Travel to Leiden

Leiden is a city in the Netherlands ideally situated between The Hague and Amsterdam and only 12 kilometres away from the Sea shore.

Leiden is well-connected by train, car and plane. Schiphol international Airport has direct connections to more than 300 locations throughout the world, and is just a 15-minute train journey from Leiden. The intercity train runs six times per hour. The journey to Leiden is quicker than the journey to Amsterdam, and travellers arrive right in the centre of the city, within walking distance of hotels and conference or meeting locations.

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, 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 provides a spectacular view over the old town.          

With its university 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.

Must see in the city!

The Courtyards of Leiden

Leiden has no fewer than 35 courtyards. Anyone unsuspectingly opening a door between two houses can suddenly find themselves standing in a beautiful historic courtyard! Visit them all with a courtyard walking tour map available at VVV Tourist Office.

Young Rembrandt

Rembrandt van Rijn was born in 1606, the ninth child of a miller in Leiden. Here he saw the light and grew up in relative prosperity. In the seventeenth century he grew to become a great artist.

Young Rembrandt Studio

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


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.

Latin School
Leiden from the water

The historic city centre is home to no fewer than 28 kilometres of canals. To cross all these canals, you need bridges, and the city centre alone has no fewer than 88 bridges! Leiden is fantastic when experienced from the water.

The City of Leiden and its surroundings

Leiden, canal
Burcht Leiden (Castle of Leiden)

Leiden Castle is one of the oldest surviving examples of a castle in the Netherlands. This beautiful place is a must see when visiting Leiden. When you have walked the many steps, a beautiful view of the city awaits you.

Stadhuis De Burcht Vroom en Dreesmann  luchtfoto

The Pieterskerk has been the central touchstone of Leiden for almost 900 years. For many Americans, Leiden – and especially the Pieterskerk – are inseparable from the Pilgrims, who played an important role in the early days of the colonization of North America. Some of the Pilgrims settled in Leiden in 1609 to escape religious persecution in England.

Pieterskerk 2
Hortus botanicus Leiden

The Hortus botanicus Leiden is the oldest botanical gardens still existing in the Netherlands and was founded in 1590 on Rapenburg in Leiden.

Hortus botanicus

The City of Leiden and its Surrounding


You have probably now discovered that Leiden is a true City of Discoveries. But combining Leiden with a visit to the surrounding villages and the nearby coast also makes for a pleasant surprise! Relaxing cycling routes, great places to stop for a tasty bite to eat, the best beach restaurants or a tour of the country estates… discover them all in our Region of Surprises.