19 Best Things to do in Leiden, Netherlands

There are quite a lot of stunning cities within the Netherlands, however Leiden is one that you simply shouldn’t miss. A outstanding metropolis that’s recognized for its main position in Dutch historical past, Leiden nonetheless has many constructions and monuments from its prime.

The must-visit locations and issues to do in Leiden are limitless: windmills, museums, church buildings, markets, and canals make up the highest issues to see whereas right here.

Leiden, Netherlands is a historic college metropolis with loads to supply vacationers and residents alike.

Sunset at Leiden

The metropolis has loads of historical past underpinned by Leiden University which is the oldest college within the Netherlands. The college began the botanical backyard, which can also be the oldest botanical backyard within the Netherlands.

The historical past is huge right here with loads of attention-grabbing museums and well-known landmarks. I took a day trip from Amsterdam and as I used to be leaving, I noticed how a lot there’s to do on this wonderful college metropolis. I ought to have undoubtedly turned it right into a weekend getaway!

Fun & Best Things to do in Leiden, Netherlands

Watch our YouTube video of Spending a day in Leiden, Netherlands from Amsterdam for a visible information.


Leiden is a quaint little metropolis with quite a lot of appeal. Here are the highest issues you are able to do while you go to Leiden:

1. Visit the outdated metropolis middle and admire the gorgeous structure

Leiden Architecture and Canal

The outdated metropolis middle of Leiden is a good place to begin exploring. This space is filled with historic buildings and slender streets to wander.

There is a tremendous Saturday market within the coronary heart of the outdated metropolis middle that may be an effective way to take pleasure in Dutch delicacies and seize a present to take house out of your journey and guided walking tour.

Be positive to go to the Pieterskerk, a fifteenth Century church with a ravishing inside, and the Stadhuis, the previous metropolis corridor which now homes a museum. For a unique perspective of the town, take a cruise or bike ride via the canals.

But we’ll get into all of those later…

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2. Get educated on the National Museum of Ethnology

National Museum of Ethnology Building

The National Museum of Ethnology (Museum Volkenkunde) is positioned within the Museumstraat, one in every of Leiden’s most well-known streets.

It’s a simple location to search out because it’s proper subsequent to Leiden Centraal Station (Leiden Central Station), only a block down from the Markt, and between two canals that minimize via Leiden. The National Museum of Ethnology has rotating displays that target totally different international locations from world wide and their cultures.

Open every day from 10 am till 4 pm, this museum is housed in a seventeenth Century constructing that was as soon as house to Willem van der Hoeven – one in every of Holland’s most profitable businessmen throughout his time with quite a few companies together with banking, transport, and even mining diamonds.

When you’re visiting Leiden, make sure you add the National Museum of Ethnology to your listing of must-sees and get an entry ticket upfront.

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3. Go boating on the Leiden Canals

Leiden Canal and Scenery

Leiden has an extended and well-developed canal system and has been round for hundreds of years in lots of Dutch cities and cities. There is a ravishing and fantastic facet to the Amsterdam canal system, however Leiden’s canals are not any exception.

Approximately one river runs via the outer wall of the town and several other water routes hyperlink with them for a fascinating community to go to. Particular scenic parts of those canals are positioned close to Van der Werfpark and Botanical Garden, Ankerpark.

In the occasion you go to Leiden it is very important discover the canal to achieve extra perception into this historic city’s heritage.

There are many locations you’ll be able to go boating on the canals. Renting a ship or taking a canal cruise is a superb option to expertise the town of Leiden. You will be capable of see the town and its pure environment from a unique viewpoint, which is one thing that you simply received’t wish to miss out on whilst you’re right here.

Boating alongside the canals is an effective way to spend a day or night, particularly if you may get out on the water throughout sundown or dawn for some really beautiful views.

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4. Visit The Hague (only a brief prepare journey away from Leiden!)

The Hague Skyline

The Hague is house to the Dutch authorities in addition to the International Court of Justice. You may go to Mauritshuis, an art museum with a group of work from the Dutch Golden Age.

