Leiden University Past and Present
History of the Netherlands
Geographically a difficult area to live, the ancient Netherlands had for its inhabitants Celtic and German tribes, one very important feature - safety. Its rivers, lakes, wetlands, and woods were impossible to cross for the invaders.
It is only in the 1st century BC, that the ancient Roman Empire conquered the southern part of these lands establishing an important military post in Nijmegen. North of the today’s Netherlands remained not conquered nor even invaded. Under the Roman administration, prosperity grew for almost three hundred years.
Early Middle Ages
As the Roman state got weaker, barbaric Germanic tribes started to invade the land. Most powerful of them, the Franks invaded the territory in the 5th century and brought the Christianity with them. By 800 today’s Netherlands was a part of the powerful Franks Empire of Charlemagne. It is in Nijmegen that Charlemagne built one of his palaces. Tradition says that Nijmegen was his favorite residence, while Aachen (today in Germany) was the empire’s capital.
Economical growth in the Middle Ages
After the fall of the Charlemagne Empire (he died in 814) the Low Countries territory has been divided into several smaller states – ruled by dukes and counts. At the same time, already in the Middle Ages, a strong economical development made the Netherlands one of the richest areas in Europe. Agriculture along with crafts and commerce, rich towns and important trading links reaching as far as Asia and North Africa, transformed the Netherlands into the area where the feudal power has been limited, safety of movement and economical activity established, sustained growth possible.
Renaissance and fight for independence
The neighborhood powers – first Dukes of Burgundy and later the Habsburgs (after 1477, the marriage of Mary of Burgundy to Archduke Maximilian Habsburg) tried to dominate the Netherlands and introduce its taxation there.
In 1555, Charles of the Habsburg dynasty granted the Netherlands to his son, Philip II, king of Spain. As Philip II was, a Catholic and part of the Netherlands protestant the Dutch resisted not only the new taxation, but also the intolerance and oppressive methods of administration of the Spanish king and his governor Prince Alba. A long eighty years lasting war began. Feeling of the national identity developed in the Netherlands during this war.
In 1581, the Union of Utrecht proclaimed independence from Spain. The new nation suffered a series of reverses in the war, but finally in 1648 the Spanish recognized the sovereignty of the Republic. The Dutch Republic remained until 1794 at least nominally, under the power of the Austrian throne of Habsburg.
The discoveries era
Despite all the war destructions and hardship, the Dutch continued expansion on the seas and discoveries of the new routes and lands. By the mid-17th century, the Republic was the biggest maritime power of Europe, and Amsterdam was the most important financial center of the continent. Naturally, wars about the domination on the seas with England and wars to resist growing power of France on the mainland followed.
18th and 19th Century
Beginning of the 18th century, with the domination of the big absolutist empires of France, Austria, Russia, and Prussia on the continent, and United Kingdom on the sea, the demise of the tiny Dutch Republic begins. An important economical factor has also been the fall of Poland, which lost Ukraine to Russia and was not able anymore to supply grain to the Netherlands.
Growth of the liberal and republican ideas all over the world and resistance to these ideas by the people who ruled the Dutch Republic, lead at the end of the 18th century to the creation of The Kingdom of the Netherlands, which after the fall of Napoleon included also the territories of the today’s Belgium and Luxemburg.
Belgium provinces revolted in 1830 and separated into the Kingdom of Belgium. Luxemburg although independent, has been united with the Netherlands by a person of a monarch. Luxemburg finally separated from The Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1890, when Dutch King William III died not leaving a male heir, which was a condition to rule the Duchy of Luxemburg.
Time of peace and prosperity
In the second half of the 19 century, through slow but constant economical growth and important constitutional reforms, the Netherlands became a liberal and modern state. During the WWI, the Netherlands remained neutral.
World War II
During World War II (1939-1945), the Netherlands was invaded and occupied by the Germans (1940). After two years of relative prosperity, when only the Jewish population has been prosecuted, the whole country began to suffer the burden of war and increasing German terror.
After the difficult years of reconstruction directly after the WWII, the Netherlands sustained in the second half of the 20th century a continuous and fast economical growth. Today the Netherlands is one of the most developed and wealthiest countries in the world.Curiosity
New Amsterdam as New York: An interesting episode of the Dutch and American history is an establishment in 1609 of an urban settlement called New Amsterdam on the island called today Manhattan, by an English explorer Henry Hudson, then in the service of the Dutch Far East Company. This first urban development has been later taken by the English and became New York. And although the Dutch took back the island and the city in 1673, they lost it again next year and New Amsterdam remained known as New York.
The Netherlands being the most densely populated country of the world has very interesting cities, beautifully preserved nature, and varied landscape, always fresh through the wind from the sea. This is the country, where light astonishes the visitor. No wonder, that the Dutch gave human civilization several important painters.
Kingdom of the Netherlands (Dutch: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden). The Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of the Netherlands and its overseas islands - Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.
The Netherlands or Holland?
Talking about the Netherlands, people often incorrectly call it Holland. In fact, only the central part of the Netherlands is geographically named Holland. This part of the country consists now of two provinces Noord Holland (North Holland) and Zuid-Holland (South Holland). This is the region with important cities as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague (Den Haag), Delft, Leiden and Haarlem.
The Netherlands is located in North Western Europe, at the West and North-West coastline the North Sea; the country borders with Belgium from the South and Germany from the East and Northeast. Through its long North Sea coast (451 km) the climate of the Netherlands is a typical mild maritime climate, wet and mild, winters are rarely strong, summer is never very hot.
The Netherlands are traditionally divided into 12 provinces, which have their own capital, own self-rule and administration. Each of these provinces has very different sphere, different history, and different traditions. Thus, more than in any other country of Europe, richness of the Netherlands lays in its diversity.
The Netherlands is populated in 81% by Caucasian Dutch population of Germanic or Gallo Celtic descent. Contrary to the popular ideas, more Dutch are catholic 31% than protestant 21%. In the Netherlands, women slightly exceed the male population. Dutch is an official language, spoken by almost total of the population, except for the expats coming from the Anglo-Saxon countries.
Feeling of the national identity developed in the Netherlands during the war with Spanish domination, which lasted eighty years - from 1568 until 1648. Dutch resistance against the attempts of the Nazi Germany to incorporate Netherlands into the Third Reich during the WWII, and the leadership of the Royal Family in the struggle with the occupants, are still alive in the Dutch people memory.
The Netherlands is one of the most developed countries of the world. It has many industries and agriculture on a very high level of productivity. The biggest world’s companies as Shell and Unilever as well as the banking giants ING Group and ABN AMRO are based in the Netherlands. GDP per head is US $42,000, which is one of the highest in the world. The Netherlands is the member of the European Union and has adopted euro as its currency.
The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy. Dutch monarch King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands serves as representative head of state and a person uniting the divided parliamentary politics. The parliament consists of two chambers. The Lower House (Tweede Kamer, or Second Chamber) is elected every four years in a direct national elections together with the provincial parliaments.
Prior to the Batavian Revolution of 1795, the semi-independent provinces of the Netherlands had chief-executives called stadtholders, who were all drawn from the House of Orange or the House of Nassau by primogeniture. After 1747 the office became formally hereditary in all seven provinces in the House of Orange-Nassau.
