Universiteit Leiden

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Coronavirus updates

This page is updated regularly; the latest update is at the top.

Lockdown extended, online teaching until 12 February
The government has extended the lockdown in the Netherlands until 9 February, which means the measures implemented on 15 December will apply for longer. For the University this means the following:

All the teaching will be online up to and including 12 February. The only exceptions are small-scale practicals and the mentor and tutor groups that supervise and support students. These can still be face-to-face according to the guidelines of the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). We had hoped to be able to offer some face-to-face teaching in the second semester. As lecturers and degree programmes now once again have to adjust the prepared teaching to an online format, it may take a short while until you receive more information from your lecturer and/or the timetable information is available in Brightspace. We hope we can count on your understanding.

Study spaces will continue to be available via a reservation system. Please make sure to stick to the rules in the study spaces: do the Corona Check before you come, practise social distancing, wear a face mask when moving around and use the study space for the reserved time only. Think of others and only reserve a space if you have nowhere else to study. Leave these limited spaces for students who really need them. Read more

Everyone must work from home. Exceptions may only be made if you have first discussed this with your manager. Research that can only be conducted at a specific location may be conducted there.

PhD defences will take place in the Academy Building, but with only very few attendants. For the details see the protocol for online PhD ceremonies. In-person degree ceremonies have been cancelled up to and including 12 February.

For more details on the lockdown measures at the University, see the update from 15 December.

Do not travel until after March
In line with the government advice, students and staff may not travel abroad until after March. In exceptional circumstances, the University may grant permission for travel that is essential for work or study. To request permission, follow the procedure for students or staff.

The extension of these measures is disappointing once again: for students who wanted to get started in the new semester, but equally for lecturers who had worked so hard at the end of last year to make in-person teaching possible once again and now have to convert everything online. We understand that this can be frustrating, but these measures our how we as a university can help fight the virus. This demands a lot of our students and staff. All we can do is keep calm and carry on. We would like to thank everyone for their hard work.

BSA norm lowered to 40 study points

Due to the coronavirus situation, Leiden University has lowered the BSA norm from 45 to 40 study credits this year. In addition, study programmes are entitled to further adjust their BSA rules if they feel this is necessary. As always, exceptions can also be made for individual students who run into difficulties. Read more

From 22 January, the video conferencing app Zoom will be available for students and lecturers at Leiden University. This is in response to requests from lecturers and students. Lecturers will soon be able to choose from two systems for online lectures: Zoom and Kaltura Live Room, which was already in use last year and has recently been improved. Over the coming period, Zoom will be added to Brightspace, privacy and security measures will be implemented and training will be put in place. For more information see the announcement about Zoom.

With coronavirus continuing to spread, new measures were announced yesterday, and as of today the Netherlands is in lockdown. The extra measures also have consequences for the University; these are listed below. This is how higher education institutions can do their bit to stop the virus. The University buildings have been adapted to 1.5-meter distancing, so fortunately location-specific research, practicals and exams will be able to continue there. PhD defences and inaugural lecture can be held online. 

The following measures affect the University:

All measures apply from Wednesday 16 December to 17 January inclusive. With these measures we are following the agreements made within the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU).

Study and student life

  • Many face-to-face teaching activities will be cancelled for the period of 16 December until at least 17 January, and will be held online where possible. Practicals in small groups will be able to continue under the guidelines of the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), as will mentor and tutor sessions to provide students with support and guidance. Students will receive further information about this from their degree programme.
  • In-person exams will also continue during this period.
  • Study spaces will still be available for students who need them most. This means:
    • International students
    • Students with a disability
    • Students who are carers
    • Students who do not have the option to study at home or who prefer to study on campus for other (mental-health) reasons.
      To book a study space, please use the existing booking system.
  • Internships will be able to continue if the internship provider agrees.
  • Study associations will not be able to organise in-person activities in the above period. This also applies to educational activities.


  • The basic assumption will continue to be that staff will work from home. Exceptions will only be allowed in consultation with the staff member’s manager. The government has called on everyone to work from home, and it is in the spirit of this that we ask managers only to allow people to work at one of our locations in exceptional cases.
  • Research may be conducted at one of our locations if this research is location specific.
  • Lecturers and supporting staff who are needed for teaching activities are considered to be key workers. This means that, just like in the spring, their children can go to day-care, primary schools and after-school care. For more information about critical professions, see the government website. You can ask our PSSC Service Point to provide you with a letter, stating that you are a key worker.

