The Netherlands

Leiden, City of Discoveries

Leiden is a safe and friendly city in the Netherlands with picturesque canals, several parks and many narrow, cobbled streets. The city, home to twelve national museums, is a culture lover’s dream. The historical centre is packed with bars, restaurants, shops and cinemas, and the Saturday market is an experience in itself. Throughout the year, the city is host to a large number of events, ranging from festivals for contemporary music and film to sport and cultural events.

Find your way around the city, along the coast and to the cosy bars. Leiden has a lot to offer you and the reverse is also true. So: enjoy your Summer School here at Leiden University in Leiden!

Excellent rail and air links

Leiden and The Hague are in the centre of the ‘Randstad’, the economic and metropolitan heart of the Netherlands. The public transport network is highly efficient. Leiden and The Hague can be reached from Amsterdam Airport within 15/30 minutes. From Leiden and the Hague cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht can be reached with a short train ride of approximately 40 minutes. And, given the Netherlands’ excellent rail and air links, you can explore the European continent, with cities such as Paris, London, Berlin and Brussels just a few hours away.

Student City

Leiden and it students are inextricably linked. Students contribute to the special and pleasant atmosphere in Leiden.


Leiden was given city rights in 1200 AD. Today, with more than 120,000 inhabitants, Leiden is a fairly large provincial city in the Netherlands. The city of Leiden is one large open-air museum, as it is the home of as many as 2,800 monuments. The best-known monuments include fortress De Burcht, the City Hall, the weighing building De Waag, the tower mill De Valk (The Falcon), the arch buildings the Morspoort and the Zijlpoort and of course the university buildings the Academy Building and the Gravensteen. Leiden has also a large number of historic churches worth visiting: the Pieterskerk was built almost 900 years ago and the Hooglandse Kerk church was built 700 years ago.

Discover Leiden by foot or by bike

Discover Leiden by foot or by bike. Walking around Leiden, the city's glorious history seems to come to life. Cycling is the ideal mode of transport for discovering Leiden and the region.

City of water

Many canals have given Leiden the reputation of a water city. After Amsterdam, Leiden is the city with the most canals; the city's historic centre has more than 28 kilometres of canals and waterways. To croos all these waterways, you obviously need bridges, and Leiden has no less than 88! Best of all is to "explore the city from the water":http://www.visitleiden.nl/en/see-do/experience/water-tourism during a boat tour or by renting a sloop, rowing boat or cano. Near to Leiden you can also go sailing on the lakes of De Kaag.


In Leiden there are still some historic windmills in the city centre. You even can visit one, as windmill De Valk is now open as a museum.

Dutch countryside

During Spring you can visit the fields of tulips in and around the Keukenhof, only half an hour away from Leiden Central Railway Station. Throughout the year you can view the typical Dutch landscape of grass fields with Dutch black and white cows. Also just half an hour from Leiden is the beach. Visit the coastal towns Katwijk or Noordwijk or go to the beach and harbour of The Hague, in Scheveningen.


Without a doubt, Rembrandt van Rijn is the most famous citizen Leiden has ever known. This Dutch painting artist spent his early years with his parents in a mill on the river Rhine in Leiden. During your stay you can view many of Rembrandts famous paintings in museums in for example Leiden, The Hague and Amsterdam.

City of museums

With as many as four National Museum and many other museums, Leiden is the capital of museums in the Netherlands. Leiden has something for everyone: dinosaur bones, paintings by Rembrandt, who was born in Leiden, an Egypt temple and treasures from Japan. All within walking of cycling distance of one another. The Leiden museums are offering a total experience. Pay a visit to the oldest botanical garden of Western-Europe, which is also closely linked to Leiden University: the Hortus Botanicus.


Classic, modern or arthouse. No matter your preference, Leiden has the perfect cinema for you. There are a couple of cinemas in the city centre you can choose from to view a movie of your choice.

Performing Arts

Leiden is a lively city that offers a wide variety of parties and festivals. But it also has plenty to choose from in music, dance and theatre entertainment. 

Restaurants & Café's

Many of Leiden’s restaurants and cafés are located in beautiful historic monuments, each with its own rich history. This is what gives the city its special ambience.


Nice little boutiques hidden in the narrow backstreets. Leiden's atmospheric setting has many unique shops, which makes it an excellent city for a shopping trip.


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