The House of Orange-Nassau came from Dietz, Germany, seat of one of the Nassau counties. Their title 'Prince of Orange' was acquired through inheritance of the Principality of Orange in southern France, in 1544. William of Orange (also known as William the Silent) was the first Orange stadtholder (ironically, appointed by Philip II of Spain). From 1568 to his death in 1584, he led the Dutch struggle for independence from Spain. His younger brother, John VI, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, Stadtholder of Utrecht, was the direct male lineancestor of the later Stadtholders of Friesland and Groningen, the later hereditary stadtholders and the first King of the Netherlands.
The Netherlands remained, formally, a confederated republic, even when in 1747 the office of stadtholder was centralized (one stadtholder for all provinces) and became formally hereditary under the House of Orange-Nassau.
The United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815–1839) (Dutch: Verenigd Koninkrijk der Nederlanden, French: Royaume uni des Pays-Bas) was the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Dutch: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden,French: Royaume des Belgiques) during the period after it was first created from part of the First French Empire and before the new Kingdom of Belgium split off from it in 1830.
This state, a large part of which still exists today as the Kingdom of the Netherlands, was made up of the former Dutch Republic (Republic of the Seven United Netherlands) to the north, the former Austrian Netherlands to the south, and the former Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The House of Orange-Nassau came to be the monarchs of this new state.
During the Congress of Vienna in 1815 France had to give up its rule of the Southern Netherlands. These negotiations were not made easy, because William tried to get as much out of it as he could. His ideas of a United Netherlands were based upon the actions of Hendrik van der Noot, a lawyer and politician and one of the main players in the Revolution of the Southern Netherlands against the Austrian Emperor (1789–1790). In 1789, after the Southern Netherlands declared themselves independent, Hendrik knew this was a fragile state and he tried to be reunited with the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. Since then William had never forgotten this and after the fall of Napoleon he saw a chance.
Three different scenarios were made:
The first two scenarios came from "Memorandum of Holland" made in 1813 after the Battle of Leipzig. The last scenario came from William himself. The first scenario never made it because the Great Powers (Great Britain, Prussia, Austria and Russia) thought an independent Southern Netherlands/Belgium under an Austrian Prince was too weak and Austria was not interested in getting it back.
The Dutch question became a problem. The Great Powers of Europe chose the last scenario, but didn't want to go as far in enlarging the Netherlands as William had wanted. In the end, the Eight Articles of London granted William sovereignty over the following lands:
William was named Governor-General of the Austrian Netherlands including Liege, which he temporarily ruled for Prussia. It was later incorporated into the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Duchy of Luxembourg was not fully granted to William, because it was a member of the German Confederation. William however demanded that Luxembourg become a part of the Netherlands, as a unified Netherlands was stronger as a buffer for France. Historically it had been a part of the Seventeen Provinces or Burgundian Netherlands up to 1648, but Luxembourg was still a part of the discussions.
On 1 March 1815, while the Congress of Vienna was still going on, Napoleon escaped from Elba and he created a large army against the Great Powers of Europe. He was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo (at that time within the kingdom) by Prussian, British, Belgian, Dutch and Nassau (under the prince of Orange) troops.
In response, on 16 March 1815, William proclaimed the Netherlands a kingdom, with himself as King William I. Furthermore, on 31 May 1815, William concluded a treaty at the Congress of Vienna whereby he ceded the Principality of Orange-Nassau to the Kingdom of Prussia in exchange for the Duchy of Luxembourg. As part of the deal, the Duchy was elevated to a Grand Duchy in a personal and (until 1839) political union with the Netherlands - albeit remaining within the German Confederation, being garrisoned by Prussian troops on behalf of the Dutch king.
With the unification, William completed his family's three-century quest (started by his ancestor William the Silent in 1579) to unite the Low Countries under a single rule. After the liberation of the Netherlands in 1813 by Prussian and Russian troops, it was taken for granted that any new regime would have to be headed by William Frederik of Orange-Nassau, the son of the last stadtholder William V of Orange-Nassau and Princess Wilhelmina of Prussia. William returned to The Hague, where on 6 December he was offered the title of King.
William I (Willem Frederik, Prince of Orange-Nassau; 24 August 1772 – 12 December 1843) was a Prince of Orange and the first King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg. In Germany, he was ruler (as Fürst) of the Principality of Nassau-Orange-Fulda from 1803 until 1806 and of the Principality of Orange-Nassau in the year 1806 and from 1813 until 1815. In 1813 he proclaimed himself 'Sovereign Prince' of the "United Netherlands." He proclaimed himself King of the Netherlands and Duke of Luxembourg on 16 March 1815. In the same year on 9 June William I became also the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and after 1839 he was furthermore the Duke of Limburg. After his abdication in 1840 he styled himself King William Frederick, Count of Nassau.
William was named Governor-General of the Austrian Netherlands including Liege, which he temporarily ruled for Prussia. It was later incorporated into the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Duchy of Luxembourg was not fully granted to William, because it was a member of the German Confederation. William however demanded that Luxembourg become a part of the Netherlands, as a unified Netherlands was stronger as a buffer for France. Historically it had been a part of the Seventeen Provinces or Burgundian Netherlands up to 1648, but Luxembourg was still a part of the discussions. With the unification, William completed his family's three-century quest (started by his ancestor William the Silent in 1579) to unite the Low Countries under a single rule.
The United Kingdom of the Netherlands collapsed after the 1830 Belgian Revolution. William I, King of the Netherlands, would refuse to recognize a Belgian state until 1839, when he had to yield under pressure by theTreaty of London. Only at this time were exact borders agreed upon. Nowadays, the Benelux Union (created in 1944 between Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg) is in some ways a "distant heir" of the former United Kingdom of the Netherlands. Their respective political systems are very similar and Dutch is the official and vernacular language of 83% of its total population.
The newly formed kingdom was not like the Netherlands or Belgium today. Under the constitution, King William was both head of state and head of government, and had considerably more power than a King or Queen in a modern constitutional monarchy.
The Second Chamber of the States General of the Netherlands had 110 members. Despite the south's far greater population, both halves of the kingdom each elected 55 members—a source of considerable resentment in the south. The First Chamber was appointed by the king and consisted of old and new noblemen.
The Netherlands had eight ministers, who were responsible only to the King himself. In fact, they followed his demands. The King also could rule by "Royal Order".
The Royal family of Orange reigning now in the Netherlands, takes its roots in the 13th century. Since William I of Orange led the resistance Spanish rule in the Netherlandsin the 16th century, which resulted after prolonged wars in Netherlands remaining an independent republic, the House of Orange has a leading role in the country political life.
King William III (Willem Alexander Paul Frederik Lodewijk, anglicised: William Alexander Paul Frederick Louis; 19 February 1817 – 23 November 1890) was King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg from 1849 until his death in 1890. He was also the Duke of Limburg from 1849 until the abolition of the duchy in 1866. William was the son of King William II and Anna Pavlovna of Russia. On the abdication of his grandfather William I in 1840, he became the Prince of Orange. On the death of his father in 1849, he succeeded as King of the Netherlands.
