Amsterdam Sights


Leiden has 118,000 inhabitants and is home to the first university in Holland (1575). It's hortus botanicus, or botanical gardens, were started in 1578 and are still a prime attraction for the tourist. The town centre contains many buildings that are in use by the University of Leiden.

Leiden is a true museum town. Leiden has over 12 museums, 5 of which are national museums. Some are closely linked to the university.

Today Leiden forms an important part of Dutch history. The end of the Spanish siege in 1574 is celebrated on 3 October (Leidens ontzet) by an annual parade, a day off, a fair and eating the traditional food of herring and white bread and hutspot.


Rembrandt was born in Leiden in 1606. As a boy he attended Latin school and was enrolled at the University of Leiden. After a brief but important apprenticeship of 6 months with the famous painter Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam, Rembrandt opened a studio in Leiden in 1624 or 1625, which he shared with friend Jan Lievens. At the end of 1631, Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam, then rapidly expanding as the new business capital of the Netherlands, and began to practice as a professional portraitist for the first time, with great success.

The Pilgrims

Leiden is also known as the place where the Pilgrims lived for a time in the early 17th century before their departure to Massachusetts and New Amsterdam in the New World. Visit the Pilgrim museum to find out more about the Pilgrims and their interactions with the people of Leiden.

Tourist Information

VVV Tourist Office, Stationsweg 41, Leiden, +31 71 5166000 official web site of the Leiden Office of Tourism

In the VVV Leiden office you get to know everything about sights, accommodations, events and restaurants; in short about everything Leiden has to offer!

Besides tourist information you can buy city maps, travel guides, Stay-Okay membershipcard, gifts (Holland, Leiden and Rembrandt souvenirs), book city tours / walks or local concert tickets, and make hotel reservations.

Leiden is 40 km (25 mi) southwest of Amsterdam, and makes a fine day trip.


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recommended websites
Leiden Tourist

Museums in Leiden

a list of popular Amsterdam sights and attractions