After Two Years In Leiden, I Can Safely Say the People are Strange

Yalies didn't hang out with "townies" when I was studying there. I suppose the "townies" simply saw themselves as African Americans, and all of us as super-rich, smug smart people. While walking around Leiden, where the top university in the Netherlands is located, I can safely say that this is a uni city, and that the people have been trained to see themselves as "townies."

Since Leiden University has been around for longer than many families here, most people simply remember that that has always been there. And because Dutch people are into assimilation, this means that some families moved here expecting to assimilate into the university culture.

But there is simply no possible entry for a local person from outside of an elite university into a social circle of students; a person's only choice is to assimilate by observation, and from what I can observe, people prefer not to smile or recognize each other on the street.

I imagine that if you're an 18-year-old Dutch kid from a village of a few hundred people and you move to Leiden to study, you're going to be warned by your parents to "stay safe in the big city, and to get to know the other students."

The "townies" have for centuries been trained by super-smart kids from villages that they are invisible, and because the king studied here, then they know that they are particularly invisible. I sometimes feel as if the people were once near-sighted or blind and simply walked the streets fearing for their lives that they could trip or confuse people for someone else.

And that's what I feel is the culture here in Leiden: a place where people behave as if they're near-sighted and fearing an accident.