William married his cousin Sophie of Württemberg in 1839 and they had three sons, William, Maurice, and Alexander, all of whom predeceased him. After Sophie's death in 1877 he married Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont in 1879 and they had one daughter Wilhelmina, who succeeded William to the Dutch throne.
Wilhelmina (Wilhelmina Helena Pauline Maria; 31 August 1880 – 28 November 1962) was Queen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 1890 to 1948. She reigned for nearly 58 years, longer than any other Dutch monarch. Her reign saw World War I and World War II, the economic crisis of 1933, and the decline of the Netherlands as a major colonial power. Outside the Netherlands she is primarily remembered for her role in World War II, in which she proved to be a great inspiration to the Dutch resistance.
Abdication of the throne has become a de facto tradition in the Dutch monarchy. Queen Wilhelmina and Queen Juliana both abdicated in favour of their daughters and William I abdicated in favor of his eldest son, William II. The only Dutch monarchs to die on the throne were William II and William III.
Juliana (Juliana Louise Emma Marie Wilhelmina; 30 April 1909 – 20 March 2004) was Queen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 1948 until 1980. She was the only child of Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Henry. She was married to German aristocrat Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, with whom she had four daughters: Princess Beatrix (born 1938), Princess Irene (born 1939), Princess Margriet (born 1943), and Princess Christina (born 1947). During the Second World War she lived in exile with her children in Ottawa, Canada.
She became Queen of the Netherlands with her mother's abdication in 1948 and was succeeded by Queen Beatrix after her own abdication in 1980. During her reign both Indonesia (Dutch East Indies) (proclaimed in 1945, recognized in 1949) and Suriname in 1975 became independent from the Netherlands. Her birthday was celebrated annually as Koninginnedag (Queen's Day). Upon her death at the age of 94, she was the longest-lived former reigning monarch in the world.
Beatrix (Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard, 31 January 1938) reigned as Queen of the Netherlands from 1980 until her abdication in 2013. Princess Beatrix is the eldest daughter of Queen Juliana and her husband, Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. Upon her mother's accession in 1948, she became heir presumptive. When her mother abdicated on 30 April 1980, Beatrix succeeded her as Queen.
She attended a public primary school in Canada during World War II, and then finished her primary and secondary education in the Netherlands in the post war period. In 1961, she received her law degree from Leiden University. In 1966, Beatrix married Claus von Amsberg, a German diplomat, with whom she had three children: Willem-Alexander, King of the Netherlands (b. 1967), Prince Friso (1968-2013) and Prince Constantijn (b. 1969). Prince Claus died in 2002. At the time of her abdication, Queen Beatrix was the eldest reigning monarch of the Netherlands.
Beatrix's reign saw the country's Caribbean possessions reshaped with Aruba's secession and becoming its own constituent country within the Kingdom in 1986 as well as the subsequent Antillean Dissolution in 2010, which created the new special municipalities of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba, and the two new constituent countries of Curaçao and Sint Maarten. On Koninginnedag (Queen's Day), 30 April 2013, Beatrix abdicated in favour of her eldest son Willem-Alexander.He is the first King of the Netherlands in 123 years.
Willem-Alexander (Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand; born 27 April 1967) is the King of the Netherlands. Willem-Alexander was born in Utrecht and is the eldest child of Princess Beatrix and Claus van Amsberg. He became Prince of Orange and heir apparent to the throne of the Netherlands on 30 April 1980, when his mother became queen regnant, and he ascended the throne on 30 April 2013 when his mother abdicated.
He went to public primary and secondary schools, served in the Royal Netherlands Navy, and studied history at Leiden University. He married Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti in 2002 and they have three daughters:Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange (born 2003), Princess Alexia (born 2005), and Princess Ariane (born 2007).
Willem-Alexander is interested in sports and international water management issues. Until his accession to the throne, he was a member of the International Olympic Committee (1998–2013), chairman of the Advisory Committee on Water to the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment (2004–2013), and chairman of the Secretary-General of the United Nations' Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (2006–2013).
History of Leiden
Leiden was formed on an artificial hill (today called the Burcht van Leiden) at the confluence of the rivers Oude and Nieuwe Rijn (Old and New Rhine). In the eldest reference to this, from circa 860, the settlement was called Leithon. The name is said to be from Germanic *leitha- "canal".
Leiden has in the past erroneously been associated with the Roman outpost Lugdunum Batavorum. This particular castellum was thought to be located at the Burcht of Leiden, and the city's name was thought to be derived of the Latin name Lugdunum. However the castellum was in fact closer to the town of Katwijk, whereas the Roman settlement near modern-day Leiden was called Matilo.
The landlord of Leiden, situated in a stronghold on the hill (motte), was initially subject to the Bishop of Utrecht but around 1100 the burgraves became subject to the county of Holland. This county got its name in 1101 from a domain near the stronghold: Holtland or Holland.
Leiden was sacked in 1047 by Emperor Henry III. Early 13th century, Ada, Countess of Holland took refuge here when she was fighting in a civil war against her uncle, William I, Count of Holland. He besieged the stronghold and captured Ada. Leiden received city rights in 1266. In 1389, its population had grown to about 4000 persons.
Siege of 1420
In 1420, during the Hook and Cod wars, Duke John III of Bavaria along with his army marched from Gouda in the direction of Leiden in order to conquer the city since Leiden did not pay the new Count of Holland Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut, his niece and only daughter of Count William VI of Holland.
Burgrave Filips of Wassenaar and the other local noblemen of the Hook faction assumed that the duke would besiege Leiden first and send small units out to conquer the surrounding citadels. But John of Bavaria chose to attack the citadels first.
He rolled the cannons with his army but one which was too heavy went by ship. By firing at the walls and gates with iron balls the citadels fell one by one. Within a week John of Bavaria conquered the castles of Poelgeest, Ter Does, Hoichmade, de Zijl, ter Waerd, Warmond and de Paddenpoel.
On 24 June the army appeared before the walls of Leiden. On 17 August 1420, after a two-month siege the city surrendered to John of Bavaria. The burgrave Filips of Wassenaar was stripped of his offices and rights and lived out his last years in captivity.
16th to 18th centuries
Leiden flourished in the 16th and 17th century. At the close of the 15th century the weaving establishments (mainly broadcloth) of Leiden were very important, and after the expulsion of the Spaniards Leiden cloth, Leiden baize and Leiden camlet were familiar terms. In the same period, Leiden developed an important printing and publishing industry. The influential printer Christoffel Plantijn lived there at one time. One of his pupils was Lodewijk Elzevir (1547–1617), who established the largest bookshop and printing works in Leiden, a business continued by his descendants through 1712 and the name subsequently adopted (in a variant spelling) by contemporary publisher Elsevier.
In 1567, the Duke of Alva was appointed governor of the Netherlands. When a string of towns declared for the prince in 1572, Alva sent an army on a punitive expedition to capture them and teach the offenders a lesson. While many towns opened their gates as soon as the Spaniards approached, some resisted and then the Spanish troops were merciless.
