Leiden - City of Netherlands
Leiden is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. It forms a single urban area with Oegstgeest, Leiderdorp, Voorschoten, Valkenburg, Rijnsburg and Katwijk, with 254,000 inhabitants. It is located on the Old Rhine, close to the cities of The Hague and Haarlem. The recreational area of the Kaag Lakes lies just to the northeast of Leiden.
NETHERLANDS National Animal : Lion
Although it is true that Leiden is an old city, its claimed connection with Roman Lugdunum Batavorum is spurious;Roman Lugdunum is actually the very close-by modern town of Katwijk, whereas the Roman settlement near modern Leiden was called Matilo.
Leiden formed on an artificial hill at the confluence of the rivers Oude and Nieuwe Rijn. In the oldest reference to this, from circa 860, the settlement was called Leithon. The landlord of Leiden, situated in a stronghold on the hill, was initially subject to the Bishop of Utrecht but around 1100 the burgraves became subject to the county of Holland. This county got its name in 1101 from a domain near the stronghold: Holtland or Holland.
Today Leiden forms an important part of Dutch history. The end of the Spanish siege in 1574 is celebrated on 3 October by an annual parade, a day off, a fair and eating the traditional food of herring and white bread and hutspot. However, the most important piece of Dutch history contributed by Leiden was the Constitution of the Netherlands. Johan Rudolf Thorbecke wrote the Dutch Constitution in April 1848 in his house at Garenmarkt 9 in Leiden.
The city also houses the Eurotransplant, the international organization responsible for the mediation and allocation of organ donation procedures in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Slovenia.
The town centre contains many buildings that are in use by the University of Leiden. The Academy Building is housed in a former 16th century convent. Among the institutions connected with the university are the national institution for East Indian languages, ethnology and geography; the botanical gardens, founded in 1587; the observatory the museum of antiquities and the ethnographical museum, of which P. F. von Siebold's Japanese collections was the nucleus. The Bibliotheca Thysiana occupies an old Renaissance building of the year 1655. It is especially rich in legal works and vernacular chronicles. Noteworthy are also the many special collections at Leiden University Library among which those of the Society of Dutch Literaturea and the collection of casts and engravings. In recent years the university has built the Bio Science Park at the city's outskirts to accommodate the Science departments.
NETHERLANDS National Flower : Tulip Tulipa