Welcome to the latest addition to the HomeinLeiden family, an extension to Oegstgeest. HomeinLeiden will of course carry on its excellent job of supplying help and info to anyone living in the whole 'greater Leiden' area, from Wassenaar to Voorhout and further, but here we are planning to collect anything particularly relevant to those who are more Oegstgeest-centred. Leiden town centre can seem so very far away with two under-fours on a wet, windy day ... So here goes:
Inspired by the wonderful Wednesday group at the Vogelwijk playground and by Alison Sutton (of www.childrearingmatters.com), a new social group has started up in Oegstgeest. We wanted to provide a relaxed, easy-to-reach time and place for internationals to meet other local families and find out what the place has to offer. The Oegstgeest CJG is letting us use a lovely child-friendly space for free and a group of enthusiastic volunteers is making it all happen.
Details: the Oegstgeest Family Group is every Friday, from 9.30-11.30am, and through the holidays as well. It's being held at the CJG at Lijtweg 7 (where the consultatiebureau happens) and is an informal walk-in coffee/tea/chat/children's play morning. We do hope you will come along; mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like more information.
If you look at the list under 'Social' on the right at the top of this site, you'll see a new link to a Facebook group called Oegstgeest Family Life . This is - to quote its founder - a group for families to connect and read/write about events and happenings in and around Oegstgeest, and is doing a fantastic job keeping up with, well, more or less anything interesting which is going on in the Leiden and Oegstgeest area. Take a look, see what's going on and feel free to add your own experiences!
Oegstgeest apparently merges seamlessly into Leiden, but it is a separate borough with its own town council, town hall (where you will need to register if you move here), library, schools (including secondary), shops and sports clubs. If a child throws out a nasty rash at midnight on a Friday (as they always do) then you will go to the after-hours doctor up the road in Voorhout and not the one in Leiden. This is a small country and short distances can mean a lot; Oegstgeest is much more than a suburb of Leiden (and never refer to it as such to a local if they don't have a sense of humour...) and those living here certainly think of it as a distinct and separate place. The locals call it het dorp , 'the village', to distinguish it from de stad , the great city of Leiden, and along with being in most places pleasantly green and leafy it does have the small-scale feeling of a village.
Oegstgeest has two distinct centres, one around the Kempenaerstraat and one around the Lange Voort. If you had to categorise them, you'd call the Kempenaerstraat is more leisurely-browse-high-end-with-cappuccino, and the Lange Voort slightly more mundane (not to say useful), with its Blokker and Hema, but both have an interesting selection. And the library and the weekly market (Tuesday) are at the Lange Voort! Oegstgeest's community centre, the Gemeentecentrum , where there are all sorts of activities for young and old, is also just near the Lange Voort.
We're building up a list of useful addresses and links in the Amenities section, but here are a couple of basics to start you off:
- Shopping: there are supermarkets at both the Kempenaerstraat and the Lange Voort, with the excellent market (fruit, veg, cheese, fish, butcher ...) on Tuesdays at the Lange Voort.
- Library: at Lange Voort, next to Hema. Open every afternoon and from 10am on Saturdays (closed Sundays).
- Medical: The health centre (for baby/child preventive care) is in the Gemeentecentrum at Lijtweg 9, just by the Lange Voort. There are several doctors' practices in the area and if you ring any of them you will be able to register or directed to the appropriate one (it's usually allocated by postcode). There are chemists at the Lange Voort and on the Kempenaerstraat and over the canal in Haaswijk at the Boerhaaveplein.
- Community centre : the Gemeentecentrum at Lijtweg 9 (just by the Lange Voort) is where all sorts of activities and classes are held, see the Amenities section for more information!
- Town hall and police : the glorious old Gemeentehuis is at Rhijngeesterstraatweg 15, telephone 071 519 17 93, see www.oegstgeest.nl for opening hours. The police have a desk in the Gemeentehuis for non-emergency matters, open M/T/Th/F mornings 9-12.30 and Weds evenings 6-8pm.
- Rubbish: in addition to the usual paper/glass bins at shopping centres, in Oegstgeest your plastic will be collected from your house every fortnight. Use the special bags, available at the town hall and often at supermarkets, the library etc.. Paper is collected by UDO sports club from your doorstep (!) on the first Monday evening of every month; just put it out after 6pm.
There are so many of us here (two thousand in Oegstgeest, apparently!) that we have our very own representative on the town council, Suzanne Perl, who volunteers for the Oegstgeest Gemeente expat outreach programme. As part of this programme, she is one of four who write an English column for the Oegstgeester Courant (free weekly paper in Dutch), attend the nieuwe inwonersavonden (welcoming evenings for newcomers to the town) to welcome and answer questions from expats. She also meets with the Gemeente to discuss issues important to the expat community - and has joined the HomeinOegstgeest team, hurray! Mail her at email@example.com with your queries.
The borough of Oegstgeest has fluctuated in size over the centuries, at the whim of local nobles, landowners and politics, at times extending all the way down to what is now the Mors in Leiden and the (separate) borough of Rijnsburg. Oegstgeest now has nearly 23,000 inhabitants spread from Poelgeest across to Nieuw-Rhijngeest (west of the A44 motorway) and down to Endegeest and the Warmonderweg.
Until the end of the nineteenth century it was almost entirely rural, with a small population living in small farms and hamlets scattered over the polder. It knew prosperous times, especially when subsistence farming and market gardening made way for bulb growing in the 18 th and 19 th centuries, but remained steadfastly rural. The 'village' of Oegstgeest only really took off as such when the realisation came to local farmers that their land would fetch good money for building, as the workers of Leiden who could afford it developed a taste for living in the 'country' (soon to become suburbs) and commute to their work. Development started around 1900, and growth peaked between 1915 and 1935, with what are now the very desirable areas of 'old Oegstgeest' between the Kempenaerstraat and the Hofdijck. The area around Lange Voort and the 'Grunerie' (just east of the motorway) came in the fifties, and development spread north of the canal to Haaswijk and Morsebel in the 70s and 80s. The Poelgeest estate followed in the early 2000s, and (economic crises permitting) Oegstgeest will be 'finished' - or at least will have run out of building land - when the Nieuw-Rhijngeest estate is completed.
The Oegstgeest section is brought to you by Alice ( firstname.lastname@example.org) and
Suzanne ( email@example.com). Alice is English, married to a Dutchman, with four children aged four to ten at the Kring (Rembrandt), and she moved to Oegstgeest in 2011 after ten years in Leiden. Suzanne is from the USA and married to a Norwegian; she has lived in Oegstgeest now for seven years, and has two children aged four and six at the Montessori school. We would love to hear from you if you have any suggestions or material for this section, so do please email.
A problem for many people moving here is how on earth to pronounce something which has FOUR consecutive consonants in its name, and I know several people (myself included) who simply answer 'Leiden' when asked where they live. However, from time to time you may be obliged to name your dwelling-place out loud, so here's a guide. It is pronounced 'Oost-chayst', with the 'Oo' sounding like the oo in hoot , and the ch being that guttural consonant which g is in Dutch, like the noise you make clearing your throat, or the ch at the end of loch . You can simply ignore that troublesome first g in the word; even the Dutch don't pronounce it.