City of Discoveries

Situated at what has traditionally been an important junction where waterways and roads intersect, stands a city that will enchant you: Leiden. The city is famous not only for its university, but for its almshouses, museums and glorious history. Rembrandt was born here, and the city inspired many other influential painters. Over the centuries, Leiden continued to attract scientists, and artists. The canals, the historical buildings, the charming narrow lanes, the treasuries of knowledge, culture and science: Leiden has them all for you to explore.

A student city with character

Leiden University has contributed to the city’s unique atmosphere for almost 450 years. This historical city became home to the first Dutch university in 1575, and many of the university buildings are still located in the picturesque city centre. The medieval centre of Leiden is full of students, student accommodation and university buildings. Enjoy the myriad of lovely restaurants and cafés, the venues for theatre, music and film, or the first-class museums. If you want some time off after your academic efforts, you could also take a boat trip on the canals, or spend some time in one of the city’s parks. And don’t forget the many trendy festivals and other cultural events that are organised in Leiden from January through December, such as the Relief of Leiden on 3 October. It’s the biggest event of the year!

Small-scale and central

Leiden is a winning combination of small and fun, yet big in character as a student city. Thanks to its compact layout it’s never more than a short bike ride from your accommodation to your faculty, and you’re more or less guaranteed to meet someone you know along the way. What’s more, it’s also centrally located between the Netherlands’ main cities. With a little effort, you can cycle to the beach in 30 minutes, while Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht can all be reached within 45 minutes by train. Our second location in The Hague is only a 10-minute train ride away as well!

What you need to know about… Leiden
13 Museums

Local and international institutions with connections to Leiden University:

  • Leiden University Medical Centre

  • Leiden Bio Science Park, the leading cluster for life science businesses in the Netherlands

  • International Institute for Asian Studies

  • The Netherlands Institute for the Near East

  • The Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies

  • National Museum of Ethnology

  • National Museum of Antiquities

  • Naturalis Biodiversity Centre

  • Netherlands Institute Morocco (NIMAR)

Must sees in Leiden