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Welcome to an addition to the HomeinLeiden family: its extension to Oegstgeest. HomeinLeiden has lots of useful info to anyone living in the whole 'greater Leiden' area, from Wassenaar to Voorhout and further, but here are some points particularly relevant to those who are more Oegstgeest-centred. Leiden town centre can seem so very far away with two under-fours on a wet, windy day ... So here goes:
Events and listings: Oegstgeest Family Life Facebook group
If you look at the list under 'Social' on the right at the top of this site, you'll see a new link to a Facebook group called Oegstgeest Family Life . This is - to quote its founder - a group for families to connect and read/write about events and happenings in and around Oegstgeest, and is doing a fantastic job keeping up with, well, more or less anything interesting which is going on in the Leiden and Oegstgeest area. Take a look, see what's going on and feel free to add your own experiences!
Oegstgeest apparently merges seamlessly into Leiden, but it is (at time of writing at least, although its days may be numbered) a separate borough with its own town council, town hall (where you will need to register if you move here), library, schools (including secondary), shops and sports clubs. If a child throws out a nasty rash at midnight at the weekend (as they always do) then you will go to the after-hours doctor up the road in Voorhout and not the one in Leiden. This is a small country and short distances can mean a lot; Oegstgeest is much more than a suburb of Leiden (and never refer to it as a suburb to a local if they don't have a sense of humour...) and those living here certainly think of it as a distinct and separate place. The locals call it het dorp, 'the village', to distinguish it from de stad, the great city of Leiden, and along with being in most places pleasantly green and leafy it does have the small-scale feeling of a village.
Oegstgeest has two distinct centres, one around the Kempenaerstraat and one around the Lange Voort. If you had to categorise them, you'd call the Kempenaerstraat is more leisurely-browse-high-end-with-cappuccino, and the Lange Voort slightly more mundane (not to say useful), with its Blokker and Hema, but both have an interesting selection. Amazingly, both have bookshops; the Kempenaerstraat has on of the ‘De Kler' chain, not bad, and the Lange Voort a very nice independent, the Rijnlandse Boekhandel, who will get your requests (also in English!) delivered the next day. And the library and the excellent weekly market (Tuesday, and check out the free-range butcher and the olives-and-yummy-nibbles stalls) are at the Lange Voort! Oegstgeest's community centre, the Dorpscentrum , where there are all sorts of activities for young and old, is also here, right next to the health centre.
There are some useful addresses and links in the Amenities section, and here are a couple of basics to start you off:
- there are supermarkets at the Kempenaerstraat and the Lange Voort, with the excellent market (fruit, veg, cheese, fish, butcher ...) on Tuesdays at the Lange Voort, and there is the Lidl over the canal in Haaswijk.
at Lange Voort, next to Hema. Lovely place, nice staff, they do readings, activities for young children etc.. Open a lot but at subtly varying times on from Monday to Saturday, closed on Sundays (www.bibliotheekbollenstreek.nl has details).
- Medical: The health centre (for baby/child preventive care) is at Rhijngeesterstraatweg 15a, behind the Gemeentehuis. There are several doctors' practices in the area and if you ring any of them you will be able to register or directed to the appropriate one (it's usually allocated by postcode). There are chemists at the Lange Voort, on the Kempenaerstraat and over the canal in Haaswijk at the Boerhaaveplein.
- Community centre:
the Dorpscentrum at Lijtweg 9 (just by the Lange Voort) is where all sorts of activities and classes are held, see the Amenities section for more information!
- Town hall and police:
the glorious old Gemeentehuis is at Rhijngeesterstraatweg 15, telephone 071 519 17 93, see www.oegstgeest.nl for opening hours.
- Rubbish: in addition to the usual paper/glass bins at shopping centres, in Oegstgeest your plastic will be collected from your house every fortnight (see oegstgeest.nl for more information). Use the special bags, available at the town hall and often at supermarkets, the library etc.. Paper is collected by UDO sports club from your doorstep (!) on the first Monday evening of every month; just put it out after 6pm. Note that this was correct at time of writing, so do check www.oegstgeest.nl to make sure.
The borough of Oegstgeest has fluctuated in size over the centuries, at the whim of local nobles, landowners and politics, at times extending all the way down to what is now the Mors in Leiden and the (separate) borough of Rijnsburg. Oegstgeest now has nearly 23,000 inhabitants spread from Poelgeest across to Nieuw-Rhijngeest (west of the A44 motorway) and down to Endegeest and the Warmonderweg.
Until the end of the nineteenth century it was almost entirely rural, with a small population living in small farms and hamlets scattered over the polder. It knew prosperous times, especially when subsistence farming and market gardening made way for bulb growing in the 18 th and 19 th centuries, but remained steadfastly rural. The 'village' of Oegstgeest only really took off as such when the realisation came to local farmers that their land would fetch good money for building, as the workers of Leiden who could afford it developed a taste for living in the 'country' (soon to become suburbs) and commute to their work. Development started around 1900, and growth peaked between 1915 and 1935, with what are now the very desirable areas of 'old Oegstgeest' between the Kempenaerstraat and the Hofdijck. The area around Lange Voort and the 'Grunerie' (just east of the motorway) came in the fifties, and development spread north of the canal to Haaswijk and Morsebel in the 70s and 80s. The Poelgeest estate followed in the early 2000s, and (economic crises permitting) Oegstgeest will be 'finished' - or at least will have run out of building land - when the Nieuw-Rhijngeest estate on the other side of the motorway is completed.
A problem for many people moving here is how on earth to pronounce something which has FOUR consecutive consonants in its name, and I know several people (myself included) who simply answer 'Leiden' when asked where they live. However, from time to time you may be obliged to name your dwelling-place out loud, so here's a guide. It is pronounced 'Oost-chayst', with the 'Oo' sounding like the oo in hoot, and the ch being that guttural consonant which g is in Dutch, like the noise you make clearing your throat, or the ch at the end of loch. You can simply ignore that troublesome first g in the word; even the Dutch don't pronounce it.
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