Leiden University

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University of Leiden
University of Leiden
motto Libertatis Praesidium
("A Bulwark of Freedom")
founding February 8, 1575
place Leiden & The Hague , Netherlands
Rector Carel Stolker
Students 25,800 (2015/2016)
Employee 5500 (December 31, 2015)
Annual budget around 588 million euros (2016)
Networks CG , IAU , LERU
Website www.leiden.edu

The University of Leiden ( Dutch Universiteit Leiden , formerly Rijksuniversiteit Leiden ) was founded in 1575 in Leiden . It is the oldest university in the Netherlands and one of the world's most renowned institutions, particularly for the humanities , political science , law and medicine .


Academy building in Leiden

The University of Leiden was founded by William I of Nassau-Orange a few months after the siege of the city by Spanish troops in the Eighty Years' War ended on February 8, 1575. It thus became the first university of the Republic of the Seven United Provinces founded a few years later . Together with the Leiden University Library , it quickly developed into the country's scientific center. Important scholars such as Justus Lipsius , Joseph Scaliger , Franciscus Gomarus , Hugo Grotius , Jacobus Arminius , Daniel Heinsius and Gerhard Johann Vossius increased the awareness of the university and the basis for the freedom of research at the university, according to their motto: Praesidium Libertatis (bulwark of freedom) . The Leiden observatory was opened in 1633 , one of the oldest university observatories in the world. Jacobus Gronovius , Herman Boerhaave , Tiberius Hemsterhuis and David Ruhnken worked at the university in the 18th century . The future Nobel Prize winner Heike Kamerlingh Onnes was appointed professor of experimental physics at the University of Leiden in 1882, developed helium liquefaction and discovered superconductivity . Other Nobel Prize winners from the university were Hendrik Antoon Lorentz , Pieter Zeeman and Willem Einthoven . The physicists Albert Einstein , Enrico Fermi and Paul Ehrenfest , the Arabist Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje , the legal scholar Cornelis van Vollenhoven and the historian Johan Huizinga also worked at the university in the 1920s and 1930s .

During the Second World War , the university was temporarily closed by the German occupiers after protests against the dismissal of Jewish employees. The Spinoza Prize , the highest scientific award in the Netherlands, has so far received 18 professors from the University of Leiden, namely Frits van Oostrom (Dutch literature), Frederik Kortlandt and Pieter Muysken (linguistics), Hendrik Lenstra (mathematics), Carlo Beenakker , Jan Zaanen and Dirk Bouwmeester (physics), Ewine van Dishoeck (molecular astrophysics), Marijn Franx (astronomy), Alexander Tielens (astrophysics and astrochemistry), Els Goulmy (biology), Frits Rosendaal (clinical epidemiology), Rien van IJzendoorn (education), Wil Roebroeks (Archeology), Corinne Hofman (archeology of the Caribbean), Michel Ferrari (neurology), Ineke Sluiter (Greek language and literature) and Naomi Ellemers (social psychology).

The University of Leiden is the traditional educational establishment of the Dutch royal family and a member of Europaeum , the League of European Research Universities LERU and the Coimbra Group .


Kamerlingh Onnes building
Faculty of Social Sciences at Leiden University
Faculty of Literature and Languages

There are currently seven faculties at Leiden University:

In September 2008, the former faculties of theology , philosophy , art , literature and linguistics were merged to form the new faculty of humanities .



  • Willem Otterspeer: The Bastion of Liberty: Leiden University Today and Yesterday . Leiden University Press, Leiden 2008, ISBN 978-90-8728-030-7 .
  • Willem Otterspeer: Good, gratifying and renowned. A concise history of Leiden University . Transl. by John RJ Eyck. Leiden, 2015. ISBN 978-90-8728-235-6
  • Th.H. Lunsingh Scheurleer, GHM Posthumus Meyjes (eds): Leiden University in the Seventeenth Century. An Exchange of Learning (Leiden, 1975), ISBN 9004042679
  • Heinz Schneppen: Dutch universities and German intellectual life. From the founding of the University of Leiden until the late 18th century , Münster 1960. New Münster contributions to historical research, vol. 6.

See also

Web links

Commons : Leiden University  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ List of IAU Members. In: iau-aiu.net. International Association of Universities, accessed August 8, 2019 .
  2. ^ Leiden University. Retrieved June 11, 2018 (American English).

Coordinates: 52 ° 9 ′ 21.9 ″  N , 4 ° 29 ′ 13 ″  E