As at Zutphen, for example, which the Protestant rebels had captured, ransacking the churches and killing several priests. In November 1572, the Spanish army laid siege to Zutphen. Eventually, when the River IJssel froze, they marched into the city. What followed, was a bloodbath. Over five hundred people were drowned, pushed through holes in the ice; others were sent naked to freeze out in the open. Several towns in Holland suffered a similarly cruel fate, including Naarden and Oudewater.
In 1572, the city sided with the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule and played an important role in the Eighty Years' War. Besieged from May until October 1574 by the Spanish, Leiden was relieved by the cutting of the dikes, thus enabling ships to carry provisions to the inhabitants of the flooded town.
In the war (eventually called the Eighty Years' War) that had broken out, Dutch rebels took up arms against the king of Spain, whose family had inherited the Seven Provinces of the Netherlands. Most of the counties of Holland and Zeeland were occupied by rebels in 1572, who sought to end the harsh rule of the Spanish Duke of Alva, governor-general of the Netherlands. This territory had a very high density of cities, which were protected by huge defense works and by the boglands, which could easily be flooded.
The Duke of Alva tried to break resistance using brute force. He used Amsterdam as a base, as this was the only city in the country of Holland that had remained loyal to the Spanish government. Alva's cruel treatment of the population of Naarden and Haarlem was notorious. The rebels learned that no mercy was shown there and were determined to hold out as long as possible. The county of Holland was split in two when Haarlem was conquered by the Spanish after a costly seven-month siege. Thereafter, Alva attempted to conquer Alkmaar in the north, but the city withstood the Spanish attack. Alva then sent his officer Francisco de Valdez to attack the southern rebel territory, starting with Leiden. In the meantime, due to his failure to quell the rebellion as quickly as he had intended, Alva submitted his resignation, which king Philip accepted in December. The less harsh Luis de Zúñiga y Requesens replaced him as governor-general.
First siege of Leiden
The city of Leiden had plenty of food stored for the siege when it started in October 1573. The siege was very difficult for the Spanish, because the soil was too loose to dig holes, and the city defense works were hard to break. Defending Leiden was a Dutch States rebel army which consisted of English, Scottish and Huguenot French troops. The leader of the Dutch rebels, William the Silent, Prince of Orange, tried to relieve Leiden by sending an army into the Netherlands. Valdez halted the siege in April 1574 to face the invading rebel troops, but Sancho d'Avila reached them first and defeated the army of Orange in the Battle of Mookerheyde.
Second siege, and relief, of Leiden
During the brief respite from the siege, Orange had counselled the citizens of Leiden to restock their city with supplies, and take in a larger rebel garrison to help defend the town. They disregarded his advice however, with the result that when Valdez' army returned to continue the siege on May 26, 1574, they were in as poor a condition as they had been previously. The city considered surrendering, because there was almost no chance of relief and supplies were dwindling. The rebel army was defeated and the rebel territory was very small compared to the huge Spanish empire.
The Prince of Orange, however, was determined to relieve the city. Therefore he sent a carrier pigeon into the city pleading for it to hold out for three months. To fulfil this promise, he wished to break the dikes, allow the sea to flood the low lying land (in the same fashion that Alkmaar was saved), so that the siege could be lifted using the rebel fleet, and the Spaniards forced to retire before the incoming sea. But the damage to the surrounding countryside would be enormous, and therefore the population of the area resisted the cutting of the dikes.
However, in the end, the Prince prevailed and the outer dikes were broken on August 3. Previously, the Prince's Admiral Louis Boisot had assembled a fleet of more than two hundred small vessels, manned by 2,500 veteran Dutch seamen, and carrying a large store of provisions had been collected in preparation to lift the siege. Unfortunately, soon after the first dikes were broken, the Prince of Orange came down with a violent fever and as he was the moving force in all these machinations, the planned relief of the besieged city came to a grinding halt. More importantly, the flooding of the outskirts took longer than expected because the wind was not favourable. During this time, on August 21, the inhabitants of Leiden sent a message to the Prince saying that they had held out for three months, two with food and one without food. The Prince answered them, again by carrier pigeon that the dikes were all pierced and relief would come soon.
However, only by the first day of September, when the Prince had recovered from his ailment, did the expedition continue in earnest. More than 15 miles lay between the relieving rebel fleet and Leiden, but ten miles were covered without difficulty. On the night of September 10, the fleet came upon the Land-scheiding, which blocked their path to Leiden and captured it in a night surprise attack which was successful. The Spaniards had neglected to strongly fortify this important post. The next morning, the Spaniards counter attacked to try to regain the position but were repulsed with the loss of several hundred men. The dike was cut through, and the fleet proceeded through the breach towards Leiden.
Admiral Boisot and the Prince of Orange had been misinformed as to the lie of the lands, and had assumed that the rupture of the Land-scheiding would flood the country inland all the way to Leiden. Instead, the rebel flotilla once again found their path blocked, this time by the Greenway dike, less than a mile inland of the Land-scheiding, which was still a foot above the water level. Again however the Spaniards had left the dike largely undefended, and the Dutch broke though it without much difficulty. Unfortunately, due to easterly winds driving the water back seawards, and the ever growing surface area of the land that the water covered, the flooding was by this time so shallow that the fleet was all but stranded. The only way that was deep enough for them to proceed was by a canal, leading to a large inland lake called the Zoetermeer (Fresh Water Lake). This canal, and the bridge over it, were strongly defended by the Spaniards, and after a brief amphibious struggle, the Admiral gave up the venture. He dispatched a despondent message to the Prince, saying that unless the wind turned, and they could sail around the canal, they were lost.
Meanwhile, in the city, the inhabitants clamored for surrender when they saw that their countrymen had run aground. But Mayor van der Werff inspired his citizens to hold on, telling them they would have to kill him before the city could surrender, and telling him they could eat his arm if they were really that desperate. In fact thousands of inhabitants died of starvation. To add to their troubles, as so often happened in that age, the plague appeared in the city streets and near eight thousand died from that cause alone. The city only held out because they knew that the Spanish soldiers would massacre the whole population in any case, to set an example to the rest of the country, as had happened in Naarden and the other cities that had been sacked. Admiral Boisot sent a dove into the town, assuring them of speedy succor.
On the 18th the wind shifted again, and blowing strongly from the west, piled the sea against the dams. With the rising water level, the flotilla was soon able to make a circuit around the bridge and canal, and successfully enter the Zoetermeer. A succession of fortified villages now stood in the way of the patriot fleet, and the Dutch Admiral was afraid even now of losing his prize, but the Spaniards, panicked by the rising waters, barely offered any resistance. Every one of their strongholds, now become islands, were deserted by the Royalist troops in their flight, except for the village of Lammen. This was a small fort under the command of Colonel Borgia, and situated about three-quarters of a mile from the walls of Leiden.
This was a formidable obstacle, but fortunately for the Dutch rebels, the Spaniards, adept at land fighting and not amphibious warfare, had despaired of maintaining so unequal a contest against the combined forces of the sea and the veteran Dutch seamen. Accordingly the Spanish commander Valdez ordered a retreat in the night of October 2nd, and the army fled, rendered more fearful by a terrible crash they heard from the city, and assumed to be the men of Leiden breaking still another dam upon them. In fact, part of the wall of Leiden, eroded by the sea water, had fallen, leaving the city completely vulnerable to attack, had any chosen to remain.
