Leiden – Key to Discovery


Leiden, Key to Discovery

Everything that characterises Leiden’s Golden Age heritage survives to this day: the picturesque historic city centre still holds its landmarks from that time in the form of beautiful city mansions by age old canals. The Hooglandse Kerk and Pieterskerk were built even before that time and are surrounded by narrow medieval streets, 35 hidden courtyards and gables portraying the occupations of the original inhabitants. Here is where you will find many shops, galleries, antiques and book stores, fashion boutiques, restaurants and cafes. From higher up, De Burcht – dating from around 1000 AD – provides a spectacular view over the old town with more than over 2800 monument buildings.

City of Science

 With the oldest university of The Netherlands and Bio Science Park, Leiden is among the most prominent scientific knowledge centres in Europe. The university holds a global top ranking in law and languages, as well as in a broad range of medical, archaeological and physics research, appearing in the top 80 best universities of four internationally leading rankings. The high quality and outstanding level of innovation in its scientific research is one of Leiden’s great strengths. There is a wide range of research facilities available. Leiden is a preferred choice of many internationally renowned scientists for meetings and top-level research in a host of academic fields.

Credit: Kees Hummel

13 museums in Leiden

Credit: Mike Bink Fotografie

Leiden University acted as a magnet, attracting many great scientists to the city who often taught at the university. Great names like Albert Einstein, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, Willem de Sitter and Paul Ehrenfest, and prominent figures like physician Philipp Franz von Siebold and Herman Boerhaave made Leiden their home in its long history. The scientists’ passion for collecting items of scientific significance has contributed to the establishment of the many museums in Leiden. No other city in The Netherlands has so many renowned museums within walking distance of each other. A rich and surprising range of collections about nature, art, culture and science. Did you know Rijksmuseum Boerhaave was European Museum of the year 2019? And that Museum Naturalis was awarded with the same title in 2021? 

You can find all information about our museums by following this Link.

Young Rembrandt van Rijn

Rembrandt van Rijn was born in 1606, as the ninth child of a miller, in Leiden. Here, he saw the light and grew up in relative prosperity. During his young years in Leiden, he grew to become the great artist everyone knows today.

Young Rembrandt Studio

In the Young Rembrandt Studio, the 17th-century house at Langebrug 89 in Leiden, Rembrandt likely spent his younger years learning how to draw, paint and etch. An impressive seven-minute ‘video mapping’ projection introduces you to the young master painter and the most important key figures in his life.

Credit: Kees Hummel

Latin School

Rembrandt was seven years old when he went to the Latin School, which he attended from 1616 to 1620. Unfortunately, the beautiful building is closed to visitors. But you can still get your portrait sketched by Rembrandt van Rijn himself, because if you look in through the ground-floor window of the ‘Young Rembrandt School’ you will see the brush strokes appear on the canvas, as if by magic.

Pilgrims & The Mayflower

Did you know that the Pilgrim Fathers lived in
Leiden for twelve years before leaving for America? Seen as the founders of the
United States of America, the Pilgrim Fathers have around 25 million American
descendants today (including nine presidents, Barack Obama among them). The
story of the Pilgrim Fathers in Leiden and the great crossing to America is
both dramatic and fascinating. How did their coming affect the Native Nations?
Did they take anything from their Leiden period with them to America? You can
learn all about the history of the Pilgrims in Leiden.

Credit: Kees Hummel

City of Discoveries with a Region of Surprises

Credit: Kimberley Griffioen

Leiden is a true City of Discoveries. However, combining Leiden with a visit to the surrounding villages, colourful flower fields and the nearby North Sea coast can make for a pleasant surprise! Relaxing cycling routes, even more museums, a lot of nature such as the National Park Dunes of Holland, many waterways, rivers and lakes for a pleasant sail, surprising places to stop for a tasty bite to eat, the best beach restaurants or a tour past the country estates… Discover them all in our Region of Surprises.