As a place to live and work, Leiden is a bustling, friendly medium-sized city, an urban community full of life with an outward-looking, international character, particularly with its world famous university, more than 400 years old (foundation 1575).
Leiden with suburbs has a population of 329,000 and with that it is the ninth largest urban region in the Netherlands.
It is an attractive town, because city and region offer an amazing scope of temptations. Leiden is very close to the North Sea coast and to beautiful national parks in the dune landscape. Its west-side suburbs are attractive seaside resorts of international style. At the north- and east-side the town borders on several lakes, with plenty of sailing facilities.
All of these are in biking distance of Leiden. The city itself has retained all that its past has to offer: a picturesque city centre with an 12th-century fortress, old-gothic 14th-century churches, beautifully restored 17th-century houses. A downtown with many kilometers of historic canals, with its numerous inner courtyards (almshouses), its Renaissance City Hall, its narrow mediaeval streets with many restaurants and pubs near the old University and near the oldest church, Peter's Church, built in 1121.
The famous botanic garden is the birthplace of the tulip culture in the Netherlands. Tulips have never left the region: the bulb fields and the renowned flower garden Keukenhof are in the direct vicinity of Leiden.
Leiden is a town of rich cultural heritage. Not only of science, but also of arts. One of the world's most famous painters ever, Rembrandt, was born and educated in Leiden. This town has already been one of Europe's most prominent scientific centres for more than four centuries. Modern scientific medical research and teaching started here in Leiden with Boerhaave.
Leiden is the place of fundamental discoveries: refraction of light (Snellius), electrical capacitor (the "Leyden Jar" (Van Musschenbroek), molecular basis of thermodynamics (Van der Waals), electron theory (Lorentz), superconductivity (Kamerlingh Onnes), electro-cardiography (Einthoven), structure of the galaxy and the origin of comets (Oort). Einstein held a special Chair in Leiden, cooperating with De Sitter on the Expanding Universe.
Eleven Nobel laureates have been affiliated with Leiden Universty as faculty members, students, or obtaining their Ph.D.
Several Leiden museums, particularly Antiquities, Natural History Naturalis, Lakenhal (Rembrandt, Jan Steen, Lucas van Leyden) , and Boerhaave (medical and scientific instruments), Etnology (non-western civilisations) and the most recent museum Sieboldhuis (Japanese collections) are of world class. Scientists all over the world visit the University Library for its manuscripts and very rare printed editions.
Leiden has special ties with the United States: the Pilgrim Fathers left from Leiden in 1620.
Despite this centuries-old cultural tradition, Leiden is in front of the most modern scientific and high-tech developments. The Leiden Bioscience Park is the largest in Europe. According to a recent investigation by the European Commission, Leiden University ranks alongside Oxford and Cambridge at the academic top of the European Union.
The University covers virtually all possible fields of science. Leiden has a high international reputation in both the natural and medical sciences, as well as in the humanities. More than 13,000 researchers and facilitating personnel work in all thinkable fields of knowledge, ranging from the study of the early universe to biotechnology, from Asian and African cultures and languages to social psychology, and from superconductivity to immune response and organ transplantation in the large University Hospital.
In the Leiden urban region, ESTEC is Europe's largest space centre, collaborating intensively with the university's astronomy department and spacecraft industry (Dutch Space) based closely to the Leiden university campus.
So it is evident that Leiden is a major, knowledge-intensive place, with plenty of opportunities for an interaction between regional development, international research, innovation and technology.
Leiden has a centuries-long tradition for trade and industry. Working and living in Leiden also means mobile flexibility based on a very well-developed and ever-improving infrastructure: Leiden has excellent connections by train, air and car. It is just twenty minutes by direct intercity-train to Amsterdam International Airport Schiphol. Other intercity-trains connect Leiden directly with Amsterdam (35 min.), The Hague (15 min.), Rotterdam (30 min.) and Utrecht (35 min.), and thus Leiden is comfortably connected to the entire European rail-system, including the high-speed train to Brussels and Paris. Similar comfortable connections are available for transport by car: Leiden is directly connected to the A4, one of the Netherlands most important motorways, and to the A44.
Leiden: an excellent place to live and to work. With both a fascinating spectrum of many attractive local aspects, as well as international allure.