The next day, the relieving rebels arrived at the city, feeding the citizens with herring and white bread. The people also feasted on hutspot (carrot and onion stew) in the evening. According to legend, a little orphan boy named Cornelis Joppenszoon found a cooking pot full with hutspot that the Spaniards had had to leave behind when they left their camp, the Lammenschans, in a hurry to escape from the rising waters.
In 1575, the Spanish treasury ran dry, so that the Spanish army could not be paid anymore and it mutinied. After the pillaging of Antwerp, the whole of the Netherlands rebelled against Spain. Leiden was once again safe.
The Leiden University was founded by William of Orange in recognition of the city's sacrifice in the siege. According to the ironical fiction still maintained by the Prince, that he was acting in behalf of his master Philip of Spain, against whom he was in fact in open rebellion, the university was endowed in the King's name.
The 3 October Festival is celebrated every year in Leiden. It is a festival, with a funfair and a dozen open air discos in the night. The municipality gives free herring and white bread to the citizens of Leiden.
As a reward for the heroic defence of the previous year, the University of Leiden was founded by William I of Orange in 1575. Yearly on 3 October, the end of the siege is still celebrated in Leiden. Tradition tells that the citizens were offered the choice between a university and a certain exemption from taxes and chose the university. The siege is notable also for being the first instance in Europe of the issuance of paper money, with paper taken from prayer books being stamped using coin dies when silver ran out.
Leiden is also known as the place where the Pilgrims (as well as some of the first settlers of New Amsterdam) lived (and operated a printing press) for a time in the early 17th century before their departure to Massachusetts and New Amsterdam in the New World.
In the 17th century, Leiden prospered, in part because of the impetus to the textile industry by refugees from Flanders. While the city had lost about a third of its 15,000 citizens during the siege of 1574, it quickly recovered to 45,000 inhabitants in 1622, and may have come near to 70,000 circa 1670. During the Dutch Golden Era, Leiden was the second largest city of Holland, after Amsterdam.
From the late 17th century onwards Leiden slumped, mainly due to the decline of the cloth industries. In the beginning of the 19th century the baize manufacture was altogether given up, although industry remained central to Leiden economy. This decline is painted vividly by the fall in population. The population of Leiden had sunk to 30,000 between 1796 and 1811, and in 1904 was 56,044.
From the 17th to the early 19th century, Leiden was the publishing place of one of the most important contemporary journals, Nouvelles Extraordinaires de Divers Endroits, known also as Gazette de Leyde.
19th and 20th century
On 12 January 1807, a catastrophe struck the city when a boat loaded with 17,400 kg (38,360 lb) of gunpowder blew up in the middle of Leiden. 151 persons were killed, over 2000 were injured and some 220 homes were destroyed. King Louis Bonaparte personally visited the city to provide assistance to the victims. Although located in the center of the city, the area destroyed remained empty for many years. In 1886 the space was turned into a public park, the Van der Werff park.
In 1842, the railroad from Leiden to Haarlem was inaugurated and one year later the railway to Den Haag was completed, resulting in some social and economic improvement. Perhaps the most important piece of Dutch history contributed by Leiden was the Constitution of the Netherlands. Johan Rudolf Thorbecke (1798–1872) wrote the Dutch Constitution in April 1848 in his house at Garenmarkt 9 in Leiden.
Leiden's reputation as the "city of books" continued through the 19th century with the establishment of publishing dynasties by Evert Jan Brill and Albertus Willem Sijthoff. Sijthoff, who rose to prominence in the trade of translated books, wrote a letter in 1899 to Queen Wilhelmina regarding his opposition to becoming a signatory to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. He felt that international copyright restrictions would stifle the Dutch publishing industry.
Leiden began to expand beyond its 17th-century moats around 1896 and the number of citizens surpassed 50,000 in 1900. After 1920, new industries were established in the city, such as the canning and metal industries. During World War II, Leiden was hit hard by Allied bombardments. The areas surrounding the railway station and Marewijk were almost completely destroyed.
Leiden (Historical Leyden) is a city and municipality in the Dutch province of South Holland. The municipality of Leiden has a population of 122,000, but the city forms one densely connected agglomeration with its suburbs Oegstgeest, Leiderdorp, Voorschoten and Zoeterwoude with around 190,000 inhabitants. Leiden is located on the Old Rhine, at a distance of some 20 kilometres (12 miles) from The Hague to its south and some 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Amsterdam to its north. The recreational area of the Kaag Lakes (Kagerplassen) lies just to the northeast of Leiden.
A university city since 1575, Leiden houses Leiden University, the eldest university of the Netherlands, and Leiden University Medical Centre. It is twinned with Oxford, the location of England's eldest university.
The city's biggest and most popular annual festival is celebrated at 3 October and is called simply 3 Oktober. The people of Leiden celebrate the end of the Spanish siege of 1574. It typically takes place over the course of two to three days (usually two but three if there's a Sunday involved) and includes parades, a hutspot feast, historical reenactments, a funfair and other events. The city has recently started to host the Leiden International Film Festival, the fastest growing festival of its type in the Netherlands.
Leiden has important functions as a shopping and trade center for communities around the city. The University of Leiden is famous for its many developments including Snells law (by Willebrord Snellius), the famous Leyden jar, a capacitor made from a glass jar, invented in Leiden by Pieter van Musschenbroek in 1746. Another development was in cryogenics: Heike Kamerlingh Onnes (1913 Nobel prize winner in physics) liquefied helium for the first time (1908) and later managed to reach a temperature of less than one degree above the absolute minimum. Albert Einstein also spent some time at Leiden University during his early to middle career.
The city also houses the Eurotransplant, the international organization responsible for the mediation and allocation of organ donation procedures in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Slovenia. Leiden also houses the headquarters of Airbus Group, a global pan-European aerospace and defence corporation and a leading defence and military contractor worldwide. The group includes Airbus, the leading manufacturer of commercial aircraft worldwide.
Rivers, canals and parks
The two branches of the Old Rhine, which enter Leiden on the east, unite in the centre of the town. The town is further intersected by numerous small canals with tree-bordered quays. On the west side of the town, the Hortus Botanicus and other gardens extend along the old Singel, or outer canal. The Leidse Hout park, which contains a small deer park, lies on the northwest border with Oegstgeest. The Van der Werf Park is named after the mayor Pieter Adriaansz. van der Werff, who defended the town against the Spaniards in 1574. The town was beleaguered for months and many died from famine. The open space for the park was formed by the accidental explosion of a ship loaded with gunpowder in 1807, which destroyed hundreds of houses, including that of the Elsevier family of printers.
Buildings of interest
Because of the economic decline from the 17th to the early 20th century, much of the 16th- and 17th-century town centre is still intact. It is reportedly the second largest 17th-century town centre in the Netherlands, the largest being Amsterdam's town centre.
