Universiteit Leiden

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Two cities: Leiden and The Hague

Since the late 1990s Leiden University has been located in two cities: Leiden and The Hague. Leiden is where the University was founded and still forms its heart, with six of the seven faculties being housed there. The faculty of Governance and Global Affairs is located in The Hague and most of the faculties are also active in The Hague. The Hague, the International City of Peace and Justice, reflects the themes that are relevant to this hub of government and international diplomacy.

Bastion of freedom 

Leiden University is the Netherlands’ first university. Willem of Orange donated the Lugduno Batava Academy to Leiden in 1575, supposedly in recognition of the city’s courageous resistance during the Siege of Leiden by the Spanish. Our motto is Praesidium Libertatis, Bastion of Freedom. More recently, in 1940, Professor Cleveringa defended freedom of speech, with his public protest on behalf of his Jewish colleagues who were under threat of dismissal. Leiden University commemorates his courageous stand every year with the Cleveringa lecture and readings. The concept of freedom still unites us today. 


Leiden, a historical city with 123,000 inhabitants, became home to the first Dutch university in 1575 and many of the University buildings are still located in its picturesque city centre. It is a lively, compact and safe city - attributes that are much appreciated by national and international students alike.

Time out
There are plenty of diversions if you want to take some time off from studying. You could, for example, take a boat trip on one of the city’s many canals, or just relax in one of its parks. The North Sea coast, with its sandy beaches, is also very close. And, of course, there are the countless popular festivals and cultural events that are organised in Leiden throughout the year.

More information about Leiden student city

The Hague 

The Hague is a cosmopolitan city with around 500,000 inhabitants, drawn from over 100 nationalities. Renowned as the International City of Peace and Justice, the city hosts some 160 international organisations and NGOs, including the International Court of Justice and several UN bodies. Furthermore, as the seat of the Dutch government, The Hague is steeped in history, which can still be savoured today on its streets and squares near the Houses of Parliament and many other historical buildings.

The International City of Peace and Justice 
The education and research activities offered by Leiden University in The Hague are centred around four clusters themed on: International Law; Peace and Security; Politics and Public Administration; Urban Issues; and Health and Care.

Much of our scientific education and research in The Hague directly reflects the work of the countless organisations and institutions in the city. These include the Dutch Parliament and ministries, national and international courts, European institutions, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, embassies, and many diplomatic and other legal and social institutions. The close proximity of these institutions and organisations is of substantial added value to the University and its scientists and students, as well as to these institutions and organisations themselves.

Time out
With its many parks and beaches within cycling distance, The Hague is also a relaxed city where you will enjoy studying and living. It boasts an excellent art house cinema, several theatres and venues for both popular and classical music, and many wonderful museums, including the famous Mauritshuis. All this, and more besides, make The Hague a great city in which to live, work and study.

More information about housing, studying, working and living in The Hague.

More information about going out, festivals and all other activities in The Hague. 

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