Leiden Day

Leiden Day

October 3
In 1573 the Dutch city of Leiden (or Leyden) was besieged by the Spaniards. Thousands were dying from disease and hunger, but when a group of desperate citizens pleaded with the Burgomaster to surrender, he replied that he had sworn to keep the city safe and that it was better to die of starvation than shame. His stubbornness heartened the people, and finally the river dikes were cut so that the Dutch army could sail in over the flooded fields and save the city. A statue of the heroic Burgomaster, Adrian van der Werff, was later erected in Leiden's Church of Saint Pancras.
According to legend, the first person to emerge from the besieged city on October 3 was a young orphan boy. In the deserted Spanish camp, he discovered a huge pot of stew that was still hot. He summoned the townspeople, who enjoyed their first hot meal in several months. Known as Hutspot met Klapstuk, the mixture of meat and vegetables is still served on this day, along with bread and herring.
CONTACTS:
VVV Tourist Office
Stationsweg 2D
P.O. Box 100
Leiden, 2312 AV Netherlands
31-71-516-1211; fax: 31-71-516-1227
www.hollandrijnland.nl
SOURCES:
BkFest-1937, p. 244
BkHolWrld-1986, Oct 3
FestWestEur-1958, p. 139