Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society


LUCIS is an interfaculty knowledge centre offering a multidisciplinary and comparative view on Islam and Muslim societies.

A full and nuanced understanding of Islam and Muslim societies is essential to navigate today’s complex globalised world. Drawing upon Leiden University’s long tradition and unparalleled resources in Islamic studies, LUCIS is the Netherlands’ premier platform for advancing that understanding.

Aims of LUCIS

  • to strengthen research on Islam and Muslim societies, in the broadest sense, at Leiden University;
  • to enhance cooperation between Leiden scholars working on Islam and Muslim societies;
  • to increase national and international visibility of Leiden University’s expertise in the field of the study of Islam and Muslim societies.


Leiden University has a long tradition in the study of Islam as a religion and a cultural practice in its many historical manifestations across the world. Our expertise in the languages, cultures, religions, legal systems and histories of Muslim societies provides a uniquely fruitful platform from which to understand Islam as a dynamic, global phenomenon and as reflective of its local context. 


Leiden is home to one of the largest teaching and research programmes in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies in Europe with specialists in the languages, legal systems, religions, histories, and cultures of Muslim societies. 

The university’s historical leadership in the field of Islamic studies has resulted in exceptional scholarly resources, including extensive and library holdings, with its world-renowned Oriental manuscripts collection, as well as specialty expertise in each of the regions in which Islam plays a pivotal role, from the Arabian Peninsula and the Maghreb, to Europe and Southeast Asia. Distinguishing features of Leiden’s broad expertise and rich resources are:

• global and comparative perspectives
• deep knowledge of regional and local diversity
• a thorough knowledge of relevant languages
• a deep understanding of Islamic theology
• a keen eye for historical depth
• a multidisciplinary approach.

Our activities

You will find much to stimulate and challenge you in our varied programme, from scholarly lectures, conferences, and expert meetings to cultural and public events. At the Leiden Islam Blog you can read informed responses to current affairs related to Islam and Muslim societies as well as contributions about current Islamic studies-related research.

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