At the strategically important junction of the two arms of the Old Rhine stands the old castle de Burcht, a circular tower built on an earthen mound. The mound probably was a refuge against high water before a small wooden fortress was built on top of it in the 11th century. The citadel is a so-called motte-and-bailey castle. Of Leiden's old city gates only two are left, the Zijlpoort and the Morspoort, both dating from the end of the 17th century. Apart from one small watch tower on the Singel nothing is left of the town's city walls. Another former fortification is the Gravensteen. Built as a fortress in the 13th century it has since served as house, library and prison. Presently it is one of the University's buildings.
The chief of Leiden's numerous churches are the Hooglandse Kerk (or the church of St Pancras, built in the 15th century and containing a monument to Pieter Adriaansz. van der Werff) and the Pieterskerk (church of St Peter (1315) with monuments to Scaliger, Boerhaave and other famous scholars. From a historical perspective the Marekerk is interesting too. Arent van 's Gravesande designed that church in 1639. Other fine examples of his work in Leiden are in the Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal (the municipal museum of fine arts), and the Bibliotheca Thysiana. The growing town needed another church and the Marekerk was the first church to be built in Leiden (and in Holland) after the Reformation. It is an example of Dutch Classicism. In the drawings by Van 's Gravesande the pulpit is the centrepiece of the church. The pulpit is modelled after the one in the Nieuwe Kerk at Haarlem (designed by Jacob van Campen). The building was first used in 1650, and is still in use. The 'Waalse Kerk' (Breestraat 63) was originally part of the Katharina Hospital. In 1584 it became the church of Protestant refugees from the Southern Netherlands (Brugge) and France.
The town centre contains many buildings that are in use by the University of Leiden. The Academy Building is housed in a former 16th-century convent. Among the institutions connected with the university are the national institution for East Indian languages, ethnology and geography; the botanical gardens, founded in 1587; the observatory (1860); the museum of antiquities (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden); and the ethnographical museum, of which P. F. von Siebold's Japanese collections was the nucleus (Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde). The Bibliotheca Thysiana occupies an oldRenaissance building of the year 1655. It is especially rich in legal works and vernacular chronicles. Noteworthy are also the many special collections at Leiden University Library among which those of the Society of Dutch Literature (1766) and the collection of casts and engravings. In recent years the university has built the Bio Science Park at the city's outskirts to accommodate the Science departments.
Some other interesting buildings are the town hall (Stadhuis), a 16th-century building that was badly damaged by a fire in 1929 but has its Renaissance façade designed by Lieven de Key still standing; the Gemeenlandshuis van Rijnland (1596, restored in 1878); De Waag (weigh house in Dutch), built by Pieter Post; the former court-house (Gerecht); a corn-grinding windmill, now home to a museum (Molen de Valk) (1743); the old gymnasium(Latijnse School) (1599) and the city carpenter's yard and wharf (Stadstimmerwerf) (1612), both built by Lieven de Key (c. 1560–1627). Another building of interest is the "pesthuis", which was built at that time just outside the city for curing patients suffering the bubonic plague. However, after it was built the feared disease did not occur in the Netherlands anymore so it was never used for its original purpose, it now serves as the entrance ofNaturalis, one of the largest natural history museums in the world.
Leiden or Leyden  is a town in the Netherlands. The city is known for its oldest university in the country, the birthplace of Rembrandt and its beautiful, old city centre (the second biggest after Amsterdam). It is a friendly, small city which has a large population of students.
A population of just over 100,000, and just under 20,000 students makes Leiden one of the Netherlands few true student towns (to go along with Groningen and Delft). Leiden University is the Netherlands oldest university, founded in the 16th Century to commemorate the resistance of its townsfolk to the Spanish siege, its buildings are dotted around town in and out of the city centre. This gives Leiden a relatively young and internationally diverse population, especially with the university having a particularly strong law and medical faculty. The LUMC is located right behind central station. Its vibrant student population means Leiden is never short of a great place for a drink. However Leiden's Dutch students are notorious for being dominated by its 'Studenten verenigingen' (fraternities) which means many international students choose to go to nearby Amsterdam, or the Hague for late night partying.
Leiden is best reached by train. The journey takes 10-15 minutes from The Hague, and 20 minutes from Schiphol Airport, the principal airport in the Netherlands. The journey from Amsterdam takes between 30 and 40 minutes.
Most trains arrive at Leiden Centraal, which is 500m North-West of the City Center, and 1km from the City Hall. Leiden Lammenschans station (relatively small station on the line to Alphen and Utrecht) is on the opposite side of the city center, just over 1km from the City Hall. If you do not feel like walking from the station to the centre you can take a bus (ask which ones go to the Breestraat bus stop); this costs €1 during off hours.
In spite of the two highways around Leiden (A4 and A44), the centre of Leiden isn't easy to reach by car. It is best to try and park your car at the transferium (FREE parking) and continue your journey by bus. For this transferium you have to follow the A44 and then take exit 8 (Katwijk, Leiden Transferium). There are also parking lots on the Morsweg (south-west of the town centre) and on the Langegracht (north of town centre, near the station). These parking lots are crowded though, and there's no guarantee there will be space here, especially during the summer. Otherwise there are parking lots at the Groenoordhallen and Haagweg from where free shuttle buses run to the city centre. In the city center the parking fares are expensive. Also outside the old city center (inside the 'Singel' canal) parking is not free in most cases. Only far away from the centre will free parking be found. A normal charge is €4,60 per hour. Leiden is perpetually rebuilding main roads and areas around the centre, making it very difficult to drive by car. The never ending rebuilding of main roads also guarantees major daily traffic jams at the rush hours.
Leiden train station is a central hub for the local bus network, so if you want to go anywhere local your best bet is to go here and ask around. It is worth buying an 'OV' card at the station, which is a sort of chip card that can pay buses and trains everywhere in the Netherlands.
Everything is easily reached on foot and the city is positively charming as a walking pleasure. Alternatively you can rent a bike at the railway station's bike shops.
Leiden is one of the most important museum cities in the Netherlands. Three national museums are located in Leiden, among others, that worth to visit. All major museums are within 10-15 minutes of walking distance from the central station.
if you intend to stay for longer period of time in the Netherlands and your affection is on visiting museums, then it is advised to apply for the 1-year museum card (museumjaarkaart). The museum card is only for €45 for first time cardholders and you gain free access to more than 400 museums at anytime. You can buy this card at any major museum.
There are two wonderful ways to stroll the old centre of Leiden. One way is to print out a paper guide that will guide you along the poems on the wall, the Muurgedichten. In 1992, the painting project was started and it was recently finished. More than 80 poems from all over the world are painted on the walls of houses. The tour will show you about 25 poems, the whole tour taking about two hours. The guide is downloadable at .
The other way is to take a tour along the courtyards that are often hidden behind the facades of houses. The Hofjeswandeling will start at the Burcht in the city centre all year round on Sundays at two, and from March until October on Tuesdays and Thursdays at two. The costs of the tour are €2.25 for adults and children (-12 years) for free. No need to buy tickets, just be present at the starting time. The tour will take about two hours.
A boat trip through the canals is also a wonderful thing to do. There are many canals, and they lead you by the most beautiful streets of the city centre. You can buy tickets for the canal cruises at the Beestenmarkt, just two minutes from the Central Station. There you can also go aboard.
