Ons Leiden

Bram Pater
There was once a railway between the Noorderkwartier and De Kooi. From the interwar period onwards, the Leiden-Heerensingel Station stood between the two new neighbourhood in Leiden-Noord. The station was demolished in 1970, and the railway closed. Today, hardly anything remains. Bram points in the direction of the former railway where he’s lived across the street in the Noorderkwartier since 1974. A large flat on the Arubapad in De Kooi became his home several years ago.

‘If it were up to me, I’d stay here.’’

“This flat was touted as “retirement-ready” when it was built. It sounded very appealing, so I moved here. If it were up to me, I’d like to stay here, but it’s not exactly affordable. The rent has gone up since we moved here too.”

When asked how he keeps busy, he comes up with a whole list. Bram has officially retired but doesn’t want to be stuck at home, simply pondering life. “I’ve always said I’ll live to be 115 and want to spend my last 15 years doing absolutely nothing. But I’m still very active now.” He volunteers, among other things, at Een Goede Buur (a good neighbour), a local initiative at the community centre. “Everyone is welcome at Een Goede Buur and coffee is free, just like at your neighbour’s house. We lend a helping hand to people, and if there are bigger issues, we refer them to the community support team.”

He started taking an active role in the neighbourhood while he was still working, but spent his evenings helping out at community centres.

He became a part of Noorderkwartier’s local committee and was invited to join council talks about the renovation of Leiden-Noord.

There’s no lack of contact with people from Leiden-Noord; he meets the locals all the time as his house functions as a pick-up point for parcels. People can drop-off and pick-up their online purchases four times a week.

Bram proudly shows the big chain around his neck, which is full of golden charms. “When I quit smoking, my wife and I would spend the leftover money on something nice to hang on it during our holidays.” He lists the countries he’s been. Curaçao is also mentioned. “We used to live there, and my son was born there,” he explains. Bram wasn’t actually born and bred in Leiden. “My wife is a true Leidenaar, but I’ve come to know much more about Leiden than she does,” he says.

“My wife is a real Leidenaar, but I’ve come to know much more about Leiden than she does.’’


We Are Leiden wordt
ondersteund door:
Gemeente Leiden

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We Are Leiden gebruikt verhalen die leven in de stad en haar wijken en geeft deze een podium. Het motto ‘mensen verbinden, verhalen maken’ staat bij ons centraal en zal dan ook altijd in onze projecten terug te vinden zijn.