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flag  History of Leiden, Netherlands

Journey back in time to Leiden, Netherlands

(Holland) (Leyden)

Visit Leiden, Netherlands. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.

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Leiden, Netherlands -

Fun facts:

A common nickname for the city is 'the Key City', referring to the two keys in the city's coat of arms.

Leiden has the oldest theatre in the Netherlands, Leiden Schouwburg, built in 1705.

Leiden also has the oldest university in the Netherlands. In 1575, William of Orange offered Leiden's citizens the University of Leiden for its heroic resistance during the siege by the Spanish.

There is MUCH more to discover about Leiden, Netherlands. Read on!

Leiden Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards

Leiden, Netherlands


Leiden, Netherlands


Leiden, Netherlands


Discover Leiden: History, News, Travel, and Stories

Add informationAdd History/News/Story
  • In 1572, the city of Leiden sided with the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule and played an important role in the Eighty Years' War.
  • The University of Leiden was founded by William I of Orange in 1575
  • On 12 January 1807, a catastrophe struck the city when a boat loaded with 17,400 kilograms of gunpowder blew up in the middle of Leiden.
    151 persons were killed, over 2,000 were injured and some 220 homes were destroyed.
  • In 1842, the railroad from Leiden to Haarlem was inaugurated
  • Johan Rudolf Thorbecke (1798–1872) wrote the Dutch Constitution in April 1848 in his house at Garenmarkt 9 in Leiden.
  • 1895 - Leyden / Leiden
    Leyden, or Leiden, li'den (Fr. Leyde, lèd or laid; L. Lugdu'num Batavo'rum), a city of the Netherlands, in South Holland, 22 miles S.W. of Amsterdam, and 17 miles N. of Rotterdam (with both of which it is connected by canals and railways), on the Old Rhine, 6 miles from its mouth in the North Sea. Lat. 52° 9' 30" N.; lon. 4°29' 30' E. Its old walls and fortifications have been removed. Leyden is intersected by canals, and encompassed by wind mills, country-seats, pleasure-grounds, gardens, and fertile meadows...
    Lippincott's Gazetteer of the World: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World Containing Notices of Over One Hundred and Twenty-five Thousand Places ... Joseph Thomas January 1, 1895 J.B. Lippincott

  • 2023 - Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking to immerse yourself in the local culture, there are plenty of places to visit and things to do in Leiden. Here's a list to get you started:
    Leiden's Canals: Start your exploration of Leiden by strolling along its beautiful canals. The city is often referred to as "Little Amsterdam" due to its similar canal network, and you can enjoy a leisurely walk or even take a canal cruise to see the city from a different perspective.

    Leiden University: Visit the renowned Leiden University, one of the oldest in Europe, founded in 1575. Explore the historic buildings and the botanical garden, known as the Hortus Botanicus, which is home to a diverse collection of plants.

    Molen de Valk: This iconic windmill, also known as the Falcon Windmill, is a symbol of Leiden. You can tour the windmill and learn about its history and the milling process while enjoying panoramic views of the city from the top.

    Pieterskerk (St. Peter's Church): Explore this impressive Gothic church, which dates back to the 14th century. The church hosts various events and exhibitions and is a beautiful place to appreciate the city's history and... Read MORE...

Discover Your Roots: Leiden Ancestry

Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in Leiden, Netherlands

We currently have information about ancestors who were born or died in Leiden.

View Them Now (sorted by year of birth)

male ancestorMoses William SIMMONS (1570, Leiden, Netherlands (Holland) (Leyden) - 1625, Leiden, Netherlands (Holland) (Leyden))
female ancestorLydia HOLLAND (1574, , Devon County, England (Devonshire) - 1604, Leiden, Netherlands (Holland) (Leyden))
male ancestorGerard DE FOREST (1583, Avesnes, Pas-de-Calais, France - 11 December 1654, Leiden, Netherlands (Holland) (Leyden))
female ancestorSarah REDER (1585, Canterbury, England - 11 October 1616, Leiden, Netherlands (Holland) (Leyden))
male ancestorThomas SIMMONS (1602, Leiden, Netherlands (Holland) (Leyden) - 17 June 1682, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
male ancestorPhillippe DE LANNOY (DELANO) (1602, Leiden, Netherlands (Holland) (Leyden) - 22 August 1681, Duxbury, Massachusetts, USA (Cedar Crest) (South Duxbury) (West Duxbury))
male ancestorMoses SIMMONS (1/1/1604, Leiden, Netherlands (Holland) (Leyden) - 1690, Duxbury, Massachusetts, USA (Cedar Crest) (South Duxbury) (West Duxbury))
female ancestorJane COOKE (1605, Leiden, Netherlands (Holland) (Leyden) - , )
female ancestorSarah UNKNOWN CHANDLER? (1606, Leiden, Netherlands (Holland) (Leyden) - bet. 1673-1689, Duxbury, Massachusetts, USA (Cedar Crest) (South Duxbury) (West Duxbury))

Ancestors Who Were Married in Leiden, Netherlands

We currently have information about ancestors who were married in Leiden.

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male ancestorIsaac ALLERTON (1586 - February 1658) and female ancestorMary NORRIS (1590 - 25 February 1621) married 4 November 1611
male ancestorGeorge MORTON (1585 - 2 June 1624) and female ancestorJuliana CARPENTER (7 March 1584 - 19 February 1665) married 23 July 1612
male ancestorJohn JENNEY (1589 - 1643) and female ancestorSarah CAREY (1590 - 4 April 1656) married 1 November 1614
male ancestorRoger CHANDLER (4 April 1580 - 1665) and female ancestorIsabella CHILTON (15 January 1586 - 1665) married 21 July 1615
photo of Edward WINSLOW Edward WINSLOW (18 October 1595 - 8 May 1655) and female ancestorElizabeth BARKER (1597 - 24 March 1621) married 16 May 1618
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Updated: 9/13/2023 8:47:51 PM

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