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Universiteit Leiden / Leiden University

Leiden University is one of Europe's foremost research universities. Founded in 1575, it is the oldest university in the Netherlands.

Leiden University is the oldest university in the Netherlands. It was founded in February 1575, as a gift from William of Orange to the citizens of Leiden after they had withstood a long siege by the Spanish.  

Leiden University was the first university in the Netherlands to practise freedom of belief and religion, as reflected in the university's motto, Praesidium Libertatis, Bastion of Liberty. 

Leiden is a typical university city. University premises are scattered throughout the city, and the students who live and study in Leiden give the city its relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere.



About the 444 celebrations


Get to know our world


We cherish our place in the very heart of Leiden and The Hague - we've been in Leiden for 444 years and in The Hague for almost 20 years now.  Given this long history, we want to celebrate this special year with the residents of these two fantastic cities. So, we're coming to you. We're inviting you to celebrate with us; it's our birthday so it's our treat. We're going to be opening doors and showing you in surprising ways that our research and teaching matter, and what they mean for you.  


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