Ceremonies and national holidays

  • No joint degree ceremonies may be held in this period. Students may collect their degree certificate, but without guests or an audience.
  • PhD defence ceremonies may continue, but online. Only the necessary staff (so no audience) may be present in the Academy Building, up to a maximum of ten people.
  • Inaugural lectures may continue online. The ceremonies will be recorded on location without an audience.
  • No in-person Christmas or New Year events may be organised.

Travel within and outside the Netherlands

  • Students and staff should use their own transport as much as possible to travel. If this is not possible – and if it is essential that they travel for exams, in-person teaching or research activities – they can then use public transport.
  • Business trips abroad are still not permitted until further notice, unless the Executive Board grants written permission in advance. For more information see this announcement.
  • All exchange programmes in the first and second semester have already been cancelled because of coronavirus. Only in very exceptional cases can the University grant people permission to go abroad for study or an internship. For more information see this announcement.

Buildings and catering facilities

  • Many University buildings will remain open for, among others, location-specific work and exams. Their opening hours will change during the Christmas holiday: for more information see the Christmas opening times for the University buildings and University Libraries.
  • The Hortus botanicus will be closed during the entire period (so until 19 January inclusive). For more information see the Hortus website.
  • Almost all University Sport Centre (USC) locations will be closed during this period. For more information see the USC website.
  • Catering points at the University will remain open, but only for take-away.

These measures will help us as a university do our bit to fight the virus. As at the start of the year, this asks a lot of our students and staff. For students it means even less contact with the University and one another, for lecturers it means providing even more online teaching and for many staff it means having their children with them while they try to work. And once again this will require much in the way of flexibility and improvisation from our researchers, PhD candidates and staff.

Regrettably, the measures also mean that our leisure options in the coming weeks will also be curtailed, and we will be celebrating the holidays with fewer people than we would have hoped. This will have an impact on everyone, in particular all the staff who have worked overtime this year to move their teaching online and the students who would have liked to return to their families or even home countries. A platitude it might be, but all we can do is keep calm and carry on. We would like to thank every single one of you for all your hard work.

Internet allowance

With effect from January 2021, all those who have an employment contract with Leiden University and who are having to work from home because of the coronavirus measures will receive an allowance towards the cost of internet use. The allowance is 25 euros net per month and will be paid with the monthly salary from January. Read more in this announcement.

Travel allowance

Due to the fact that many employees continue to work from home, the travel allowance will be different from January on. For more information, see the Dutch announcement. A full translation will be ready soon.

What shape will our teaching take in the second semester?
Much remains uncertain, but it is expected that the current measures will continue to apply in February. We are doing all we can to ensure that all our teaching can continue. In semester two it will also be largely online and partly on campus. Our timetabling will be based on the following:

  • we will maintain the quality of our teaching
  • lecturers and staff will help students as much as possible and will be aware of how important personal contact is to students.
  • we will keep an eye our lecturers' and other employees' workload. 

Within this framework, we will try to receive all students on campus at least once a week. Read more about this via teaching on campus and online.

In the press conference on Tuesday November 17, the government announced that the additional measures introduced two weeks ago will end on Thursday 19 November. This means that from Thursday on, the University Sports Centre (USC) will resume its group classes, and the Hortus botanicus will be open for visiting once more. Read more in the following announcements:

Teaching in the second semester
What shape will the teaching at Leiden University take in the second semester? On 11 November, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science issued guidelines on higher education in the second semester of this academic year, which begins in February 2021. For the time being, the teaching is expected to continue in its current form: hybrid, so on campus where possible and otherwise online. 

The BSA will be issued as usual. This is because the teaching has continued to be offered to first and second years, be it on campus or online. These students are therefore not expected to fall behind in their studies as a result of coronavirus. We will continue to monitor this closely and will take action if necessary. If problems do arise with specific degree programmes, exceptions can be made. If the University decides to make such an exception, the affected students will be informed by 1 February 2021.

The University is looking at how to give shape to its teaching in the second semester according to the new Ministry guidelines (in Dutch). You probably have questions about timetables, internships and electives. Given the changing circumstances, we will try in the coming weeks to provide as much clarity as possible. 

The government announced stricter measures on 3 November, which mean the Hortus botanicus will be closed for two weeks from 5 November. Events planned for this period, such as the Sunday Walk, have been cancelled. The Hortus shop will remain open, and the Hortus café will continue to open for takeway. Read more (currently only in Dutch).

From 5 November, there will also be no more group classes at the University Sports Centre for the duration of two weeks. Individual sports or sports in groups of two (at 1.5m distance) will remain possible. Swimming pools will also be closed. Read the details on the USC website.

All of the Leiden University Libraries (UBL) locations will remain open – UBL is an educational institution, which means it is exempt from the measures announced on 3 November. For more information on the UBL’s current suervices, see their website.

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