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Leiden or Gouda?

We will be in Delft for 3 nights prior to going to Amsterdam for 7 nights. While in Delft, we would like to go to the Mauritshuis in The Hague, and then continue by train to either Leiden or Gouda before looping back to Delft. Which would you choose? If we went to Leiden we would probably just wander and do the "Leiden Loop" and if we went to Gouda we'd wander around and then go to the Museum Gouda. Any preferences? Thank you!

Posted by
552 posts

Let your favorite style of cheese make the choice! With cumin, or seedless?

Posted by
795 posts

Leiden, Leiden, and Leiden hands down. There is so much to see and do in Leiden while Gouda is rather dull. In Leiden, you can visit the National Museum of Antiquities (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden) to see art and sculpture from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Near East, and even the Ice Age. This museum alone would make it worth visiting Leiden. There is the Valk Windmill you can tour and see how Dutch millers of the 18th century lived and worked and the techniques used. There is the National Museum of Natural History (Naturalis) which is a fascinating look at natural history. The Botanical Garden (Hortus Botanicus) is well worth a visit. You can visit and tour Der Burcht Leiden Castle and you will want to go to the Der Markt market to pick out fresh fruit and veggies. One unusual and fun museum is a biology museum called Corpus which is designed like a human body you walk through and features exhibits about different parts of the human body. If you like history, arts and crafts, you'll love the Municipal Museum of Leiden (Stedilijk Museum De Lakenhal) where you'll find out about wonderful Leiden artists including Rembrandt! There is more to see and do. You could spend a few days in Leiden enjoying the canals and the different sites.

Posted by
7569 posts

Completely agree with Terri Lynn. If you're going to the Mauritshuis in Den Haag, you should select Leiden. However, years ago, I found the free museum loop shuttle bus to be unreliable. I walked.

Posted by
767 posts

Thank you - I think we have a winner! I had read about some of the museums in Leiden, but I didn't realize there were this many interesting ones - thanks Terri Lynn.

Tim, do you remember if you bought the Leiden Loop map from the TI, or did you just walk around and look for the plaques?

Oh, I'm so excited to see Leiden now - we may need to allot more time for it!!

Thanks again.

Posted by
33335 posts

I spent many Aprils in the Netherlands, loving Leiden, and avoided Gouda because I had heard there wasn't much there.

I was in Rotterdam last year and we decided to give Gouda a go. It was very rewarding - the main square and the great architecture on the town hall, the church hidden away on a back street, walking around the canals and really enjoying the ambiance.

There's even a "La Place" restaurant right on the square next to the cheese scales.

It is much smaller than Leiden but IMHO well worth a visit.

We will return, maybe this April.

Posted by
16894 posts

I enjoyed Gouda, for the reasons Nigel describes, but have not yet had the pleasure to visit Leiden.

Posted by
767 posts

Thanks Nigel and Laura for giving Gouda some love! We may still end up visiting Gouda as well. We are day tripping to Utrecht from Amsterdam and could easily add on Gouda since it's only about a 15 minute train ride from Utrecht. It's nice to know there are so many great options!