Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden Observatory

Public Outreach

The Astronomy & Society Group provides the focus for Leiden Observatory’s aim to engage the public with the wonders of the universe and share the scientific, technological, cultural and educational aspects of astronomy with society.

Download the Astronomy & Society Group's Projects Brochure 2021

The Oude Sterrewacht (Old Leiden Observatory)

From 1860 to 1974 Leiden Observatory operated from what is now called the Oude Sterrewacht or Old Observatory, located on the former ramparts of Leiden. The Old Observatory has been home to many world famous astronomers like Oort, Hertzsprung and De Sitter, who made discoveries and laid down theoretical frameworks that are still being used today. The Visitors Centre features a number of exhibitions about astronomy and is accessible through the adjacent Botanical Gardens. The Old Observatory offers tours of the building and telescopes by Leiden University astronomy students, and hosts open days, public talks and stargazing events throughout the year [Read more]

Universe Awareness

Universe Awareness (UNAWE) uses the beauty and grandeur of the Universe to inspire young children and unaweencourage them to develop an interest in science and technology. The programme also aims to introduce children to the idea of global citizenship at a crucial stage of their development – to show them that they are part of an international community. The resources are open to all children aged 4 to 10 years, especially those from underprivileged communities. Founded and coordinated by Leiden Observatory, UNAWE is currently active in 61 countries. [Read more]



spaceEU is an EU funded project that fosters a young, creative and inclusive European Space Community. spaceEU implements an exciting Space Outreach and Education programme to motivate young people and encourage them to choose space-related careers.  The project will also capture the interest of students towards education paths in the fields of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths). The perspective of space and the Universe will be used to inspire and broaden young people’s minds, develop a sense of European and global citizenship and build long-term partnerships between people from different cultural backgrounds and countries, inside and outside Europe. spaceEU will also lay the groundwork for the possible future establishment of a Knowledge Innovation Community (KIC) in the field of space.

Citizen Science Lab

In the Citizen Science Lab, researchers, citizens and societal organizations co-develop innovative research projects to gain new insights for science and society. The lab focuses on societally relevant problems that can be addressed only by involving a substantial fraction of society. During workshops, we gather various stakeholders, including scientific representatives, to develop innovative projects and to answer important societal questions The Lab builds on the leading citizen science, outreach and education expertise at Leiden University, which spearheaded the citizen science initiatives iSPEX and the LIGHT2015 Dark Sky Meter app.

European Projects

SpaceEU and Europlanet 2020 RI have received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreements nº  and nº 654208  respectively.


Leiden Observatory is also involved in various other education and outreach projects, such as Open Science Centre, IAU astroEDU, Europlanet and NOVA’s Mobile Planetarium project


Upcoming public events at the Old Observatory: www.oudesterrewacht.nl
Upcoming public events in the Netherlands: https://www.astronomie.nl/#!/actueel/agenda/
Astronomy news (in Dutch): www.astronomie.nl

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