Or discover Hoge Veluwe National Park, one of many largest nationwide parks within the Netherlands. And make sure you attempt among the scrumptious meals the Netherlands has to supply, together with stroopwafels, Dutch pancakes, and herring.

If you’re in search of a spot to remain within the metropolis there are various best Hague hotels or to select from.

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5. Sample some scrumptious Dutch meals at one of many native eating places

Leiden Scenery Restaurant Seats

If you’re within the temper for some Dutch food, there are two nice eating places in Leiden to select from. Artikel 461 Verboden Toegang is a standard Dutch restaurant that gives all kinds of dishes, from Dutch classics like break up pea soup to extra trendy seafood.

Het Pakhuis is one other nice possibility for Dutch delicacies, providing a menu that adjustments every day based mostly on what’s contemporary and in season.

No matter what you’re within the temper for, Leiden has an amazing restaurant to fit your wants.

Leiden Restaurants by the Canal

Among the nice selections accessible, there are tons of eateries with al fresco eating in all sizes and styles lining the canals all through the city. This offers a merely beautiful and quintessentially Dutch tableau to take pleasure in a fast chunk or a drink.

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6. Learn about Ancient History on the National Museum of Antiquities

The National Museum of Antiquities (The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden) is a must-visit for anybody fascinated about archaeology and historic historical past.

Built in 1818, this museum homes an intensive assortment of artifacts from Egypt, spanning from prehistory to the Roman interval. Highlights of the gathering embrace sculptures, vintage vases, and small objects.

In addition, the courtyard of the museum homes the Nubian temple of Taffah, which was given to the nation by President Sadat in 1979. The National Museum of Antiquities offers guided tours and can also be house to cafés and museums.

Families can be taught concerning the totally different organs within the human physique, the way to make a medieval well being package, and the evolution of medical science. Travelers may find out about navigation and astronomy, and see the biggest calculator on the earth.

This museum is a good place to be taught concerning the historical past of science and medication, and have quite a lot of enjoyable too.

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7. Visit the fascinating Pieterskerk and Churchyard Museum

Pietersker Scenery

Pieterskerk, or Saint Peter’s Church, is the oldest church in Leiden, Netherlands. The distinctive constructing is positioned at Pieterskerk’s entrance and dates again to the 1600s.

The church took over 150 years to assemble and options stone and brick structure with many arched home windows. Pieterserk’s inside wall is adorned with a number of small buildings that encompass its semicircular again.

This makes for surprisingly uncommon shows. You can enter the churchyard museum to discover the inside of Pieterskerk and see the decorative decorations, massive opulent organs, and beautiful vaulted ceilings.

The Churchyard Museum has over 30,000 objects together with furnishings and silverware from the sixteenth to twentieth Century Netherlands.

If you’re fascinated about historical past, structure, or the humanities, Pieterskerk and Churchyard Museum are nice places to visit while in Leiden. If you’re in search of a spot to remain you could guide inns on

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8. Spend a day at Keukenhof; the biggest flower backyard in Europe

Flowers at Keukenhof Gardens

A go to to Keukenhof ought to undoubtedly be in your listing of issues to do when in Leiden. The park is just open for just a few weeks annually, so when you’re fortunate sufficient to be visiting throughout that point, be sure that to benefit from it!

With over 7 million bulbs planted annually, Keukenhof is a colourful explosion of tulips, daffodils, and different flowers. It’s among the finest gardens in Europe by an extended shot.

In addition to the flowers, Keukenhof additionally has a number of ponds and gardens to discover. Even when you’re not an enormous nature lover, Keukenhof is certainly price a go to – it’s really a sight to behold on a garden tour.

And if you’re a nature lover, you’ll be in heaven. Take a day journey from Leiden to Keukenhof and revel in all that this stunning park has to supply.

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9. Get your Instagram on on the Molen De Valk Windmill

Molen De Valk Windmill and Canal

Molen De Valk Windmill is a Dutch windmill positioned in Leiden. This working mill has been restored to working order and is a popular tourist attraction.

