Leiden has a long history of culture and learning. The birthplace of Rembrandt is home to pretty courtyard gardens, hundreds of monuments, the oldest university in the Netherlands, 13 museums and a bustling city centre. Go boating along the picturesque canals or get lost while strolling through lovely lanes. There's a reason why Leiden is called the City of Discoveries.

Like a local
Strolling through the historical city

Strolling through the historical city

Aerial drone view of Leiden town cityscape from above

Leiden is filled with history and monumental buildings and is a great place to explore on foot. Stroll through the well-preserved historic centre and feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the 17th century. The young Rembrandt would still be able to find his way around – from the old Academy building where he studied, along the picturesque canals, and past city gates, bridges and mills, to the many small courtyard gardens. Get swept away by the beautiful tales of the city and get to know the history of Leiden.

The major impact Leiden had on Rembrandt's life can still be seen today. You can visit the Young Rembrandt Studio, the 17th-century house at Langebrug 89 where the young Rembrandt learned to paint, draw and etch from his teacher Jacob van Swanenburgh. You can even have Rembrandt draw a sketch of you at the Latijnse School. Every year around 15 July, Rembrandt's birthday, Leiden is transformed into a magical 17th-century city during the Leidse Rembrandt Dagen.

Leiden young Rembrandt school (De Latijnse School)
Naturalis Biodiversity Center Leiden

Leiden is also considered a paradise for culture lovers. With no fewer than 13 excellent museums, all within walking distance of each other and brimming with a wide range of fascinating exhibitions, there is plenty to discover in the world of art and culture. Meet T. rex Trix at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center. The Dutch National Museum of Antiquities houses archaeological treasures and offers insight into ancient civilisations. Museum De Lakenhal is the true municipal museum of Leiden and highlights the history of this city with beautiful artworks.

Finally, marvel at the many treasures of science. Leiden has always played an important role in medical science and continues to do so, with new discoveries being made every day at the Leiden Bio Science Park, for example. In Leiden, it began with the founding of the oldest university in the Netherlands, the medicinal gardens of the Hortus botanicus, the arrival of Professor Boerhaave and the anatomical theatre in the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave that was named after him. In other words, Leiden has so many fascinating stories that it's hard to know where to begin.

Rijksmuseum Boerhaaven anatomy
A charming, walkable city

A charming, walkable city

Fancy a visit? Use public transport! Leiden can be easily reached by public transport. From Leiden Central Station, the city centre is only a short 15-minute walk away. Visiting by bicycle? Leiden is very cycle-friendly and can be easily reached by bicycle. In the city centre, you can park your bicycle for free in the Waagstalling, which can be accessed from the Breestraat and Aalmarkt. This guarded bicycle storage area has room for 880 bicycles.

Leiden Centraal
Samuel de Zeehofje Leiden

In Leiden, everything is within walking distance and we highly recommend taking a stroll through the city! Go on one of the many city walks and discover the real Leiden. Will it be the Rembrandt Route or maybe the Courtyard Route? Here's a cool tip: follow the Courtyard Route and learn about the unique stories of the 35 courtyard gardens in Leiden.

If you are more interested in the scientific history of Leiden, the Science Route is just the one for you. Discover 28 places where scientific and historic discoveries were made. Leiden can also be admired from the water on one of the electric canal boats. Feeling active? You can rent a bicycle and use pedal power to explore the city.

Hidden gems
Something interesting on every corner

Something interesting on every corner

The HerenDoeza is a prime example of the typical Leiden 'urban village streets'. Shop in unique boutiques and feast on culinary delicacies in welcoming cafés and restaurants while admiring the picturesque buildings. The Doezastraat used to be a canal but is now a beautiful shopping street leading to the Van der Werffpark. This street used to be an important access road to the city centre.

Doezastraat Leiden
Doezastraat Leiden

Most visitors are locals, but there are also many people who come to this area specifically for its unusual shops. In the monumental building on the corner of Herenstraat and Doezastraat you'll find Grand Café de Vriend, which is known by many people from Leiden as ‘the living room of the HerenDoeza’. If you're up for a cultural surprise, you should check out Sijthoff Cultuur – where people and ideas come together.

Poetry lovers can wander around this city and be transported into the world of verse by international publications at Poetry Books and Index Books Leiden on Herenstraat. Give your feet some rest at Kamerlingh Parktuin & Café located on Doezastraat in the Van der Werffpark. Reading a good book while enjoying a cup of coffee, what could be better?

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