The Naturalis is the National Museum of Natural History and is located just outside the center of Leiden, on the backside of the trainstation, in a large, modern building. If you have trouble finding it, just look for the "monuments to rust", which are large rusty statues, on the side of the road.
It is a very large museum with several floors (4-5) that will take ages to visit thoroughly.
There is always some kind of special exhibition and at the time of writing it is "Heart at work, A special exhibiton about the heart, blood and vessels".
The permanent exhibitions are:
- Nature Theater
- Primeval Parade
- Earth inside
- Treasure Chamber
There is a lot to see and it can be very interesting. It is a very good way of spending time when the the day is not nice for a walk outside (yes, it does occasionally also happen to have bad weather in Leiden :))
Adults pay 9 Eur and children 5 (free if they are under 4 years old).
Opening hours are:
Tuesday-Sunday 10 am - 6 pm, closed on Monday.
During school vacations and on holidays: Monday-Sunday 10 am - 6 pm
(Closed 25 December and 1 January)
Leiden has no less than 12 museums within its outer canal belt. These cover a wide variety of interests: local, national and international and subject matter includes history, ethnology, archaeology, natural history, art, horticulture and much more.
One of the best known is the National Museum of Ethnology, just down from the railway station. Established in 1837 this is reckoned to be the oldest museum of its kind in the world.
Unfortunately it being a Monday none of them seemed to be open but this looks interesting next time I'm here on a rainy day, when it's not a Monday!
The Dutch National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden is, imo, an exemplar of how to make a museum interesting for all visitors without dumbing-down and without removing almost all artefacts from display.
I particularly like the way it is set out in chronological order, with the top (third) floor displaying the oldest artefacts within a beautifully-designed...and literal...time-line which takes you from the very earliest inhabitants of what is now the Netherlands up to much more recent times.
The second floor has the Roman artefacts. There's a particularly impressive collection of Roman altars and an entirely unique stone coffin with its interior 'fully-furnished' for pleasure of the lady who lay within. There are also Etruscan and ancient Greek sculptures, gravestone an pottery on display on this floor.
The ground floor has a complete Ancient Egyptian temple...the temple of Taffeh, which was given to the Dutch by the Egyptian government in acknowledgement of their help in saving the Nubian monuments near Abu Simbel (anything which remained was flooded when the Aswan Dam was created). There is also a good collection of mummies, mummycases (including some later ones with coffin portraits) and other AE artefacts.
The whole museum is light and airy with an 'uncrowded' feel and many of the displays have English language labelling, which is very helpful. There's a circular glass lift which takes you from floor to floor (and stairs as well) so the museum is accessible for those with mobility difficulties.
There's a small cafe, a cloakroom area (free..just rows of coatpegs..but there are also lockers available for bags) and sparklingly-clean toilets.
For anyone with any interest in ancient history this museum is an absolute 'must-see' if you visit Leiden and...to be honest..it's worth making a visit to Leiden from e.g. Amsterdam just to visit it.
Open Tuesdays to Sundays: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m (during school holidays also open on Mondays: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m). Closed on 1 January, 30 April, 3 October, 25 December.
Entrance fee in April 2013 was 9.50 euro (and worth every cent!).
I'm now constantly reminded of this place. This place that I stumbled across that isn't yet listed in the local guide books. Why? Let me explain at length.
It was my last afternoon and I was determined to see the old fort. Thus it was that I found myself walking down Leiden's prettiest street when I came upon some advertising for a museum. Unknowing, I took up the challenge and went through the portal to find myself in a large courtyard (see pics 1&2), at the end of which was the entry to the museum.
The museum had one thing going for it, it was free. It also had another, the host. He was the epitome of genial; couldn't do enough for me; gave me a guided tour around every item. Of course, this also had much to do with the fact that business was, shall we say, less than brisk, though my entry was followed by two other couples, thus more than doubling his numbers for the day.
The museum all came about because an old paper works had been unearthed dating from the 15th to 16th centuries. This led to several discoveries and somewhere was needed to house the results of the dig and so this building had some space and that's where it all came. (See next tip)
Mine host went on to explain many things, one of which was a beer brewing tile from a monastery. I always find it odd that monastries used to provide beer when, it later times, it was a fanatical religious bent that led to its banning in certain countries.
