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Visitor Center

Visit our exhibition JWST Universe and be immersed in the phenomenal images from this groundbreaking telescope.

JWST Universe - What is there to see?

Thanks to the brand new James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), we can look deeper into the universe than ever before. Until December 2023, the newest space telescope comes to the oldest observatory in a immersive exhibition. Surround yourself in brand-new photos of the space telescope and see how new frontiers are being pushed in astronomy.

The exhibition highlights JWST's four major research themes in addition to its cutting-edge technology:

  • The Early Universe
  • Galaxies through time
  • Life cycle of stars
  • Other worlds

We are also exhibiting a work of art, "The Reconstruction of Mystery" by Leandros Ntolas. The artwork is inspired by the JWST and is designed to make the viewer think about the mysteries of the universe.

Lots to do and to see

From Tuesday to Sunday we organize guided tours at fixed times. During the tour, an astronomy student takes you to one of the oldest telescopes in the Netherlands and explains more about the exhibition. 

The tour lasts approximately one hour.

Buy a ticket

When are the tours?

We have tours almost every day of the week at set times. The exact times are:

  • Tuesdays through Fridays:
    • 13:30-14:30
    • 15:00-16:00
  • Saturday and Sunday:
    • 11:30-12:30
    • 13:00-14:00
    • 14:30-15:30

In which language are the tours?

The tours are standard in Dutch unless (part of) the group does not speak Dutch, in which cast the tour will be in English. Should there be Dutch visitors in the group who do not understand English, the tour will be given partly in Dutch and partly in English. Our tour guides are very flexible on this so please let them know what you prefer.

Where does the tour start?

The tour starts at the square in front of the Old Observatory. Due to construction in the Sterrenwachtlaan, you need to take an alternative route to get to the building. Starting at the Rapenburg, follow the signs in the Kolfmakersteeg and the 5e Binnenvestgracht. 

Are you already visiting the Hortus Botanicus before the tour? Then you can reach the observatory through there. Walk towards the end of the Garden and make sure you arrive at the Old Observatory Visitor Center 10 minutes before the tour starts. The tour guide will pick people up there before going to the official starting point.

Want to come see the exhibition without a guided tour? You can!

In the weekend, you can visit us as part of a visit to the Hortus Botanicus. You can find us in the Hortus by walking all the way to the end of the garden. Click here for visitor information from the Hortus Botanicus Leiden

We are open on weekends from 11:00 to 16:00.


The exhibition JWST Universe is produced by the Old Observatory in collaboration with Science now and with support from Leiden University, NOVA, and SRON.

The JWST space telescope is an international collaboration between NASA, ESA, and CSA.

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