Museums of Leiden, the Netherlands

The Dutch town of Leiden, part way between Amsterdam and The Hague, is not an especially famous tourist stop, but I found myself staying there during a driving holiday around the Netherlands. I think it was a case of needing somewhere to stay for the night and choosing Leiden because it made me laugh – the German word, “leiden”, means “to suffer”, which would be a pretty unfortunate name for a town!

As is often the case with random stops, I found plenty to entertain me – Leiden is the oldest university town of the Netherlands and is jam-packed with cultural experiences. In particular, it’s full of museums; I didn’t try them all out, but here are my Europe travel tips for Leiden museums.. They may not be the best known Dutch museums but are well worth a visit.

  • The Dutch National Museum of Antiquities is full of archaeological finds from ancient times to the middle ages, and includes some early Dutch artefacts too.
  • The Municipal Museum De Lakenhal displays Dutch culture from the sixteenth century until today and is probably most famous for its Rembrandts.
  • The National Museum of Natural History or “Naturalis” is a must-visit for those interested in animals and nature.
  • The Boerhaave Museum is basically the national museum for science and medicine and it focuses on the (perhaps surprisingly) large contributions to these fields made by Dutch researchers – but it’s more interesting than it sounds!

That’s just a taste – there are in fact quite a few more museums in Leiden, not bad for a town of around 100,000 people – and it’s nice to get off the beaten track a little.

More on European Museums

Find out about more museums in Europe on Europe a la Carte.

(Image from Antiquities Museum thanks to Michiel2005 via Flickr/Creative Commons)