Universiteit Leiden

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What are the values that Leiden University cherishes? What does the University stand for and what does it consider important?


As a prestigious European research university, Leiden University plays a foremost role in academic research and teaching. High-quality academic research and teaching are crucial to a safe, healthy, sustainable, prosperous and just world. The University is committed to developing, disseminating and applying academic knowledge and is a trusted figure in societal and political debates in the national and international arena.


  • Leiden University is an internationally operating research-driven university with a wide range of academic disciplines and degree programmes. It aims for excellence in all its research and teaching.
  • The University focuses its efforts on achieving the maximum impact from its research and teaching – academic, cultural, societal and economic. It does this in close collaboration with local, regional, national and international partners.
  • Based on a careful consideration of its disciplinary structure, Leiden University focuses on disciplinary and interdisciplinary research and teaching.
  • Leiden University trains students and PhD candidates for academic posts in academia and beyond. Its graduates are able to conduct a critical assessment of academic and societal problems and make considered choices when seeking solutions to these problems.
  • Leiden University aspires to create a close academic community of staff and students. Leiden alumni inform this community with their experience, expertise and involvement. Leiden University also works closely with its university partners: Delft University of Technology and Erasmus University Rotterdam, and at European level with its partners in the League of European Research Universities (LERU).

Bastion of Freedom

Leiden University attaches great value to freedom of spirit, thought and speech. This is expressed in our motto: Libertatis Praesidium – Bastion of Freedom. It has been part of the academic seal of the University since 1917.

Core values

  • The motto of Leiden University is: Libertatis Praesidium or Bastion of Freedom. A number of basic principles guide the University’s actions.
  • Throughout its history the University has always stood for freedom of spirit, thought and speech, and for freedom of research and teaching. It is a place of refuge where any question can be asked and answered in complete freedom.
  • Our academics are guided by the highest ambitions of quality and academic integrity. We aim to instil this same academic attitude in our students.
  • The University bears a responsibility to society. It regards this as a responsibility not only to present generations but also to future ones.
  • Our teaching is informed and inspired by academic research.
  • The academic community determines the content and structure of our teaching and research. Decisions on these issues are made at the lowest level possible: at the level of the departments, institutes and faculties wherever possible and only at University level if this has clear advantages or is considered necessary.
  • Leiden University stands for inclusiveness and diversity. It is open to everyone who wishes to study or work here and develop to their full potential. It is an open community in which anyone who wishes to contribute to its ambitions and all that it stands for can feel welcome and will enjoy equal opportunities.
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