The coat of arms of Leiden city contains two crossed red keys. It refers to Peter the patron saint of the town. He was supposed to have received the keys to heaven from Jesus Christ. That’s why they call Leiden the city of keys.
Leiden university is the oldest in the Netherlands and one of Europe’s leading international research universities. It was a gift of prince William of Orange, founder of the royal house of Orange and for the Dutch “the father of the nation”. He gave it to Leiden in 1575 for withstanding two Spanish sieges in 1573 and 1574. The so called Leidens ontzet (Relief of Leiden) is still very much celebrated in town. Each year on October 3th herring and bread are distributed. You’ll see Parades, fireworks, and traditional stew (hutspot) all over town.
Decades later Protestants fleeing persecution elsewhere in the low countries, France and England arrived in Leiden to a warmer welcome and brought with them prosperity. That is why the Leiden dialect has lots of Flemish accents.
Wealth from the linen industry made it a rich town and during the 17th century the town produced several brilliant painters, most famously Rembrandt van Rijn. Rembrandt was born in Leiden in 1606 and remained here for 26 years before achieving fame in Amsterdam. Jan Steen was also born here and both of them attended the famous Leiden Painting School.
City map of Leiden, download the image on your device and you can zoom in.
Have a look at the canals of Leiden or the city hall in Leiden city center. Have a stroll on a Leiden market.Admire the Leiden windmill.Relax in a park in Leiden.
If you want to visit a museum in Leiden you have a lot of choice.
Visit the famous Museum Volkenkunde (ethnology), the Museum van Oudheden (ancient history), De lakenhal (linen), De Pieterskerk (Saint Peter church) or the American Pilgrim Museum (Mayflower). The lovely courtyard houses. The many Leiden shops, restaurants, pubs and terraces. You’ll have a great time here!