Leiden botanical garden video

This 27 September 2018 video from the Netherlands says about itself:

Autumn has started! In the Netherlands it’s time to plant the flower bulbs in the garden. Ever since the beginning of the Hortus botanicus Leiden we have cultivated unusual species of bulbs. In the olden days the rarer bulbs (like tulips) were grown in a fenced part of the Clusius Garden.

Nowadays our bulb collection has become so extensive and complex that we devoted a new part of the garden to cultivate, and a special glasshouse to display the crown jewels of our bulb collection. Together with researchers of Universiteit Leiden / Leiden University Naturalis Wageningen University & Research we are doing research into the endangered European orchids. Head of glass houses Rogier van Vugt explains why in this video.


Plants of Science Park, Leiden

This 2 August 2018 video is about the Science Park, Leiden, the Netherlands.

Marco Roos tells about special plant species growing there.

Dutch language, English subtitles.

Young Rembrandt exhibit in Leiden, the Netherlands

This Dutch 18 May 2018 video says about itself (translated):

Leiden has a new attraction where you can experience the work and life of the young Rembrandt. Exactly at the place where he got his first painting lessons, a special video presentation explains what the Leiden life of the young painter looked like.

With the Young Rembrandt Studio, Leiden is taking a first step towards making Rembrandt more present in the city. The Young Rembrandt Studio on the Langebrug street has only been open for a day and yet a lot of people come to take a look. First you have to walk past the souvenirs, and then you end up in the narrow building at a curtain.

Behind it is the 7-minute video. ‘I really liked it’, says a lady from Amsterdam. Together with friends she visits Leiden. “And without Rembrandt a visit to Leiden is not a real visit”, she says.

However, many tourists do not know that Rembrandt was born in Leiden and his first painting lessons were with history painter Jacob van Swanenburgh. Leiden Marketing has set itself the goal of making young Rembrandt a permanent part of what Leiden has to offer as a tourist city.

Big plans

‘This is one of the first places in the new Rembrandt Trail‘, says Lucien Geelhoed of Leiden Marketing. “And so we are going to develop a number of places, such as the Latin school [where Rembrandt had lessons] but also along the Rapenburg canal and around his birth house.”

No mass tourism

In addition, in 2019 it will be exactly 350 years ago that Rembrandt died in Amsterdam. And that has to bring money to both Amsterdam and Leiden. But Leiden people do not have to be afraid of mass tourism. ‘We are mainly targeting tourists who are interested in art and culture.’ It is the intention that young Rembrandt will get a permanent place in Leiden, so that the tourists will be able to find Leiden after 2019 as well.

This Dutch 17 May 2018 video shows an interview with an actor playing Rembrandt‘s painting teacher Jacob van Swanenburgh at the Young Rembrandt Studio.

Hot summer saves flowering plant’s botanical garden stay

Flowering agave at botanical garden in Leiden, the Netherlands. Photo by Cunie Sleijpen

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Heat makes Leiden plants bloom after 60 years

The Hortus Botanicus [botanical garden] in Leiden was about to take them away. Those four agaves with flower stalks of a few meters high had been around for sixty or seventy years and they had never bloomed. “It’s like they’ve heard that”, says Rogier van Vugt of Hortus Botanicus.

Though no-one had counted on it, they suddenly all four were in bloom, reports broadcasting organisation West. “We wanted to take them away to clean up the cultivation collection a bit for the refurbishment and renovation of the front yard”, says Van Vugt.

The Agave americana, as the plant is officially called, specializes in water retention. The plant is adapted to life in dry areas. The Dutch climate is not good for the agaves, but according to the Hortus Botanicus, due to the continued heat now, they are “very pleased”.

Originally, the plant is from dry areas in Mexico and Central America. The agave is also known to need a long time before it’s going to bloom. Sometimes it takes eighty years. The flower stem can then grow up to 10 meters. “If it is blooming, then that’s an impressive and beautiful sight”, reports Hortus Botanicus.

After the blooming the main shoots die, but there are often small shoots left over. They can be potted and will later become new plants.

In Mexico, the plant is also used for the production of the alcoholic beverage mescal.

Agave americana flowers in Leiden. Photo by Theo Houthoff

West reports today (translated):

The flower stem can grow up to ten meters high, and hundreds or even thousands of upright fragrant flowers will form on the side branches. The flowers contain a lot of nectar. “Bees benefit from that, because it is not easy for them to get nectar with this drought”, said Van Vugt.

Dragonflies, other insects in city center

This video is called [Female] Green-eyed Hawker – Aeshna isoceles – Vroege glazenmaker / Schoten – Belgium / June 2015.