There is the Molenmuseum de Valk on-site; a small museum the place you’ll be able to be taught concerning the significance of those windmills in your complete nation of the Netherlands.

De Valk Windmill is a Dutch nationwide image, so it’s no surprise that De Valk Windmill ranks as one of many high attractions in Leiden.

You can’t miss it because it’s proper off the principle avenue from the prepare station alongside a canal. It’s a picturesque scene on a summer time day.

There is a public park subsequent to the windmill as nicely, which is likely one of the higher free issues to do in Leiden this weekend as you’ll be able to sit and watch boaters, a windmill and make a picnic for your self to take pleasure in these summer time months in fashion.

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10. Explore the spectacular Burcht van Leiden

Burcht van Leiden is a medieval fortress positioned within the metropolis of Leiden, Netherlands. It was constructed within the eleventh Century, making it one of many oldest buildings in Leiden. In addition to its age and historic significance, de Burcht additionally gives some nice views of the town from its location on the Oude Rijn river.

Visitors can stroll across the battlements, take footage, and benefit from the panoramic views from this distinctive vantage level.

Burcht van Leiden Overview Scenery

Burcht van Leiden is a good place to be taught concerning the historical past of Leiden and get a style of life in medieval instances. Whether you’re a historical past buff or simply in search of an amazing view, Burcht van Leiden is certainly price a go to.

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11. Experience the Naturalis Biodiversity Center (Natural History Museum)

If you’re within the Netherlands and in search of an interesting day journey, take into account visiting the Naturalis Biodiversity Centerin Leiden.

This museum is likely one of the oldest of its type within the nation, and it homes a formidable assortment of over three million objects. Among these are fossils, zoological specimens, and minerals.

The Naturalis Biodiversity Center of Leiden first opened its doorways to the general public in 1874, making it one in every of Europe’s oldest such museums. So when you’re fascinated about historical past or science (or each), make sure you add this venerable attraction to your listing!

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12. Get artsy at Museum De Lakenhal

The Museum De Lakenhal is likely one of the oldest museums in The Netherlands. It was initially constructed as a material corridor in 1640 and has been an vital a part of Leiden’s historical past ever since.

The museum hosts a group of works of Dutch artists from the sixteenth and seventeenth Centuries, together with Jan van Goyen, Rembrandt, and Jan Steen amongst others.

The museum additionally homes some spectacular displays of utilized arts and ornamental arts in museums. Other notable exhibitions embrace the not too long ago renovated inspection rooms wherein material was examined and numerous non secular artifacts.

In addition to displays on modern architecture, this museum additionally has a way of house that mixes artwork by among the most recognizable artists of the golden age similar to Rembrandt and his descendants.

You will get works from most of Leiden’s well-known artists together with Rembrandt and his descendants.

I notably preferred studying about Leiden’s historical past via artwork that mirrored the town’s most notable occasions like The Siege Of Leiden in the course of the Eighty Years War which immortalized this momentous occasion with work so future generations might be taught extra about it.

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13. Explore the peaceable Hortus Botanicus Leiden (Botanical Gardens of Leiden)

Hortus Botanicus Leiden is a botanical backyard within the Netherlands that’s good for many who love flowers and crops. The Hortus Botanicus was based in 1590 and is likely one of the oldest botanical gardens on the earth.

The Hortus Botanicus is open from April to November, so if you’re planning your go to in the course of the summertime, a stroll within the botanical gardens is certain to raise your spirits.

The Hortus Botanicus can also be an amazing place for college kids of vegetation, as there are over 6,000 species of crops that may be discovered within the Hortus Botanicus. There can also be a library on web site that comprises over 30,000 books about crops, making it the right place to be taught concerning the plant lifetime of Leiden.

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14. Learn extra concerning the artist’s origins on the Young Rembrandt Studio

Young Rembrandt Studio Building

If you’re fascinated about studying extra about Rembrandt’s life and work, the Young Rembrandt Studio at Langebrug 89 is a good place to begin. Here you’ll be able to watch an informative video concerning the artist’s life and work, and see a few of his unique work up shut.

