoming season. We will no longer be meeting every Friday, but instead on the first and third Friday of each month at Centrum voor Jeugd en Gezin (CJG) Lijtweg 7, Oegstgeest. The first Friday of each month will be reserved for special events, such as, book swaps, informational workshops, and food/recipe exchange and the like, while on the third Friday we'll just be holding a normal coffee morning.

On the in between Fridays (second, fourth and occasionally fifth) we are planning various informal activities (outings, picnics, museum trips ...), organised at other locations by members of the group.  These events will include outings, coffee mornings and other learning opportunities organized and hosted by a member of the group. We'll be passing on information about all these gatherings (both at CJG and elsewhere) via email and by messages on the OFG facebook page, so please let us know via a Facebook message or at if you would like to be added to the mailing list!

So this month, on Friday 21st March there's a coffee-and-play session from 9.30-11.30 at the CJG. Then the next fourth-Friday date for your diaries is on Friday 28th March , which will be at Alice's house in Oegstgeest. It will be centred around cooking, baking and particularly bread baking , so if you're interested, have recipes to share or are simply feeling peckish, come and join us! Mail for details.

Our next event at the CJG itself will be on Friday 4th April , when Hester Scheltens of the 'Kunstkasteel' in Oegstgeest will be coming to tell us about her creative parties and workshops for adults and children. Hester runs all sorts of wonderful courses, exhibitions and activities from her house on the Rhijngeesterstraatweg in Oegstgeest. Read more at and come and join us on the 4th to hear more and to see samples of her creations!

And finally - take the kids to see the kids!

It's spring - so it must be time to go to 't Geertje! A wonderful day out for small (and not so small) children to see the piglets, feed the baby goats, ride on the very bored little ponies, have a cup of tea and buy farm products. It's a long but enjoyable bike ride from Leiden, or a short car ride, but rather hard to reach by public transport. Take a look at their website for more information



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