Academic Leiden, Leiden
This botanical garden was made behind the Academy building shortly after the University was established. And the first tulips ever to be planted in Western Europe were planted here.
It isn't a very big garden but it is very nice to visit. It consist of an outdoor garden that is devided in several sections with a different lay-out and different plants. And then there is the greenhouse with a huge collections of plants from flesh-eating ones to the Victoria Amazonica water lily. In winter this place is already like entering a rain-forest because of the heat and humidity. In summer with the sun it can be unbearably hot. There is also a small winter garden next to the entrance and restaurant.
Open in summer time from monday to sunday from 10 am to 6 pm
In winter time it is open from monday to friday and on sunday from 10 am to 4 pm.
Admission fee is 4 euro, children pay 2 euro (Prices 2004)
There are guided tours but only by appointment.
Go right, with the canal on your left hand. At your right hand you will see a building with a clocktower this is the academic building.
As a reward of their brave restistance against the Spanish, Willem van Oranje gave the city the right to have a university in 1575. The motto of the university was: Praesidium Libertatis, "bastion of freedom". The university was financed with the money of the Catholic abbey of Egmond, that together with the castle of Egmond was destroyed in 1573 by the Geuzen at the order of Willem van Oranje. The university of leiden had to became a protestant counterpart of the Catholic university of Leuven (now in Belgium).
The university was first housed in the Sinte Barbara monastery (also a catholic organisation banned form here), and moved in 1577 to the Faliede Beguinage at the Rapenburg, and eventually in 1581 choose the confiscated monastery of the White Nuns at the other side of the canal. Today the building is still in use by the university.
The building of this Latin School dates back to 1599. Apart from the building itself, it's most important feat is that Rembrandt studied here from 1616 to 1620.
The name Latin School comes from the fact that all classes were taught in Latin. During the 17th century it's function was slowly replaced by the University.
This building use to be the church of a cloister of Domenican nuns. When the nuns left the building it became part of the univeristy that was founded in 1575 (the oldest University in the Netherlands) and is stil in use by the University but nowadays only for important events.
I took the liberty of strolling inside to have a quick look around. And it almost makes you want to study again... So i took off and went to explore the Hortus Botanicus that is behind this building.. ;-)
Formerly Leiden’s teaching hospital, Poortgebouw is a 120 year-old building that is now a venue for conferences held by Leiden University Research and Innovation Services (LURIS). Their mandate is to improve knowledge transfer from scientists to society.
Kweekschool voor Zeevaar is the name of this building and there's a dedication to Prince Hendrik right above the portal.
This, to me, is symbolic of the town inasmuch as schooling is one of its main attractions. Naturally enough, when that is the case, there's usually a vibrant youthful feel about the town. Thus it is so in Leiden.
Leiden has the oldest university in the Northern Netherlands, which was founded during the 80-Years War. Until then the only university in the whole Netherlands had been the one in Leuven (now Belgium), which was under Spanish rule at that time. This former chapel became the Academy or the university's main building in 1581. The building now also houses the academic historical museum as well as being used for exams and ceremonies.
Naturalis' displays collections about the history and development of the earth and life.
Bascially, the fossiles show the history of evolution. They have made the surroundings playfull. There is interactive games you can play to test your knowledge. For some games you need to buy coins at the enterance.
There is a mammoth skeleton on display, albeit a small one. More spectecular is a dino skeleton.
They also have butterfly and insect collections that are displayed rather nicely, even if you're not too much interested in this subject.
It's my tip for a rainy day.
Tuesday-Sunday 10 am - 6 pm
During school vacations and on holidays: Monday-Sunday 10 am - 6 pm
Closed 25 December and 1 January.
If you want information about the University and if anything is currently going on at the University go to the University of Leiden information center, just to the right of Leiden's Centraal Station (it's a little hidden). This is also where you could get that Universiteit Leiden t-shirt or other gifts for very reasonable prices (way cheaper than souvenir stores).
There are some really interesting museums in Leiden (no, I really mean that).
I could have seen the dinosaurs (at Naturalis - Natural Historic Museum) or mummies (at Antiguities Museum), but somehow I ended up to "Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde" (National Museum of Ethnology).
I was a nice musem - not too big but nevertheless plenty of things to see. Different artifacts, clothing and stuff like that from different cultures througout the world.
They even had some artifacts and clothes of Laplanders, also known as Sami people :-)
Collections are based on whatever ever we Dutch could "find" (ahum) on hour trading expeditions in the past. Make sure you check what exhibitions are currently on display, themes can vary.
One annecdote though. The museum's collection is not as big as it could have been. For years the inventory was held "in good faith with emplyees", i.e. no checks on theft. These employees are often students working a job on the side. When they did review the inventory after several years it became apparent that about ONE THIRD of the stock was missing. So if you visit someone in Leiden, and there is a rare African shield or artefact displayed in the living room, you should have a hunch where it's coming from.
Closed: Mondays (except Bank Holidays), 1 January, 3 October and 25 December