You may decide up a duplicate of the Leiden Discoverers Guidebook, which features a map of Rembrandt’s journey via Leiden and details about the entire main websites alongside the way in which.

And when you’re actually trying to get immersed within the expertise, obtain the free app which makes use of augmented actuality to point out you the way to navigate this beautiful city and discover the entire greatest locations to go to.

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15. Visit Stadhuis (Town Hall) and the Dutch War Graves Foundation

Leiden’s Stadhuis is a ravishing constructing that dates again to the 14th Century. It’s additionally house to the Dutch War Graves Foundation, which is a nonprofit group that helps the households of Dutch troopers who died throughout World War II by sustaining their gravesites and paying respect to their reminiscence.

The Stadhuis is open to guests on daily basis besides Mondays, with free admission all day on Sundays. If you’re fascinated about studying extra about Leiden’s historical past or visiting the graves of fallen troopers, then make sure you add the Stadhuis to your listing of locations to go to.

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16. Admire De Zijlpoort

De Zijlpoort is essentially the most spectacular remaining instance of a Leiden-style gatehouse. It is outstanding within the middle of the city close to the canal de Haven, and its design is classical. The gatehouse encompasses a large stone archway and a big tower surrounded by clocks.

Traditionally the constructing has been used for poetry conferences, faculty, and storage. De Zijlpoort is actually an excellent instance of Leiden-style structure and is certainly price a go to while you’re on the town.

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17. Take some snaps of the Molen De Put

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Windmills are in every single place in Holland so you’ll be able to’t miss the second of Leiden’s well-known windmills, Mollen De Put. This historical landmark is located close to Morspoort Gate providing spectacular images.

The location is inspiring – simply off the canals and conspicuously separate from different buildings.

Molen De Put was constructed originally of the seventeenth Century and used for milling corn. It’s a formidable monument that you could see while you go to Leiden.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Amsterdam, Netherlands

18. Take a drive to Duivenvoorde Castle in Voorschoten

Duivenvoorde Castle is a shocking instance of Dutch structure that has been privately managed because the thirteenth Century. The citadel will get its identify from its founders, and it stays an attention-grabbing home to discover.

A spotlight of the museum is a group of artwork and sculptures containing historic Roman stones inscribed in Latin that have been used for adorning the entrance of the museum.

Duivenvoorde Castle is a good place to be taught concerning the historical past of Dutch castles and to get a glimpse into the lives of the individuals who as soon as lived there.

19. Explore a Hidden Courtyard

Imagine exploring a hidden courtyard in Leiden that most individuals don’t even know exists. These courtyards and secret gardens are filled with historical past and character, and every one is exclusive.

Some of the courtyards nonetheless exist as we speak for social functions, and a few are simply pretty homes. But all of them are price visiting.

The Leiden Courtyards tour is an unbelievable journey created by Leiden Discovery. There are 36 properties, together with 17 open to the general public. Other extensions could have distinctive facades and could be apparently seen.

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Final Thoughts

These are simply among the highlights of what Leiden has to supply. This charming Dutch college metropolis is certain to please guests of all ages and pursuits.

Whether you have an interest in historical past, artwork, meals, or simply wish to take pleasure in a beautiful canal tour, Leiden has one thing for you. So be sure that so as to add this metropolis to your listing of places to visit in the Netherlands.

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Is Leiden price visiting?

Leiden is certainly price visiting! This college metropolis has lots to supply vacationers and residents alike, together with the outdated metropolis middle, canals, museums, and charming eating places.

What are the most effective vacationer sights in Leiden?

There are many nice vacationer sights in Leiden, together with the outdated metropolis middle, the canals, the Botanical Garden, the Burcht van Leiden, and Young Rembrandt Studio.

What is Leiden Netherlands recognized for?

Leiden is a significant cultural middle within the Netherlands and is understood by many artists within the sixteenth and seventeenth Centuries for both their birthplaces or the place they frolicked.

In addition, the University of Leiden is likely one of the oldest universities in Europe, which makes this a well known college metropolis crammed with historical past, museums, and vigorous cafe tradition.

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