Ons Leiden

Dora van Haaster

“It’s a working-class neighbourhood,” says Dora as she sits on the bench in front of her house. Sometimes she’ll have her morning coffee out here. She appreciates the working-class character of Leiden-Noord, although it can have its difficulties. The neighbourhood can be messy and the streets are often littered with rubbish. But she rolls up her sleeves and cleans it herself. Knowing her neighbours makes her happy.

‘‘At Christmas I will put a note through everyone’s letter box.’’

“I certainly don’t just drop in on anyone for coffee, but at Christmas I will put a note through everyone’s letter box. And I’ll often receive a card back. If new people come to live on the street, I’ll send them a note too.”

She moved into her current house in 1985. She likes it there. There is an old primary school opposite her house, but the building is no longer in use as such. She’s been inside a few times. She recalls it being very nice. The walls of the main hall are covered in yellow-ochre-and-black tiles and beautiful tiled tableaus. The stained-glass windows above the front door create a lovely atmosphere and colour. According to the local council, which registered the building on their list of monuments a few years ago, the school is a lovely example of architecture from the 1920’s and 30’s. Only now, the building seems a little forlorn. It is occupied by people living there antikraak (a form of legal squatting). Meanwhile, the building has been sold and will be renovated.

“I was hoping for new apartments, but it will probably be turned into a health centre. It’s a shame because new homes bring more liveliness to the neighbourhood. I might even have moved over there myself,” says Dora.

What is the one thing she would like to discover in Leiden-Noord? “I’d like to take a look over at t’Spoortje cafe, I’ve never been there,” she says. She once went on a city walk through Leiden-Noord with a group of friends. They walked from the Tuin van Noord to the Merenwijk and along the Zijl. “We had a drink at Café Decima and ate chips at Hendo.”

Which other interesting locations would she add to her city walk? “The second-hand shop down the road is such fun. It’s run by two rather striking sisters. Whenever you go there they’ll ask if you want a coffee. I think they brew it all day long, it certainly smells that way. It’s not the best, but I always oblige. It’s a nice place to sit down. There’s this other place where they sell second-hand washing machines and dryers. The Turkish owner always calls me mrs. neighbour, so I call him mr. neighbour. We don’t live next door to each, but we still call each other that.”

“We had a drink at Café Decima and ate chips at Hendo.”


We Are Leiden wordt
ondersteund door:
Gemeente Leiden

Volg ons op social media:


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.