There are a few sites around Leiden where old apartment buildings are being prepared for demolition. There’s one site I cross every week, when I pick up my organic vegetables and fruit. Some of the windows have been thrown in, all the curtains are gone, most of the furniture. But in some cases there are still signs of a previous life left: wallpaper, an old chair, stained glass, wires hanging from the ceiling, Italy painted on a wall, and in one case some Dutch poetry written on the windows. This building may be empty, but there is memory of life left in it.


Somebody painted a map of Italy, probaly taking hours to carefully craft the details and get the colours right.

The Dutch poetry written on the windows reads like the kind of poetry you would find in a adolescent’s school agenda, and even though I will never be sure, it’s cool to think some teenagers broke in to these buildings and had a good time pretending to be the real stuff. These pictures were reversed left/right so that you can read the poetry that was written on the inside of the windows.

Another site is at the edge of the neighbourhood I first lived in when I moved to Leiden. I passed it this week on my way to the swimming-pool and made some pictures. They were working on this site, removing glass, doors, and leftover furniture from the buildings. Probably this site has also been visited by teenagers, looking at the ornamental lyrics on some of the walls.


Neighbours actually lived here for many years, sharing their hopes, beliefs, lives and past.

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