Top 5 Highlights Leiden

1. Mural Poetry Walk

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This walk along the mural poetry passes about 25 of Leiden's 101 mural poetry sites. The walk is also offered in digital format via

The mural poetry is written in different languages and intended for everyone. Most poems have a sign underneath with a Dutch and English translation. Passers-by will be stimulated by the poem itself and by the visual impression of the letters and the background of the wall. They will be confronted by different scripts, referring to other cultures. Many poems give a reflection of language, colour or the art of poetry.

2. Museum of Ethnology (Volkenkunde)

A world trip in one's own country; from Indonesia to Africa and from North America to China. There are art treasures from thousands of years ago, images of Incas and Aztecs, Chinese paintings and African bronzes to be admired. From as early as 1837, the National Museum of Ethnology has been housing world-famous collections regarding wide-ranging non-Western cultures. The museum manages more than 240,000 objects and 500,000 audiovisual sources from all over the world. In addition to the permanent exhibition halls with the icons from Ethnology, there is always a temporary exhibition.

3. Rapenburg

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This canal, Rapenburg, was dug not long after 1200, in order to effectively defend the relatively new city of Leiden. During the seventeenth century, it became the most important and prestigious canal of the city. This is where rich traders and famous professors lived, such as doctor Herman Boerhaave and Japan researcher Von Siebold. These 'dignitaries' had exquisite town houses built here. Some eighteenth-century geographers even described Rapenburg as the most beautiful place in the world.

4. Leiden Schouwburg

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On 1 October 1705, Leiden Schouwburg opened its doors at Oude Vest.

In 1865, a major refurbishment followed and the hall got its current horseshoe shape, inspired by Italian theatres. With the latest refurbishment in 1997, Leiden Schouwburg returned to the traditional red velvet, chandeliers and golden ornaments from the nineteenth century.

Leiden Schouwburg is the Netherlands' oldest theatre and has a unique atmosphere. It offers a varied programme of plays, dance, musical, cabaret and theatre concerts. In addition to the Leiden Cabaret Festival, there are also a lot of premiers taking place here, giving this atmospheric theatre a national character.


‘OPEN’ is organised ten times per year: a festival that marries culture and shopping on the last Sunday of the month. On these Sundays, visitors have the opportunity to experience the unique combination of a cultural festival and shopping.