A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

7 Facts to Know About Leiden University

Whether you already are a student or planning to apply for, there are some key facts you should know about Leiden University.

1. Oldest university in the Netherlands

Established by the Prince of Orange, William the Silent in 1575 as a reward for brave Leideners in the fight against Spanish invasion, Leiden University is the oldest university in the Netherlands.

2. Bastion of Liberty

Praesidium Libertatis, the official motto of Leiden University means “Bastion of Liberty” in English. Being the first Dutch university to practice the freedom of religion and belief, to its reputation by providing the freedom to academics from all over the world and Europe when their practice was not really welcomed in other countries, including Albert Einstein.

3. Famous Alumni

Many important figures in the history were educated in Leiden University. Here are some examples:

  • René Descartes, French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist
  • Rembrandt, World-known Dutch painter
  • Hugo Grotius, famous Dutch jurist who established the foundations of international law
  • Baruch Spinoza, Dutch philosopher, mathematician, political thinker
  • Baron d’Holbach, French-German author, philosopher, and prominent figure in the French Enlightenment
  • Christiaan Huygens, Dutch mathematician and scientist

If you don’t already know who they are, Google them! Many alumni to be proud of ha?

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, 1632 by Rembrant,
housed in the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague
The King of the Netherlands

4. Royal University

The Dutch Royal Family is closely connected to Leiden University. Queen Juliana, Queen Beatrix and the current king of the Netherlands, King Willem-Alexander were former students.

5. High Rankings

Leiden University is ranked quite high in numerous global rankings every year. Here are some recent ones:

  • ARWU World: 74 (2018)
  • THE World: 68 (2019)
  • USNWR World: 86
  • QS World: 122 (2019)

6. Seven Faculties

Leiden University has seven main faculties offering high-quality education to its students.

  • Archaeology
  • Governance and Global Affairs
  • Humanities
  • Law
  • Medicine / LUMC
  • Science
  • Social and Behavioural Sciences
KOG Building, Home of Law Faculty
(Courtesy of Saide Esra Akdoğan (that is me))

7. Two Campuses: Leiden and The Hague

Don’t let the name fool you. Even though it still is mainly based in Leiden, Leiden University also expanded to The Hague in 1998. Now six of the seven faculties are represented in Campus The Hague, and Faculty Governance and Global Affairs, International Studies and Leiden University College The Hague, a liberal arts and sciences college exclusively based there.

Wijnhaven Building, The Hague

Leiden University has lots of facts to be proud of. Do you know something you want to share with current and future Leideners? Leave a comment below!

2 comments on “7 Facts to Know About Leiden University

  1. Sara Bettinelli
    February 28, 2019

    Really interesting article, we tend to forget the amazing history of this university sometimes !

    • Esra@theleidener
      March 19, 2019

      Thank you! Always worth to remember i guess 🙂

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