Kabouterhuisje van Elmer (Elmer's Gnome House) – Leiden, Netherlands - Atlas Obscura

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Kabouterhuisje van Elmer (Elmer's Gnome House)

A tiny house showcases the busy life of a local gnome.  


The city of Leiden is home to many historical buildings and objects such as the old observatory, a floating Christmas market, and is home to Einstein’s Sink. One of its newest monuments is a very tiny one, the house of a Dutch Kabouter or gnome. 

The house appeared between the roots of a tree from 1833, initially as a small red door but eventually, a small front yard, a little garden, and even a special marker that denotes monumental buildings in the city were added. 

The unique creation was implemented during the summer of 2020. It’s unknown who built it or if it is one person, a group, or just random people maintaining it. The house seems to be in a constant state of flux. Things are moved, new plants appear, and sometimes a small garden gnome statue can be spotted near the house. The house is a popular topic on local social media, and many of these changes are shared by the community. Despite this, it is still a mystery who is behind the creation.

The agency in charge of monumental buildings in the city was amused by the house and its little monumental shield. They decided to honor the site and added it to the database of monumental buildings under the number “1024x,” canonizing it as a protected structure in Leiden. The house even became part of the 2021 open monument days, where it was featured as one of the highlighted monuments that people could visit that day.

Know Before You Go

The house is freely accessible, maybe you can even see the kabouter

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