Template:Infobox Dutch municipality 3 Leiden (in English also, but now rarely, Leyden) is a city and municipality in South Holland, The Netherlands. It forms one urban area with Oegstgeest, Leiderdorp and Voorschoten. It is located on the Old Rhine, close to the cities of The Hague and Haarlem.

Its geographical coordinates are Template:Coor dm (in decimals: 52.16N, 4.49E). RD coordinates (94, 464).

A university town since 1575, Leiden houses:

Missing image
View over the Old Rhine in Leiden


It is true that Leiden is an old town, but its claimed connection with Roman Lugdunum Batavorum is spurious; this Roman encampment would rather be the modern city of Katwijk. Leiden's medieval name was Leithen, and it was governed until 1420 by burgraves, the representatives of the courts of Holland. It received city rights in 1266.

Missing image
The Morspoort (the west gate of Leiden)

Leiden flourished in the 16th and 17th century. At the close of the 15th century the weaving establishments (mainly broadcloth) of Leiden were very important, and after the expulsion of the Spaniards Leiden cloth, Leiden baize and Leiden camlet were familiar terms. It played important role in the Eighty Years' War. Yearly on October 3 the end of the siege by the Spaniards in 1574 is still celebrated. Besieged from May until October, it was relieved by the cutting of the dikes, thus enabling ships to carry provisions to the inhabitants of the flooded town. As a reward for the heroic defence of the previous year, the University of Leiden was founded by William I of Orange in 1575. Tradition tells that the citizens were offered the choice between a university and a certain exemption from taxes. Leiden is also known as one of the places where some of the Pilgrim Fathers lived for a time in the early 17th century before their departure to the New World.

From the late 17th century onwards Leiden slumped, mainly because of decline of the cloth industries. In the beginning of the 19th century the baize manufacture was altogether given up, although industry remained central to Leiden economy. This decline is painted vividly by the fall in population. The population of Leiden which, it is estimated, reached 100,000 in 1640, had sunk to 30,000 between 1796 and 1811, and in 1904 was 56,044.

Rivers, canals and parks

The two branches of the Old Rhine which enter Leiden on the east unite in the centre of the town. The town is further intersected by numerous small and sombre canals with tree-bordered quays. On the south side of the town, the Hortus Botanicus and other gardens extend along the old Singel, or outer canal. The Van der Werff Park is named after the mayor Pieter Adriaanszoon van der Werff, who defended the town against the Spaniards in 1574. This open space was formed by the accidental explosion of a ship loaded with gunpowder in 1807 which destroyed hundreds of houses, including that of the Elsevier family of printers.

Buildings of interest

Because of the economic decline in 17th to early 20th century Leiden much of the 16th and 17th century town centre is still intact.


At the strategically important junction of the two arms of the Old Rhine stands the old castle De Burcht, a circular tower built on an earthen mound. The mound probably was a refuge against high water before a small wooden fortress was built on top of it in the 11th century. Of Leiden's old city gates only two are left, the Zijlpoort and the Morspoort and the both dating from the end of the 17th century. Apart from one small wachtower on the Singel nothing is left of the town's city walls. Another former fortification is the Gravensteen. Built as a fortress in the 13th century it has since served as house, library an prison. Presently it is one of the University's buildings.


Of the numerous churches Leiden counts the chief are the Hooglandsche Kerk, or the church of St Pancras, built in the 15th century, containing the monument of Pieter Adriaanszoon van der Werff, and the Pieterskerk (church of St Peter(1315) with monuments to Scaliger, Boerhaave and other famous scholars. From a historical perspective the Marekerk is interesting too. Arent van 's Gravesande designed the church in 1639. Other fine examples of his work in Leiden are De Lakenhal, in which the municipal museum is located, and the Bibliotheca Thysiana. The growing town needed another church and the Marekerk was the first church to be built in Leiden after the Reformation. It is an example of Dutch Classicism. In the drawings by Van 's Gravesande the pulpit is the centrepiece of the church. The pulpit is modelled after the one in the Nieuwe Kerk at Haarlem (designed by Jacob van Campen). The building was first used in 1650, and is still in use.

