The keys are a symbol of Leiden and are found everywhere. As a first time visitor I found them odd. As we talked to different people we were told that these are the keys of Saint Peter. Like the coats of arms in Ghana that talks about the belief of the people and acts as a cultural symbol, the keys of Saint Peter have become a symbol that people identify themselves with. Saint Peter was the Patron Saint of the town, and the visibility of the keys, in public and community spaces, shows the symbolic importance of these key is to the people of Leiden as an intangible and tangible heritage even though fewer people are religious in present times.
It is almost like the phrase and symbol of the Keys of Heaven continues to be a living memory only through word and its presence on cobbles, flags, buidling and more places.
Credits / copyrights
Photo Credit: Fidelia Ametewee