According to Leids Nieuwsblad weekly, 21 June 2018, green-eyed hawker dragonflies are among insect species seen in the Kruidentuin garden in Leiden city center. Others are hummingbird hawk-moth, European wool carder bee and hornet mimic hoverfly.

Dutch fight for LGBTQ rights, history

Anti-homophobia demonstrators, 1969. Photo Jac de Nijs/Nationaal Archief

This 1969 photo shows a demonstration at the Dutch parliament in The Hague. It was the first ever demonstration against homophobia in the Netherlands.

The signs refer to paragraph 248bis of the Dutch criminal law. Then, for heterosexuals it was legal to have sex at 16 years of age, but for homosexuals only after 21 years. The signs called that paternalistic and demanded a law, equal for all. The campaign was succesful. In 1971, paragraph 248bis was abolished. Police until then had arrested 5,000 people to enforce it.

Remarkable progress in a relatively short time. A few years before, in 1962 there had still been an article in Vrij Nederland weekly praising electrical torture of gay men to ‘convert‘ them to heterosexuality. In Vrij Nederland: considered a liberal voice in the Dutch media.

In 1968, a year before the The Hague demonstration, the Leidse Studentenwerkgroep Homoseksualiteit (LSWHl; Leiden Student Working Group Homosexuality) had been founded at Leiden university. Not everyone liked that: a university bigwig asked: What next? A Sadism Working Group?

The LSWH organised parties. One of them was ‘Flikkers voor Vietnam‘, ‘Perverts for Vietnam‘. The money made by organising that party went to medical care for Vietnamese victims of United States bombs.

Dutch Leiden slavery history

This 6 November 2017 Dutch video is about the new book Sporen van de slavernij in Leiden, Traces of slavery in Leiden.

The history of Dutch city Leiden at first sight seems to have little to do with slavery. Already since the 16th century, slavery was illegal in the Netherlands itself; though legal in the overseas colonies until 1863. The ships of the Dutch transatlantic slave trade departed from seaboard harbours; inland Leiden did not have such a harbour. The slogan of Leiden University was and is: Praesidium Libertatis, bulwark of freedom. Slavery surely does not agree with that?

However, recently a book came out, Sporen van de slavernij in Leiden. The book is by Leiden historians Karwan Fatah-Black and Geert Oostindie.

This 2014 video says about itself:

The Atlantic slave trade: What too few textbooks told you – Anthony Hazard

Slavery has occurred in many forms throughout the world, but the Atlantic slave trade — which forcibly brought more than 10 million Africans to the Americas — stands out for both its global scale and its lasting legacy. Anthony Hazard discusses the historical, economic and personal impact of this massive historical injustice.

Read more here.

Leiden citizen Johannes de Laet was one of the founders of the transatlantic slave trading Dutch West India Company (WIC), founded in 1621. The Leiden city government invested so much money in that company that it was represented on the WIC board.

Hugo de Groot in Leiden Groot Auditorium

The Couderc-Temming couple were rich slave owners in 18th century colonial Suriname. After her husband died, widow Johanna Baldina Temming moved to Leiden. She had three servants there. One of them free; two others slaves. Not legal; but it still was like that.

How about Leiden university?

This photo shows a stained glass window in the Groot Auditorium, the most important hall of Leiden university. It shows famous Dutch jurist Hugo de Groot (Grotius, 1583-1645), who studied law at Leiden university. In his hands, his book De juri belli ac pacis. In that book, De Groot defended slavery.

Hugo de Groot was not by any means the last ex-Leiden student defending slavery.

Thomas Hees, with his nephews and African slave

This 1687 painting by Michiel van Musscher depicts diplomat Thomas Hees, who had studied philosophy and medicine in Leiden. It also depicts Hees’ two nephews and, in the background, ‘Thomas the negro’, his African slave.

Samuel Arnoldus Coerman, born in Curaçao, studied law in Leiden. In Dutch law, there was no difference between black and white people. Coerman went back to Curaçao as public prosecutor, intending to make that law work. However, the practice of the Curaçao slavery-based society and its court soon disillusioned him. He went back to Leiden, where he died in 1821, 41 years old.

Johan Rudolph Thorbecke (1798-1872) studied at Leiden university and later became a professor there. He became the leader of the Dutch liberal party and managed to limit the power of the monarchy and increase the power of parliament in 1848, when revolutions all over Europe scared the king into making concessions.

However, Thorbecke was not as progressive on slavery as on the parliament-monarchy relationship. He saw slaves mainly as property, and according to his bourgeois liberalism, property was sacrosanct.