A comprehensive program of all of the festivals and activities can be found on city council website. 
Leiden is home to the Netherlands' oldest university, Leiden University, which was founded in 1575. Internationally recognised, Leiden University houses more than 40 national and international research institutes. The university is particularly well known for its law programs, and has a very strong medical faculty, attracting students from all over Europe. The international community is very strong, organising great parties throughout the year. For more information about studying as an international student at Leiden read the leidener , a blog run by some international students.
Haarlemmerstraat and Breestraat are the main shopping streets at the heart of the city center. They are both reachable within 10-15 min. walking from the central station. Shops include bookstores, fashion shops and other ordinary shopping items. In the areas around the Pieterskerk and Hooglandsekerk, small boutiques and antique shops are worth a visit. On Monday, shops open late from 12 noon until 5 or 6PM. All the shops are open on every Sunday (Only a few smaller shops remain closed). On Thursday, shops are open late, till around 9PM (koopavond).
On Saturdays from 07:00 and on Wednesdays from 12:00, there is an open market along the canal between the Nieuwe Rijn and Vismarkt streets. They sell vegetables, fruits, fish, flowers, bread, meat, you name it.
Leiden has a lot of restaurants and bars. Especially in the Pieterswijk (the east side of the Breestraat) are a lot of cosy restaurants.
Some of the restaurants in Leiden:
For fast(er) food lovers there are several options:
If you don't find anything of your liking above, there's a plethora of places offering anything from French fries to Shoarma and Pizza and yes; there is a McDonald's (two in fact).
The city is full of students, and cafes and bars are clearly by far the most frequented 'faculty'. There is a healthy and lively cafe and night life. You cannot help wondering if the students actually get time to study from time to time between the many festivities and drink parties all over town. If you are out for a drink, you will not be disappointed.
Music and clubs
Like every other town in the Netherlands Leiden doesn't lack the presence of Coffeeshops. This town definitely has a few nice options if you're interested.
Some cafes and fast food places have free wifi. Ask the cafe staff for advice. Leiden is a student town, free wifi is highly appreciated there. There are also 'hot spots' e.g. at the station, however, these are run by the previous state monopoly 'KPN'. It is complicated and expensive to get access at these KPN wifi hot spots.
In addition to cafes, a reliable and free wifi can be found at the La Place restaurant inside the Vroom and Dressmann (V&D) store next to the town hall.
Leiden is a city in the Green Heart (Groene Hart) between the largest cities in Holland. It is surrounded by green meadows, little villages, and, in spring time, the world famous flower fields. From Leiden Central Station a bus (number 54) goes directly to theKeukenhof, an enormous park open from the end of March until the end of May, in which more than 7 million flower bulbs bloom. But you can also take your car or rent a bike and find the fields yourself. The route will lead you through lovely villages.
Leiden is also very close to the beach. Katwijk aan Zee and Noordwijk aan Zee are the closest seaside villages, at just 20 minutes by car. Be aware that on beautiful summer days, the car will probably be stuck in traffic. You can also take a bicycle, which will take you approximately 45 minutes.
Basic facts about Amsterdam
Although the seat of Netherlands government is in The Hague, Amsterdam is the nominal capital. It is also the country's largest city, with a population of more than 820,000, and the most visited, with over 3,5 million foreign visitors a year.
The Netherlands is a country situated in Western Europe, bordering Belgium to the south and Germany to the east. To its north and west is the North Sea. Although the Netherlands is the country's official name, people often call it Holland. The provinces of North Holland and South Holland form only part of the Netherlands.
The warmest weather is from June to August, with temperatures between 21 - 26 degrees Celsius. There are rarely extreme temperatures. The air is relatively humid and fog is common in autumn and spring. There are stronger winds from October to March. Click for weather forecast.
Amsterdam, probably the most planned city of northern Europe, has long been a well-known city. In the 17th century Amsterdam was the centre of world economy, and nowadays the city is known for its tolerant character.
A Dutch holiday can add a festive note to your trip, particularly if it involves a parade or special observance somewhere in the country. But expect banks, shops, and most museums to be closed, and public transportation to operate on Sunday schedules for the listed holidays.
Amsterdam is where modern architecture developed organically between facades of historical buildings. Since it is not a big city, all sites of interest are within an acceptable distance. This is why Amsterdam is so popular with lovers of architecture.
The symbol of Amsterdam are three x shaped Saint Andrew crosses.
An overview of institutions providing Dutch lessons in Amsterdam. Prices, duration of the courses and quality of the courses vary, however, they are nevertheless all helpful for acquiring the native language of the Dutch.
Amsterdam has two research universities and several schools of higher professional education offering programmes from Dentistry to Arts and Design. Follow our guide to student life in Amsterdam dealing with the fields of study and admissions requirements to Universities, student organizations, grants and scholarships, student hotspots and, most importantly, finding a place to live and employment in this cosmopolitan city.
To find a job in Amsterdam might be a difficult task, especially for a non-Dutch speaker. Now there are several agencies intermediating jobs for the international companies, where knowledge of Dutch language is not required. Learn here what you need before you apply for a job and see some job vacancies.
Creative writing workshop
This spring join one of wordsinhere’s two 10-week creative writing courses. Not keen to commit to 10 weeks? Try our 1-day workshops in performance, poetry, short story, screenwriting, and writing for young adults. Free Open Days will be held at The English Bookshop on 2 and 16 February (3-5pm) where you can meet the teachers, get more information and register. Or check out the course descriptions at www.wordsinhere.com and register electronically via email: email@example.com! Registration closes 24 February.
Dutch is the national language of Holland, in addition is the mother tongue of well over 21 million Dutch people and Flemish people (Dutch- speaking nationals of Belgium). There are many online courses and schools for learning Dutch, some held by University of Amsterdam / Dutch for Fereigners.
The Jordaan is compared to the rest of the town an oasis of peace with a labyrinth of narrow streets and little canals, nice for strolling around courtyards, art studios, and monumental buildings with stone tablets, old-fashioned ‘brown’ pubs, boutiques, markets or galleries. It used to be a ghetto with many artisans and small shopkeepers. Most of these people left for other districts and cities like Almere and Purmerend where they could rent bigger and modern houses. After a large renovation the Jordaan was discovered by a new generation occupants: artists, students, and young entrepreneurs.
Public Library Amsterdam
Openbare bibliothek Amsterdam (OBA) ie Public library is a good place to spend 30 minutes online (Free Internet for everybody) also for reading news papers or take some serious studies. The central library is located on Oosterdokskade 143, which is east of Central Station.
History of Leiden University
The University of Amsterdam (UvA) has a long history. It evolved from the Athenaeum Illustre (founded in 1632) and is now one of the largest comprehensive universities in Europe. The "Agnieten Chapel" (Agnietenklooster) was built in 1470. The chapel is all that remains of the "Agnieten Chapel" (Agnietenklooster), that was illustrated by Cornelis Anthonisz in 1544. It was remodelled in 1631 to become the "Atheneaeum Illustre", which was the same year the old gate from 1571 was moved. Though it is considered the predecessor to the University of Amsterdam, it was not possible to earn a degree there and it wasn't lawfully recognized for diplomas until 1815. It wasn't until 1877 that it was recognized for doctorates, and that was the same year the name was changed to "Gemeentelijke Universiteit van Amsterdam". Professors were appointed by the city council and the mayor of Amsterdam was chairman of the board. This situation remained in place until 1961, when the financial responsibility for the school reverted to the national ministry of education.
