A Letter form the Mayor of Leiden

13 November 2020

Dear people of Leiden,

Currently, we are all facing extra coronavirus measures. Even fewer opportunities to make a trip, even fewer visitors at our homes; it is not a full-blown lockdown, but it does feel that way. Like you, I am not finding it easy, I miss seeing people ‘in the flesh’ and I miss being able to get together with family and friends. And judging by what I hear around me, so do you.

It is especially hard for those of you who are working in hospitality and in the leisure, event and cultural sectors. Those businesses are (all but) closed, lots of things have become impossible, many people are inevitably at home. As a result, our city has lost part of its soul, something I am aware of whenever I walk through town. These are the very sectors that make life in our city so pleasant.

However tedious the current situation is, these measures are really necessary to prevent overburdening our healthcare system with coronacases, for the people who provide healthcare, and for the people who need regular healthcare. I am counting myself lucky that I am still healthy, but more and more people around me tell me that they tested positive – and I think you may hear the same. That brings the virus really close to home. That is why measures are really necessary, and it is important that we really abide by them! Fortunately, we are generally doing this quite well!

At the moment of writing, things are a lot better than they were a few weeks ago. I hope that they stay this way, and that we can fall back on lighter measures once these two weeks are past. It would be even better if we would be allowed more room to enjoy ‘Thanksgiving’, ‘Sinterklaas’ and Christmas with our families and friends. I sincerely hope we can.

In these difficult times, I am proud of all the people in Leiden, who are committed to our city in various ways, some by working in healthcare, others by using their creativity and making the best of things, while still others are helping elderly and vulnerable people in our city. I would like to say to all those people, look after each other, but look after yourself, too. A great deal is demanded from us, so make sure you get to relax. A beautiful autumn walk, or a bike ride tends to charge me enough to get going again. It may help you too! Simply put, exercising in the autumn sunshine is conducive to our health and our immune system. In some parks or popular scenic areas, it can become too busy, but there are always plenty of alternatives in and around Leiden.

We shall persevere for those working in healthcare and those needing it. I assume you likewise have people in your environment for whom this is important. Together, we are sure to get through this difficult period!

Henri Lenferink