Authentic Leiden

Authentic Leiden

Zondag 6 november 2022, Amy

You don't know where to look in the beautiful city of Leiden with its 800 years of visible history.  There is plenty to admire such as the beautiful canals, city gates, windmills, the observatory, a castle, wervershuisjes and courtyards. Moreover, the city is home to the oldest university in the Netherlands! So take your time to discover the whole city.

Culture in Leiden

Culture lovers will love Leiden. It is a lively city, but as you have just read it also has a rich history that still lives on. In this versatile city you will not only find art but you can also make a 'journey through man' in CORPUS, go on a discovery tour in the Japan Museum or take a look at the oldest botanical gardens in the Netherlands.


CORPUS is the museum about the human body. In this special museum you will make, in less than an hour, a ''journey through man''.  Nowhere else in the world do you get such a unique view into the functioning of the human body. The journey starts at the knee, then you walk along all the organs and joints further and further up. The journey ends at the brain. Then you can, at your own pace, walk through ''My CORPUS'' and do various tests. This makes the museum fun for young and old.

Japanmuseum SieboldHuis

In the Japan museum SieboldHuis in Leiden you will find an exhibition of beautiful treasures from Japan. Prints, lacquerware, prepared animals, fossils, coins and much more. The objects were all collected in the 19th century by the physician Philipp Franz von Siebold. Philip was the first Westerner to teach medicine in Japan, he became best known for his research on the Japanese Flora and Fauna.

Hortus Botanicus Leiden

Hortus Botanicus is the study garden of Leiden University and also the oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands. The first construction was done by Carolus Clusius and a copy of that garden is named after him. The first tulip collections in Europe originated here and Phillipp Franz von Siebold introduced plants from Japan and China, the then unknown ones. Take a relaxing walk and see all the beautiful flowers and plants that have been collected and cared for here for four centuries.

Hortus Botanicus Leiden

Wall poems

Art and culture can not only be discovered in Leiden in museums. During a walk through the city you will come across poems written on the buildings in various places. 101 poems can be found throughout the city. The starting point is at the central station and the entire walk along all the poems takes a total of two to three hours.

City gates, monuments, and courtyards in Leiden

The city center of Leiden can be seen as a monumental center. You enter the city through one of the city gates. If you walk along the canals, you will come across a monument in every street or do you prefer to walk through the narrow alleys towards one of the 35 courtyards?

Morspoort and Doelenpoort

Hundreds of years ago, Leiden had no less than ten city gates. At the moment, the city has only two: the Morspoort and the Doelenpoort. The other city gates were demolished in the 19th century so that the city could expand. In the 17th century, the Mors gate was known as Gallows Gate, but because this gate gave access to the swampy area outside the city, they decided to call it the Mors Gate.


Monuments can be found everywhere in Leiden. The Waag is a national monument located on the Aalmarkt in the city center. Here you can go for a snack and a drink. On the Rapenburg you will find the Academy Building, which is also the oldest building of the university. Other monuments that you will encounter are various mills, museums and churches.

Universiteit Leiden

Leiden University 

One of the oldest castles in the Netherlands can also be found in Leiden. Leiden Castle stands on a motte; an artificial hill. In the fourteenth century, De Burcht would have lost its military function. Climb the steps of De Burcht and admire the breathtaking view of the city.

The 35 courtyards

De hofjes in Leiden hebben een belangrijke rol gespeeld in de Middeleeuwen. De idyllische hofjes kun je herkennen aan de huizen die dicht op elkaar staan met een gemeenschappelijke binnenplaats. In de Middeleeuwen waren ze bestemd voor arme, oude mensen.

De meeste hofjes  zijn vrij toegankelijk, maar wel wordt gevraagd om de privacy van de bewoners te respecteren. Bezoek je een hofje, dan voelt het even of je terug bent in de tijd. Van de stadse geluiden is weinig te horen en de huizen in de hofjes zijn gerenoveerd, maar de authentieke elementen zijn wel behouden.

Shopping in Leiden

In addition to art and culture, you are also at the right place for a day of shopping in Leiden. With over 650 shops, including unique boutiques, you can easily spend a whole day here. A bite to eat or a drink in between? Take a seat at one of the 300 catering establishments.


Don't miss the Breestraat when you go shopping in Leiden. This is the oldest and one of the most important streets of Leiden.


Walk to the south of the Breestraat and you will end up on the Pieterskwartier. A historic district in Leiden with boutiques and unique shops in narrow alleys.

Centrum en Haarlemmerstraat

Do you prefer to go to the large and well-known retail chains? Then you can go to the heart of the center or in the Haarlemmerstraat.

Centrum Leiden

Spend the night near Leiden

After a day in Leiden relaxing in the area? Fletcher Wellness-Hotel Leiden is located next to Leiden Central Station. Fletcher Boutique Hotel Duinoord is located less than 10 kilometers from the center of Leiden. These hotels are also the ideal base for a few days on the coast. Perfect to combine a few days at the beach with a trip to the city!

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