He also explained how horses' bones were used for children's sleds and also to make ice skates such as were used to attack the Spaniards, much to their surprise.
I also learnt how the leather manufacturer required the head and one horn to work out the age of an animal and thus determine its suitability for manufacture of leather goods.
However, when we came to the wood panel it was my turn. "Is there some significance in the fact that it's displayed upside down?" I queried. Mine host was clearly shocked as I pointed out to him how, if you studied it, there had clearly been a motif and all things rose from that. He was at once surprised and gratified but I reassured him that I had discovered problems at no lesser places than the Wallace Collection and the British Museum in London and had arrived at the conclusion that I was the only one in the world who actually read inscriptions and took note of what they were actually viewing. Can't wait to get to the Louvre!
They had many other items there, such as the coins for the poor. These were vouchers and their purpose is indicated by the letter inscribed on them, e.g. "B" for bread and "D" for blankets.
This museum has the largest collection of old cultures in the Netherlands. Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Etruskian artifacts. So when you are in Leiden and want to snif on some old culture come to this museum. They also have nice things to do for kids. Beautiful exhibitions like jewelry etc.
Tuesdays up to Fridays: 10.00-17.00 hrs
Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays: 12.00-17.00 hrs
Mondays: closed, with the exception of Monday, 22 October (autumn holiday)
the museum will be closed on 1 January, 30 April,3 October and 25 December
Entrance museum 2007:
"Budget Ticket" 2 adults and 2 children (4 until 17 years) € 25.00
Adults € 8,50
Children (4 until 17 years) € 5,50
Seniors (65 and older) and CJP-card holders € 7,50
Dutch ‘Museum card’ free
This MUSEUM is most wonderful and its collections are so diverse that it is wise to decide beforehand which collections you want to visit.......
In the INTRO you can read about the MUMMIES of the Egyptian collection.
THIS MUSEUM IS A REAL MUST!
Here some more info:
The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden is situated in the historic centre of Leiden, at a ten minute walk of Leiden Central Station.
Parking your car near the building may be difficult. The best location to leave your car is the Haagweg car park. From the Haagweg, there is a shuttle bus service to the museum. For the quickest route to the museum, see the itinerary. Also busses and touring cars can best be left at the Haagweg car park. See their website for more information. Please note that in the centre of Leiden you are not allowed to drive or (temporarily) park a bus!
Wheelchair users can reserve a wheelchair by calling telephone number (+31) (0)71 – 5163 163 (only on weekdays).
In front of the museum building, at the Rapenburg, is one parking place for visitors holding an official parking license for the disabled.
Partially sighted persons are allowed to take their guide-dogs. The museum’s staff are always willing to help you find your way.
Leiden has 12 museums, all well worth a visit.
The priceless and unique collections on show there enjoy international fame.
Let me list a few:
The National Antiquity Museum, with its Egyptian, Greek and Roman collections, the National Museum for Cultural Anthropology with its treasures from different cultures.
The Boerhaave Museum, unveiling the history of medical science: very interesting!
The De Lakenhal Municipal Museum, exhibiting works by Rembrandt, Lucas van Leyden and Jan Steen and of course :
Naturalis, the National Presentation of Natural History, are only a selection of all the treasures the Leyden museums have on display: a real DISCOVERY!
I shall try to tell you about them all in other TIPS.....to start with this picture: a necklace with a gold Bes pendant and beads in the shape of Udjat - eyes, flies and scarabs.
In the middle: necklace with cornelian cornflower beads and gold fish.
Below: necklace with fly-shaphed beads.
All from Egypt, 18th Dynasty, 15th Century BC
The start of this museum was the private collection of Willem IV which he began during the 18th Century.
Willem I founded the Koninklijk Penningkabinet in 1816 and then the museum made its real start collecting more and more: coins from Greece and the Roam Empire and of course Dutch coins.
There are coins from different ships that had sunk to the bottom of the sea: all in all there is a wealth to be enjoyed.
There are e.g. some stamps from MESOPOTAMIA, over 5000 years old and oh, so precious and emotional to see.
The collection counts up to 200.000 issues, each with its own history, story, country....
they all tell about kinds and emperors, technique, history, economy, archeology and art!
A most wonderful, well-filled TREASURE-TROVE.
This is a Municipal Museum located in a precious, beautiful historic building that was designed by Arent van 's Gravesande.
In 1874 it was opened to the public as a museum.
