Universiteit Leiden

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Books and films

Leiden University has made history with its many scientific discoveries; a history that is also illustrated in a variety of books and films.


The university’s rich history is recorded in the Groepsportret met Dame (Group portrait with Lady) books by Professor Emeritus of University History Willem Otterspeer. Per century, one can read about the founding and establishment of the university, its development, and its relation to the city and society. His Edele wijze lieve bijzondere book is a short and concise account of this history.

Four centuries of history (film)

The four-part Four Centuries of Freedom film also sheds light on the history of the university. Professor Emeritus of University History Willem Otterspeer shows the highlights of Leiden University’s history.

The films are inspired by the 440-year history of the University, written by Otterspeer: Good, gratifying and renowned. In the films, Otterspeer visits some of Leiden's special places, including the Academy Building, the University Library and the Boerhaave Museum.

Scaliger, Jan van Hout, Boerhaave, Thorbecke, Kamerlingh Onnes, Einstein, Huizinga, Cleveringa: the names of many famous scholars are featured in the films. What is their link with Leiden and what binds us as a University after all these years?

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