I had never been to a Dutch town before other than Amsterdam. Therefore, I discovered with astonishment, getting off the train in Leiden, that it is simply a smaller copy of its famous cousin. There are all the obligatory elements here: characteristic canals, bicycles, windmills, brick houses. This thought reentered my mind many times in each subsequent town visited in this area. There are great museums here, the most important of which, with a rich collection of ancient Egypt, as in Amsterdam is called Rijksmuseum. There is a botanical garden as in Amsterdam, but this one is even older and richer. There are, like in Amsterdam, impressive churches, like in Amsterdam closed, empty or turned into a different function.
So you have to take a deeper breath feel the differences. But it is not difficult at all. Amsterdam’s crazy buzz is replaced here by the lazy afternoon atmosphere of an old academic town. This reflective atmosphere is everywhere: on the canals, in its museums, in its parks and its gardens.