Leiden University


The Netherlands' oldest university was a gift to Leiden from Willem the Silent in 1575 for withstanding two Spanish sieges in 1573 and 1574. The campus comprises an interesting mix of modern and antique buildings that are scattered around town.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Leiden attractions

1. Hortus Botanicus Leiden

0.08 MILES

Founded by the University of Leiden in 1590, this is one of Europe's oldest botanical gardens (the oldest was created in Padua, Italy, in 1545). The…

2. Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

0.14 MILES

Home to the Rijksmuseum's collection of Greek, Etruscan, Roman and Egyptian artefacts, this museum is best known for its Egyptian halls, which include the…

3. Gravensteen

0.18 MILES

The Gravensteen dates to the 13th century and was once a prison. Judges once watched executions from the gallery facing the plaza, which was known as…

4. Pieterskerk

0.19 MILES

Crowned by its huge steeple, this now deconsecrated church is often under restoration – a good thing, as it has been prone to collapse since it was built…

5. Latin School


Before it became a commercial building, the gabled Latin School, built in 1600, was graced by a pupil named Rembrandt from 1616 to 1620.

6. Young Rembrandt Studio

0.29 MILES

Leiden's most famous son is celebrated at this 17th-century house where he learned his craft between 1606 and 1630, studying in the studio of Jacob van…

7. Morspoort

0.32 MILES

One of two still-standing historic city gates (there were originally eight), the Morspoort was built in 1669 to a design by Willem van der Helm, who also…

8. Rijksmuseum Boerhaave

0.39 MILES

Named in honour of physician, botanist, chemist and University of Leiden teacher Herman Boerhaave (1668–1738), this impressive museum of science and…