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Leiden - Pilgrims Refuge

Morspoort Leiden

Black Friday, 7am Sales, Football, Tables overflowing with Food. Do we even remember the Pilgrims and the reason why they came to America? I was reading an article in the LA Times this weekend on Leiden and it brought back memories of time I spent in the Netherlands.

Leiden is a town about 30 minutes by train from Amsterdam. Today it is an important University town. This small town has some amazing history. Romans inhabited the area in the 4th Century. During the revolt against the Spanish in 1572, the inhabitants of Leiden resisted and held out against the Spanish although many of the inhabitants starved while the Spanish sieged the city. The University of Leiden was awarded to the city in recognition of their sacrifice.


Meanwhile in England, Henry VIII was forming the Church of England and breaking with the Catholic Church. There was also a group of citizens who followed John Calvin and wanted to form their own church. This was illegal. Members were imprisoned. To escape persecution, they fled to Holland where freedom of religion was supported.

One group settled in Leiden and formed a congregation led by John Robinson. They lived near the University in an area around Pieterskerk. They decided in 1620 to leave Holland and find a new life in America. This group would be the pilgrims

They sailed on the Mayflower and arrived in Plymouth Massachusetts late in 1620. Over the following year, they struggled with the weather, built a village, wrote laws and farmed the land. In the fall of 1621, a harvest festival was held to give thanks. For survival and freedom.

I loved walking the brick tree-lined streets around the peaceful Pieterskerk. My hair would stand on end when I read the plaques memorializing the colonists time in Leiden. It was almost 400 years ago that our countries fore fathers walked the same streets.

I want to thank everyone for stopping by and reading my blog. Take some time today to reflect upon those early Pilgrims and give thanks as we gather around the table.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Here are a few scenes of Leiden.

Stadhuis Leiden

Memorial plaque for John Robinson

Jean Pesijnshofje almshouse Leiden
Location of John Robinson's house - Pastor

Pieterskerk in Leiden

Rapenburg Canal


Comments (2)


How appropriate for today, Marta. Thank you.

Nice post and an important reminder to remember why the Pilgrims came to this country. I think too many people forget the freedom they were escaping instead of the crazy spin so many try to use today on how our freedom is being jeopardized.

Thanks for sharing your photos also. I have been to Maastrict and Amsterdam. Would like to go back to see more of the Netherlands some day, including Leiden.

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