Leiden University is the oldest university in the Netherlands, established in 1575 by William of Orange. It is located in the city of Leiden with an international honours college based in The Hague.
Throughout its history the university has stood for freedom and its motto, Praesidium Libertatis, translates as ‘bastion of freedom’, dating back to when its founder conferred university status on Leiden in recognition of the city’s resistance against Spanish invaders.
The modern day Leiden stands for inclusiveness and diversity. It comprises seven faculties in the arts, sciences and social sciences, is home to 26,000 students from 100 different countries and describes itself as ‘a place of refuge where any question can be asked and answered in complete freedom.
Leiden prides itself on a teaching style that emphasises individual learning and small group work. Its modest-sized classrooms are designed to allow faculty to offer personal supervision and ensure that students’ needs are met. It also offers a ‘pre-university college’ to prepare high school pupils for university life.
A total of 16 Nobel Prize winners are associated with Leiden as well as 19 Spinoza Prize winners, the highest accolades awarded in Dutch science. Albert Einstein was once a visiting professor at Leiden and, in terms of modern scientific research, the university works closely with the Leiden Bio Science Park, the most prestigious life sciences cluster in the Netherlands and one of the most successful science parks in Europe.
It credits its high international rankings in science to the freedom it continues to give to its scientists to pursue excellence.
Notable Leiden alumni include members of the Dutch royal family, Princess Beatrix van Oranje-Nassau and His Royal Highness Constantijn van Oranje-Nassau, as well as former Secretary General of NATO Professor Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.