The city of Leiden, also known as the City of Discoveries, has a lot to offer. Go on an adventure though the city with many Golden Age influences that have been maintained to this day. The picturesque city centre, with its old canals, city gates, bridges, windmills, castle, observatory, Hortus botanical gardens and two large Late Gothic churches, give Leiden its own special charm.
Leiden’s glory days started in 1575, when Leiden University was founded. It is the oldest university in the Netherlands and one of the leading universities in Europe. It is the home of many old masters, including the famous master painter Rembrandt van Rijn who was born in Leiden and went to Leiden University at the age of fourteen.
Something that stands out immediately while visiting Leiden is the water. Leiden is, after Amsterdam, the largest city in terms of the amount of water flowing inside its gates. Taking a boat trip through the canals of Leiden will give you an extraordinary experience while enjoying the city.
Leiden is the perfect city to discover by foot. Whether you prefer roaming the streets in the city centre and enjoying all the stores and bars or taking a longer walk all around the city. One of the many walking routes in Leiden is the Singelpromenade, a 7-kilometer walk that takes you along the canals of Leiden. Another walking route is the ‘Poem on the Walls’ walk. Leiden has more than 120 wall poems in 39 different languages all over the city and there are several routes that will take you to these poems.
As capital city of museums in the Netherlands, Leiden is home to thirteen museums, exhibiting anything from Dinosaur skeletons and old medical tools to classical antiquities and the history of the first Americans. The Boerhaave Museum was awarded European Museum of the Year in 2019. It takes you on a journey through five centuries of natural and medical sciences, focussing on the practice of these science in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands has more bikes than inhabitants, most people use their bike to get around. There are several places in Leiden where you can rent a bike. A bike is perfect to discover other parts of Leiden or to take a trip to the beach. In thirty minutes you can bike to Katwijk, where you can enjoy the beach.
Its location also makes Leiden a great place to take daytrips to Amsterdam, The Hague or Delft. Amsterdam, The Hague and Delft can be easily reached using public transportation: in ten to thirty minutes you can be in the city centre of all of these cities.