Leiden, a True Student City

Leiden, with its 116,000 inhabitants, is a medium-sized city that provides an attractive living environment. The city is just 15 km from the North Sea coast, and is favourably located for easy access to such major cities as The Hague, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht.

Street scene
The presence of thousands of students and staff has a major impact on the street scene, cultural life and economic diversity. These are what make Leiden a true university city. There are many opportunities for students and staff to get together: during lectures, at the student associations or sports centre, or on the streets and in cafés.

University buildings
Leiden does not have a campus where all the university buildings and activities are concentrated. The University’s premises permeate the city.The historic city centre lives and breathes the University: the Academy Building – the oldest and most defining of the University’s premises – the Observatory and the Gravensteen all form an integral part of the city’s architecture. The University’s new buildings, such as the Faculty of Medicine’s new teaching and research complex, also play a part in the city’s architecture. Some of the historic buildings, such as Plexus Student Centre – a former workshop -, have been renovated. The Kamerlingh Onnes Laboratory, where Nobel Prize winner Heike Kamerlingh Onnes carried out his pioneering research, is now home to the Leiden Law School.

All these buildings are within walking distance of the Academy Building, the historic heart of the University. The entrance to the Academy Building also gives access to the centuries-old Hortus Botanicus, a centre for botanical research and a much-loved green oasis within the city centre.

Map showing locations of University premises

Leiden, museum city
No other city in the Netherlands has as many museums as Leiden. Major museums such as the National Museum of Antiquities, Naturalis and the National Museum of Ethnicity, but also smaller ones such as SieboldHuis, the Lakenhal and the Prentenkabinet, can all be found close to the city centre. Many of the museum collections originated in the University; without the University, Leiden’s museums would not have come into being.

Leiden, city of culture