Leiden student city
Leiden is a lively university city that’s brimming with history and boasts a student culture that’s tangible just about everywhere. Read on to discover what Leiden has to offer and get a foretaste of what you can expect.
A student city with character
Leiden University has contributed to the city’s unique atmosphere for over 400 years. The city’s historical centre is full of student associations, student accommodation and university buildings.
Vibrant city centre
Whether you are a member of a student association or not, Leiden’s vibrant city centre is the place to be if you want to relax or socialise. Enjoy a cool beer near the canal at Annie's bar, order a legendary Rapen'burger at Barrera or let your feet do the talking on the dance floor in Odessa.
Parties are, of course, an inherent part of being a student, but whatever you do make sure you also see the wealth of sights Leiden has to offer. Its ancient canals, intimate courtyards and fabulous landmarks, such as the Pieterskerk, the Academy Building and the Fortress make Leiden pure eye candy.
Ranging from artworks by Leiden's masters, such as Rembrandt van Rijn and Jan Steen, to a journey through the human body: Leiden’s museums certainly offer a varied menu. Or perhaps you’d prefer to take in a film, or an evening cabaret? Boasting several cinemas and theatres, Leiden’s lively cultural calendar means there will rarely be a dull moment.
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There is no shortage of events in Leiden. Don’t miss ‘Leidens Ontzet’, for example, a festive two-day event that celebrates the relief of the city during Spanish rule of the Netherlands. And naturally, as a student, you’ll definitely want to see the great performances given in student rooms as part of the ‘Stukafest’. Another event not to be missed is OWL, the international version of Leiden University’s festive introduction week.
Student associations of all shapes and sizes
Leiden is renowned for its many student associations. There are over 20 of them, ranging from sports, music and social clubs to cultural associations. Great for socialising, they’ll also give you access to a sizeable network, which will be very handy if you’re looking for accommodation or if you want to make new friends. You’ll be in good company too; even King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands was a member of a Leiden student association.
Are you the type of student who likes to keep fit? If so, you’ll feel at home in the completely renovated University Sports Centre. And with a sports club for almost every sport, such as Thor for hockey, Njord for rowing and LSVV for football, you’ll certainly be spoiled for choice in Leiden.
Small-scale and central
Leiden is a winning combination of small and fun, yet big in character as a student city. Thanks to its compact layout, it’s never more than a short bike ride from your accommodation to the University, and you’re more or less guaranteed to meet someone you know along the way. What’s more, it’s also centrally located among the Netherlands’ main cities. With a little effort, you can cycle to the beach in 30 minutes, while Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht can all be reached in 45 minutes by train.