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“City of discoveries”

It’s only a 20-minute drive from Noordwijk to Leiden. The most remarkable hallmark of this historical city is the water. With 28 km of canals and 88 bridges, Leiden’s city centre can be viewed perfectly from the water. But the compact and conveniently arranged city centre can be discovered really well by walking too.
Leiden is also known for its ‘Leidse Hofjes’: 35 little gardens, idyllic little places in the city centre that exclude the noise of the city and where it looks as if time stood still. There’s a special city walk that takes you right to those gardens. This city walk is available at Visitor Centre Leiden: Stationsweg 41, 2312 AT Leiden. Phone: 071-516 60 00.


Leiden knows over 2800 monuments: from gardens to mills and from churches to city gates. Actually, Leiden’s entire city centre is one monumental centre. The distances within the canals are short, so a walk past the most remarkable monuments is absolutely worth it.  
No other city in the Netherlands has such amazing museums within walking distance of each other. They offer a surprising amount of nature, art and culture. It even has a lot to offer for children, too (see also Children and Noordwijk).

Museums in Leiden

In the Middle Ages, Leiden was known for its textile industry. Museum De Lakenhal possesses objects related to the history of Leiden and paintings done by local painters. Address: Oude Singel 28-32, 2312 RA Leiden. Phone: 071 – 5165360. More info: www.lakenhal.nl.

Het Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities) is the archaeological museum of the Netherlands. The emphasis lies on the Egyptians, the Romans and ancient Greeks. There’s a lot of attention for the Dutch archaeological history as well. Address: Rapenburg 28, 2311 EW Leiden. Phone: 071 – 5163163. More info: www.rmo.nl.

Het Rijksmuseum van Volkenkunde (Museum Volkenkunde) renovated and more beautiful than ever, this museum occupies itself with displaying people from around the world. Due to the interactive way of display, the museum is very suitable to visit with children. Address: Steenstraat 1, 2312 BS Leiden. Phone: 071 – 5168800. More info: www.volkenkunde.nl.

In the centre of Leiden, you’ll find the museum Boerhaave, national treasure of 400 years of development of natural and medical science. The crowd puller is the anatomical theatre that was used to give anatomical lessons. Address: Lange St Agnietenstraat 10, 2312 WC Leiden. Phone: 071 – 5214224. More info: www.museumboerhaave.nl.

Molenmuseum de Valk is a beautiful flourmill from 1743 that stands 29 metres tall and has 7 floors. Located on the walls of Leiden and completely safe to enter. Address: 2e Binnenvestgracht 1, 2312 BZ Leiden. Phone: 071 – 5165353. More info: www.molendevalk.leiden.nl.

Short history Leiden

This city originated as a town near a dike on the foot of an artificial hill near the confluence of the Old and New Rhine (around 860). The favourably located settlement received confirmation of the previously already granted privileges in 1266 and developed with its blooming textile industry into one of the largest cities of the district Holland. In the 17th century, the city flourished thanks to the impulse the fugitives from Flanders gave the textile industry. And around 1670, the population reached 70.000 people. During World War II, Leiden was hit hard by Allied bombings. Luckily, the historical centre was spared. Present-day Leiden profiles itself mainly as a centre of scientific knowledge and new technology. Besides this, tourism is playing an increasingly greater role in this historical fortified city.
The Key Town, referring to the city arms, houses the oldest university in the Netherlands.