The City of Keys, is the nickname of the city, referring to the city arms. The city is known for its rich history. Leiden houses the oldest university in the Netherlands, a large historic town with many canals and monumental courtyards, mills, churches, city gates and fourteen museums.
The Leiden canals run along the Leiden almshouses, museums and many historic buildings. In 1659, a six-kilometer moat was built around the historical old town, where, among others, De Meelfabriek is located. The foundation 'Friends of the Singel Park' is working with the municipality of Leiden in order to transform this unique cultural heritage into one compact park. The canals are also connected to large water and recreational areas just outside the city.
Leiden has two universities and one college. Leiden University was founded in 1575 and is the oldest university in the Netherlands. Since 1983 the American Webster University has been established in Leiden. The Hogeschool Leiden is a college institution with over 6,000 students located in the Leiden Bio Science Park. The Bio Science Park is the site of several research institutes together with a number of biotechnology companies. The Leiden University Medical Center is one of the largest university hospitals in the Netherlands where a lot of scientific research is conducted.
Leiden is a lively city with a rich cultural variety of events and festivals, especially in the field of music, dance and theater. Leiden offers also a wide range of specialist shops in an historic, 17th century setting. The city has many specialty shops located in narrow streets and alleys that make shopping great fun.
The accessibility of Leiden is excellent. Leiden is close to major cities in the Randstad as The Hague, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Schiphol. And close to the coast of Noordwijk or Katwijk. Leiden is located between the A4 and A44 and trains from all directions stop at Leiden Central Station. From the station you walk straight into the center of town.