At the foundation of the Athenaeum Illustre, the City Library was moved to the attics of the Agnietenkapel and thus formed the origin of the present University Library. Athenaeum Illustre, (or Amsterdamse Atheneum) was a city-sponsored 'illustrous school' founded after the Beeldenstorm" in the old "Agnieten Chapel" on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal 231 in Amsterdam.
In Dutch "Beeldenstorm", roughly translatable to "Statue Storm", or "Bildersturm" in German ("image/ statue storm"), also the "Iconoclastic Fury", is a term used for outbreaks of destruction of religious images that occurred in Europe in the 16th century. During these spates of iconoclasm, Catholic art and many forms of church fittings and decoration were destroyed in unofficial or mob actions by Calvinist Protestant crowds as part of the Protestant Reformation. Most of the destruction was of art in churches and public places.
Famous scientists such as Caspar Barlaeus, Gerardus Vossius, and Petrus Camper taught here. Established in 1632 by municipal authorities and later renamed for the city of Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam is the third-eldest university in the Netherlands. It is one of the largest research universities in Europe with 29,783 students, 4,629 staff, and an endowment of € 613.5 million.It is the largest university in the Netherlands by enrollment and has the second-largest university endowment in the country. The main campus is located in central Amsterdam, with a few faculties located in adjacent boroughs. The university is organised into seven faculties: Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Economics and Business, Science, Law, Medicine, and Dentistry.
The University of Amsterdam has produced six Nobel Laureates and five prime ministers of the Netherlands. In 2014, it was ranked 50th in the world, 15th in Europe, and 1st in the Netherlands by the QS World University Rankings. The university placed in the top 50 worldwide in seven fields in the 2011 QS World University Rankings in the fields of Linguistics, Sociology, Philosophy, Geography, Science, Economics & Econometrics, and Accountancy & Finance.
Close ties are harbored with other institutions internationally through its membership in the League of European Research Universities (LERU), the Institutional Network of the Universities from the Capitals of Europe (UNICA), European University Association (EUA), the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), and Universitas.
Those in the know are quick to agree: Amsterdam is an unbeatable choice for student life. Nowhere else will you find this heady mix of international population, thrilling nightlife, historic and hypermodern arts and culture, soothing nature and architectural beauty. And the Amsterdam Business School is located in the middle of it all. The ABS's strong international network and the University's excellent ties with the city's leading businesses each contribute to your job prospects inside and outside the Netherlands. You'll never forget - let alone regret - your time here.
The University of Amsterdam and the city of Amsterdam are closely intertwined. UvA’s Economics and Business is situated on the Amsterdam Roeterseiland Campus, in the eastern part of the city centre. The UvA is making considerable investments in the redevelopment of the campus, making it a knowledge hub for Economics and Business, Law and Social and Behavioural Sciences. Clustering these disciplines promotes efficient exchange of knowledge and better collaboration, while also offering access to the many unique meeting places the city has to offer. Numerous buildings are being renovated and the outdoor area is also being redesigned.
This lively campus is easily reached by public transport. It is surrounded by numerous trendy bars and restaurants, along with well-known attractions like Artis (the Amsterdam zoo), the Hortus botanical gardens, the fascinating Tropen museum and the famous Hermitage museum. Study-related matters are supported by a large library, several bookstores and a copy shop.
The people are the essential ingredient for having an incredible experience – in such a multicultural city as Amsterdam, networking should be a priority, especially for students. As it is crucial for learning about other people and cultures and just having as much fun as possible. Having drive, passion and fun in whatever you do is paramount to being happy and making others happier. The atmosphere of being a student in Amsterdam and living on campus is very desirable.
For an extensive list of all available scholarships in the Netherlands, visit the Grantfinder at the website of NUFFIC.
International Student Societies
Academic Student Associations
– Financial Student Association (FSA) – The FSA hosts events for business students especially if you are interested in Finance Consulting, Accounting and Banking. Each year the FSA hosts an international research project which is open to all members. To become an active member you must speak Dutch.
– Marketing Association Amsterdam (MAA) – For marketing orientated students. As well as professional events such as Amsterdam Marketing Event, Students’ Den etc, MAA also hosts social activities. They offer training and development opportunities. Their research project of 2012 will be held in Vietnam.
– Aureus – The student association for the Business and Economics school (FEWEB), it offers social and professional events for both Dutch and International students. Proficiency in Dutch is not required to become an active member. It is also possible to become a writer for their magazine Avenir. Aureus also hosts some events throughout the year including the Amsterdam Academic Conference.
Each society allows you to become an active member but an application with a CV and Cover Letter is required.
For Master students from the Business School (FEWEB), there is the possibility to undertake an MBA Summer Exchange in the USA at the University of Notre Dame.
For international internship opportunities see AIESEC.
SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise)
If you are looking for student jobs you can tutor privately, see STUDENTIFY
You may also like this comprehensive guide of learning Dutch: STUDENTIFY .
Partying comes at a high rate, especially if you live at Uilenstede. With the majority of international students living on campus at Uilenstede, it is impossible not to attend a party or dinner every week.
There is so much to do in Amsterdam. For more information visit: IAMSTERDAM
Cheap airlines throughout Europe
Find out more about accommodation options in Amsterdam
|Average rent in University-managed accommodation:||€300–€550 per month|
|Internet access on the University of Amsterdam campus:||FREE|
|Transport by bike:||FREE|
|Student meal at the student restaurant Agora:||€4.00|
|Drinks at the Student Café Krater:||€1.60|
|Unlimited access to fitness facilities for one year at the University Sports Centre:||€154 per year|
The University of Amsterdam has many student associations catering to a variety of student needs including social clubs, career and study societies and cultural and sporting societies. Some of the most prominent of these include:
The ASVA is the student union for all UvA students and supports a range of study and student guilds, both social and academic. For more information see www.asva.nl.
ISN is an organisation run by Dutch students for international students studying in Amsterdam. Their goal is to optimize the social-cultural integration of international students into Dutch society. They organize weekly activities for students, provide information on housing and work, run a coaching and mentoring system and publish a magazine all about (student) life in Amsterdam. For more information see www.isn-amsterdam.nl.
The ISC is run by current bachelor students and they organize social events for all students as well as a mentoring programme for first-year students. For more information see the University of Amsterdam website.
There are a number of student clubs and organisations at FEB under the umbrella of SEFA. These organise international study trips, company visits, career weeks, conferences, seminars, skills training and internships. For more information see www.sefa.nl.
CREA organises courses and workshops in music, theatre, dance, visual arts, photography, literature and new media. CREA also organises a weekly Studium Generale programme on subjects related to art, science and society. For more information see www.crea.uva.nl.
Find out about International Students' Trips more by visiting the ONCAMPUS Amsterdam Blog