In between 1640 and 1800 the building had a completely different function.
At that time the famous LEIDSE LAKEN (textile, fabric) was sampled and the gouvernors and "staalmeesters" (THE SYNDICS) met.
In the Museum you will get the chance to see and admire unique utensils..........
And of course the COMPLETE story of the siege and the Relief of the Siege of Leiden on October 3rd 1574.
The cloth-maker and merchants gathered in the courtyard where the SYNDICS took samples. Subsequently the sacks/bags went to the GUILD HALL, called DE BIG PRESS, where they got a lead seal. Seals have been found from Indonesia, South Africa and America.
On the outside walls of the LAKENHAL are wonderful decorations, reliefs.
During the 19th Century the LAKENHALL was used as a emergency hospital, if needed and in 1874 the place became a real MUSEUM.....
There are precious collections of silver flatware and ingraved glass, tiles and tinware.
Most glorious paintings from the best Dutch artists of e.g. the Dutch Landscape and....and....there is far too much to list it all here so I can only advise you: go and see that wonderful place, feel and smell that special atmosphere....
My favourite painter whose work is also in the LAKENHAL is FLORIS VERSTER........magnificent!
OPEN: Tuesdays through Fridays 10AM - 5PM
Saturdays & Sundays midday - 5PM
October 3rd 10AM till midday.
For guided tours (groups) make reservations about 3 weeks in advance....this place is very sought-after.
At Corpus you will go through the human body. Inside of the human body to be exact. With a group of about 15 people you will start your journey. You will get a headphone and device. This device will be there throughout the tour so you will learn about it (this device is in mainly in Dutch language, but if you ask the reception they can provide you one in a foreing language).
With an escalator you will go inside the human body. This is the start of the journey. You will learn about the brain, veins, hart, stomach, guts, etc.
There are areas where you can do some tests: questions about what you have seen/learned during the journey, running to see what happens in your body (which parts will work).
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 9am till 7pm.
Prices (in 2013):
adult (from 15 years of age) € 17.75 (if you buy it at the counter) or € 16.75 (if you buy it online)
children (6 till 14 years of age) € 15.25 (if you buy it at the counter) or € 14.25 (if you buy it online)
groups (minimum 10 persons) € 15.25 (if you buy it at the counter) or € 15.25 (if you buy it online)
When you are arriving by car, you should by a card to get out of the parking lot. This card costs € 6 per car and available at the counter.
The Museum van Volkenkunde is one of the oldest ethnological museums in the world.
In the museum collection are over 200,000 objects and 500,000 audiovisual sources from all over the globe.
The museum was founded in1837 and now is housed in the former Academic Hospital dating from 1873.
There are regular special exhibitions on a specific theme or about a specific country.
Tu-Su: 10AM - 5PM
Admission: €11.00 (adult)
A fascinating museum dedicated to natural science and medicine. A very broad collection of artifacts, instruments, skeletons, st up animals, artifacts on strong water etc.
You can do some tests yourself and discover things on gravity etc. Also fascinating for kids. They get a complete quizzbook to answer questions in the museum.
Tuesday-Saturday 10.00 – 17.00 hrs
Sundays and holidays 12.00 – 17.00 hrs
The Boerhaave Museum is also open on
Mondays 10 – 17h during short school holidays.
Mondays and January 1
Adults € 6
Under 19, 65+, CJP, NS cards and groups of 10 or more € 3
MK, ICOM and children under 5 free
Naturalis, Nature Historical Museum
Naturalis is a very interesting museum especially for kids. Butterflies, Dinosaurs, Apes etc. etc.
Lots of interesting facts about the animals. Impressive skeletons as for example a kind of crocodile!
Tuesday-Friday 10 am - 5 pm, closed on Monday.
Saturday-Sunday 10 am - 6 pm
During school vacations and on public holidays: Monday-Sunday 10 am - 6 pm
Closed 30 april, 25 December and 1 January.
children under 4 free
children 4 - 12 € 5,00
children 13 - 17 € 6,00
Adults € 9,00
Leiden was very famous for its cloth becasue of the quality. This quality was kep high by appointed inspectors that gave thc loth a seal of approvement before it was shipped out. Since the cloth industry was so important and business was booming there came a special cloth hall in 1639 where the officials resided.
Nowadays the tis building is a famous museum.