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?

Our promise

We will always be relevant, now and in the future. Our pioneering research and teaching equip new generations to make the difference in a global society. We are driven by the desire to know, understand, interpret and create. We work together to answer the questions of today, and keep an eye to the questions of tomorrow. We do so by optimally employing the diversity of our academic disciplines, through activities that both deepen and broaden our knowledge. We create knowledge and value in constant connection with one another and our environment. We see everyone – staff members and students – as an equally valuable member of our community. We cherish our diversity, are aware of what unites us, respect one another and our different roles, and work closely together. We are a reliable authority in societal and political debates.

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.

Our strong characteristics

Together, the seven characteristics below define the identity of Leiden University.

  1. Pioneering research and teaching based on a wide diversity of academic disciplines
  2. Deep-rooted academic freedom
  3. Intrinsic international orientation
  4. Open, active and engaged University community
  5. University in two cities
  6. Excellent research facilities and renowned collections
  7. Strong and intricate knowledge infrastructure

Our core values

All members of our university community endorse our four core values: Connecting, Innovative, Responsible and Free. These are derived from our motto Praesidium Libertatis (bastion of freedom) and from our Leiden academic identity and culture.


Being part of a greater whole. Being successful together. Listening: to one another and to our society. Actively collaborating and contributing.


Searching for new knowledge and understanding. Improving what could be better. Extending boundaries. Curious about one another and the unknown.


For promoting an inclusive community. For integrity in academic practice. For what we say and do, and how we interact with one another.


Independently questioning. Offering scope for different perspectives and ideas, for open discussion, for curiosity-driven research.

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