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Private Tours

In addition to the free walk-in tours, we offer private tours for groups. These guided tours go deeper into the history of the building, but also offer the opportunity to learn more about astronomy in general.

Note: we are following the university's guidelines. Due to this, it will no longer be mandatory to keep 1,5 meters distance in the Old Observatory. While moving through the building during the tour, we will ask you to wear a facemask. If you do wish to follow these guidelines, you are free to do so.

Within the walls of the Old Observatory there is a rich history. Although the building is now used for quite different purposes than when it was opened in 1860, the historical value of the building is immediately perceptible upon entry.

A unique experience for young and old alike

Take a group with you to the Old Observatory and let an astronomy student guide you through the building. Learn more about the telescopes, the history of the building and the research in Leiden from then and now.

If the skies are clear, you can look through the telescopes, the same telescopes that great scientists like Einstein, Lorentz, Oort and many others have done observations with!

Options and prices

Due to the limited size of the domes, only fifteen people can enter at the same time. For that reason, we assign one tour guide to every fifteen people of your group. The price per tour guide is fixed. You can choose between two options:

  • A normal tour of 1.5 hours for €90 incl. VAT per 15 people.
  • A shortened tour of 45 minutes for €65 incl. VAT per 15 people.

All guided tours are paid per invoice. When requesting the tour, you can fill in your financial details. You will then receive an invoice with the payment details at the end of the month in which the tour took place. It is not yet possible to pay for the guided tour at the observatory.

Route description

When requesting a tour you can indicate where you want to be picked up by the tour guide. Normally, groups are received at the main entrance of the Old Observatory. The address is Sterrenwachtlaan 11, which can be reached via the Kaiserstraat.

You can also combine your guided tour with a visit to the Hortus Botanicus. You will then have to buy a separate admission ticket at the entrance of the Hortus. This is located on Rapenburg 73. From the entrance of the Hortus it is about a ten-minute walk to the Old Observatory.


If you have any questions about the guided tours or if you have any problems filling in the registration form, please feel free to contact us.

  • We cannot guarantee in advance that a tour guide will be available at a desired time. In order to maximize the chance that the first proposed date is successful, we ask you to request a guided tour at least two weeks in advance.

  • The request for a guided tour is not a confirmation that it will take place. After receiving the application, we will start working to find a suitable tour guide for your group. Only when we have found a tour guide, you will receive a confirmation that the tour will take place.

  • This tour involves climbing a number of stairs. Lifts are not available for the domes. As a result, these tours are not suitable for people with severe disabilities. If you have mobility problems, ask about the possibilities.

  • Up to 15 people can join a tour guide. No exceptions can be made to this.

  • We cannot guarantee that it is possible to look through a telescope during a tour.

  • You may take photographs during a guided tour. It is not allowed to use flash or a tripod. If you want to photograph for commercial or journalistic purposes, please contact us.

  • We ask you to take other visitors into account and limit your phone use as much as possible.

  • Bringing food or drink in the exhibition space is not allowed.

  • Smoking is not permitted in the Old Observatory.

  • Pets are not allowed in the visitor centre. An assistance dog is allowed to go inside.

  • The Old Observatory Leiden has the right to refuse a guided tour for whatever reason.

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