A short lesson on Dutch traditions: Leidens Ontzet

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In the previous editions of the photo column, our photographers shared some throwbacks from last summer. Now October has arrived and it is time for a different photo story! On the third of October, the city of Leiden celebrates the liberation from the Spanish back in 1574. 1574?! That’s quite a while ago, I know. However, the city of Leiden still celebrates this liberation with traditions, events and parties. One of our photographers went to Leiden to see what the fuss is all about.

How do you celebrate an event that happened more than four centuries ago? You start by closing the city centre for cars, then you bring in some traditions and music and make sure everybody’s having a great time! For the people of Leiden the yearly ‘Leidens ontzet’, which translates to ‘the liberation of Leiden‘, means eating traditional hotchpotch and herring on white bread. Also, a fair can be found in the city centre and on every street corner the bars provide enough beer for the whole day. Fun observation made during the day: the city celebrates the liberation from the Spanish, but our photographer managed to spot four (or maybe more) Churros stands.

In the middle of the day a parade marches through the large street in the city centre. People dress up in funny outfits and multiple fanfare bands march along. Trumpets, big drums and trombones take care of the rhythm. As soon as the evening begins, the parties start. Most of the big squares have stages with live acts. The city of Leiden celebrates like they’ve been liberated yesterday. To view the photos, click on the big photo above and navigate by clicking on the arrows.

Photos: Thomas Korver


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Over de auteur

Thomas Korver

Thomas is student Communicatiewetenschap die altijd op zoek is naar het perfecte plaatje. Hij denkt, leeft en droomt in foto's. Vraag hem even of alles oké is als hij een dag geen foto heeft geplaatst op Instagram.