University buildings

Missing image
A view along the Witte Singel (White Moat) towards the 1860 Leiden Observatory building

The town centre contains many buildings that are in use by the University of Leiden. The Academy Building is housed in a former 16th century convent. Among the institutions connected with the university are the national institution for East Indian languages, ethnology and geography; the botanical gardens, founded in 1587; the observatory (1860); the museum of antiquities (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden); and the ethnographical museum, of which P. F. von Siebold's Japanese collections was the nucleus. The Bibliotheca Thysiana occupies an old Renaissance building of the year 1655. It is especially rich in legal works and vernacular chronicles. Noteworthy are also the many special collections at Leiden University Library among which those of the Society of Dutch Literature (1766) and the collection of casts and engravings. In recent years the university has built the Bio Science Park at the city's outskirts to accommodate the Science departments.

Other buildings

Some other interesting buildings are the town hall (Stadhuis), a 16th century building that was badly damaged by a fire in 1929); the Gemeenslandshuis van Rynland (1596, restored in 1878); the weigh house (Waag), built by Pieter Post ; the former court-house (Gerecht); a corn-grinding windmill, now home to a museum (Molen de Valk) (1743) the old gymnasium(Latijnse School) (1599) and the city carpenter's yard and wharf (Stadstimmerwerf) (1612), both built by Lieven de Key (c. 1560-1627).

Famous Leidenaren


External links


Museums and libraries

Public transport

  • Rail transport departure schedules (see also http:/www.ns.nl ):
    • Leiden Centraal (ledn): [2] (http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/bhftafel.exe/en?evaId=8400390)
    • Leiden Lammenschans (ldl): [3] (http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/bhftafel.exe/en?evaId=8400384)
    • De Vink (dvnk): [4] (http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/bhftafel.exe/en?evaId=8400188)
  • Connexxion Region West: [5] (http://www.connexxion.nl/website/uwregio.asp?action=goto_regio&regioid=34&id=35)
    • Bus stops and lines in Leiden: [6] (http://www.aidem-media.com/projects/conneXXion2/index.php?step=1&plaats=leiden&d%5Bd%5D=20&d%5Bm%5D=11&d%5By%5D=2003) (links to schedules by stop and line)
    • Bus lines with schedules by line in the region [7] (http://www.connexxion.nl/website/dienstregeling.asp?command=reisinfo_dienstregeling&overid=55&overidmem=54&regioid=34&id=35)
  • Tracks (http://www.sporenplan.nl/html_nl/sporenplan/ns/ns_normaal/gvc.html) on Train station Leiden Centraal
  • RijnGouweLijn (http://www.rijngouwelijn.nl/) Light rail project


  • map (http://images.gemeente-gids.net/kaarten/leiden_kaart_.gif)

Adjacent municipalities

Clockwise, with maps.

Map of South Holland and maps, basic data and flags of Leiden

Template:Province South Holland 4pca:Leiden da:Leiden de:Leiden (Stadt) fr:Leyde id:Leiden la:Lugdunum Batavorum li:Leie nl:Leiden pl:Lejda ro:Leiden sv:Leiden


  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (https://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Art)
    • Architecture (https://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Architecture)
    • Cultures (https://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Cultures)
    • Music (https://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Music)
    • Musical Instruments (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/List_of_musical_instruments)
  • Biographies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies)
  • Clipart (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Clipart)
  • Geography (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Geography)
    • Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
    • Maps (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Maps)
    • Flags (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Flags)
    • Continents (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Continents)
  • History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History)
    • Ancient Civilizations (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Ancient_Civilizations)
    • Industrial Revolution (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Industrial_Revolution)
    • Middle Ages (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Middle_Ages)
    • Prehistory (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Prehistory)
    • Renaissance (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Renaissance)
    • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
    • United States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/United_States)
    • Wars (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Wars)
    • World History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History_of_the_world)
  • Human Body (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Human_Body)
  • Mathematics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Mathematics)
  • Reference (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Reference)
  • Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Science)
    • Animals (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Animals)
    • Aviation (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Aviation)
    • Dinosaurs (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Dinosaurs)
    • Earth (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Earth)
    • Inventions (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Inventions)
    • Physical Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Physical_Science)
    • Plants (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Plants)
    • Scientists (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Scientists)
  • Social Studies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Social_Studies)
    • Anthropology (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Anthropology)
    • Economics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Economics)
    • Government (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Government)
    • Religion (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Religion)
    • Holidays (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Holidays)
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Solar_System)
    • Planets (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Planets)
  • Sports (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Sports)
  • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
  • Weather (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Weather)
  • US States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/US_States)


  • Home Page (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php)
  • Contact Us (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Contactus)

  • Clip Art (http://classroomclipart.com)
Personal tools