What’s there to do on the 2nd and 3rd of October in Leiden? The answer is: A LOT. Get ready for a two-day street festival packed full of parties, parades and people pandemonium. 

Here’s what’s happening on the 2nd October in Leiden

On the first day of Leidens Onzet – AKA ‘the relief of Leiden’ – you will see townsfolk eating ‘Hutspot’. Often served with a side of smoked sausage or bacon, Hutspot consists of boiled and mashed potatoes, onion and carrots (but you can bet there will be variations of the dish served at different locations throughout the city).

hutspot 2 and 3 october
Hutspot! (picture by Ellywa / Wikipedia)

At 1:30pm, the Luna Park opens! With more than 150 attractions, the fairground promises to be heaps of fun for all ages. Why not pass by the Festive Goods Market on your way there? You can find delicacies ranging from gerookte paling (smoked eel!) to bananas with whipped cream.

If you’re into the slightly more traditional fairground, there’s going to be a Nostalgic Fun Fair at Pieterskerkplein square at 2:00pm, where you can travel back in time to see the shooting galleries and merry-go-rounds of the past.

There’s also the Pieter van der Werf Festival, the Ribbon of Light parade, a Cheese Market and plenty of bands to play us into the following morning. If you miss out during the day, there’s always time to grab a beer and join in the ‘relief’ (or drunken foolishness) of the evening.

3rd October Leiden
Sky-high in Leiden (picture by Biccie / Wikipedia)

For more info about 3 October in Leiden, check out the Visit Leiden website!

What’s there to do on the 3rd of October in Leiden?

Like a true ‘Leidenaar’, you can continue the party on the 3rd October. If you wake up early enough, you’ll see those who registered in advance eating their herring and white bread around De Waag.


Every year there’s a commemorative service at Pieterskerk (St Peter’s Church) featuring a guest speaker and a musical accompaniment. This serves as a reminder of why Leideners celebrate this day in the first place:

3 October in Leiden
How 3 October in Leiden came about…

Here’s a mini history lesson about 3 October in Leiden

During the ‘Eighty Years’ War’, the Spanish army tried to capture the city between 1573 and 1574. This was called the Siege of Leiden. The 3rd October festival is dedicated to the 3rd October 1574, when the siege finally ended (for a bit…). It’s a day to celebrate freedom and independence. (A little extra fact: the festival also commemorates the anniversary of the founding of Leiden University in 1575).

All the frivolous events of the 2nd will still be available on 3 October in Leiden – and more. Near Molen De Put, there will be a fleet demonstration and nautical market. At the Van der Werfpark, scientists will be giving lectures about awesome things (like sustainable energy), important things (like the role of women in the era of the historical ‘Relief Day’) and weird things (like losing weight with worms!?).

Finally, you can finish the two-day extravaganza by watching a brilliant display of fireworks at Ankerpark, entitled ‘The Pyromusical’!

So why not join the fun? Bring your mates, your kids, your grandma – they’re all sure to love the 3 October Leiden festivities. 




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