StudyLink logoHome
Students on a university campus

Universities in Leiden, the Netherlands

Image of a city skyline with a large church in the background and a paved path in the foreground
Leiden is known for its historic architecture, and is home to the oldest university in the Netherlands, Leiden University.

Leiden is a city in the South Holland region of the Netherlands with an urban population of just over 200,000 residents. Leiden is well-known as a university city and has been a major European centre for research and innovation for over four hundred years.

Leiden is a multicultural and vibrant city thanks to its youthful population, and the city is full of exciting recreational activities outside the classroom. The city offers the best of Dutch and Western European living standards – high public safety levels, excellent urban infrastructure, well-connected public transport, and a citywide shared educational infrastructure that all Leiden-based students can benefit from.

What’s more, with as many as 90% of Dutch residents speaking English, you will never have a problem while travelling and exploring the Netherlands as an international student. Leiden also has a rich culture of artistic talent, with world-famous painters including Rembrandt having been born in the Dutch city. Currently, the city has nearly 15,000 foreign residents in addition to the international students on campus at Leiden’s universities.

Top Universities in Leiden

Leiden University

Leiden University is the oldest university in the Netherlands, having been founded over 4 centuries ago in 1575! Today, the university operates on campuses in Leiden and The Hague, which is located nearby.

With as many as 16 Nobel Prize winners having studied at Leiden University over the years, the university has developed a world-famous reputation as a centre for excellence in research and innovation across disciplines. This includes both scientific disciplines as well as social science & political research, especially in the Leiden University campus at The Hague, the city considered to be the world’s capital of international politics.

Research centres at Leiden University include Leiden Institute of Area Studies, the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research and the Leiden Institute of Chemistry. In fact, Leiden University is a founding member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU), a group of 23 top European research universities with a shared commitment to world-class research and innovation.

The university is currently home to over 30,000 enrolled students of which nearly 6,000 are international students. Leiden University operates a partnership to work closely with world-class researchers at the Leiden Bio Science Park, one of the largest science parks in Europe. Leiden University offers 16 English-taught bachelor’s programmes and over 200 English-taught master’s programmes.

University of Applied Sciences Leiden (UAS Leiden)

The Dutch education system features two types of institutions of higher education: research universities and universities of applied sciences.

Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes as well as other postgraduate degree programmes are offered at UAS Leiden to nearly 9,000 enrolled students. Founded in 1986, UAS Leiden is primarily located in the city and operates several satellite campuses and specialised research centres in the South Holland region.

UAS Leiden is well-known for offering world-class vocational degrees which provide you with excellent practical experience alongside academic degrees. The university is highly ranked for its master’s degrees in nursing and physical therapy.

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

Originally known as the Royal Academy and founded in 1842, Delft University of Technology is the largest university of technology in the Netherlands. Situated half an hour south of Leiden in the student city of Delft, the university is home to nearly 16,000 enrolled students including almost 5,000 international students.

All master’s degrees at Delft University are taught in English. Undergraduate students should research the Delft University course list to identify courses taught in English, because many undergraduate-level courses are taught in Dutch.

Delft University operates multiple strategic partnerships with world-leading corporations, research organisations and top-ranked foreign universities on various research projects across disciplines. World-class research centres at Delft University include the Delft University Wind Research Institute (DUWIND), the Adhesion Institute and the TU Delft Space Institute.

Delft University shifted to a primary campus in the Mekelpark neighbourhood in 2006, having previously had academic buildings located all over the city. Delft University guarantees exciting and engaging activities for international students outside the classroom on its Mekelpark campus, where it operates more than 140 sports and creative organisations through its Sports and Culture Centre.

Webster University Leiden

Founded in 1915 in Missouri, USA, Webster University operates as many as six overseas large-scale campuses. In 1983, Webster University founded its Netherlands branch in Leiden, which is home to nearly 400 enrolled students every year, often from more than 50 nationalities.

Webster University Leiden offers degree programmes based on the American liberal arts model, which means 4-year undergraduate courses with great flexibility in terms of the courses and degrees that you select and pursue.

Webster Leiden offers degree programmes in multiple disciplines including management, psychology and art. Additionally, the university operates an urban satellite campus in Amsterdam where MBA degrees are taught.

Being part of the worldwide Webster University network gives you great access to opportunities for support as an international student as well as for post-graduate employment. Moreover, you can choose to apply for a transfer to one of Webster University’s branches in the USA upon completing a year at Webster University Leiden as an international student.

Leiden Universities World Ranking 2022

Below are the top-ranked Leiden universities for international students, with their ranks in two of the world’s most well-respected international university rankings, the QS 2022 University World rankings and the Times Higher Education 2022 Rankings.

For more information about rankings systems and methodologies see our University rankings explained guide.

UniversityQS World Ranking 2022Times Higher Education Ranking 2022QS Rank in the NetherlandsTHE Rank in the Netherlands
Delft University of Technology57=7526
Leiden University=1127144

List of other top-ranked Colleges & Universities in Leiden

Alongside the four top-ranked universities in and around Leiden, the city and its nearby region have a lot more to offer in terms of top-ranked institutes specialising in fields of study including art and the social sciences. Below are some of the top-ranked institutes for international students in Leiden and The Hague nearby:

  • Hotelschool The Hague
  • Hague University of Applied Sciences
  • Royal Conservatoire The Hague
  • Royal Academy of Art
  • La Haye Global University for Journalism and Media

Tuition and Living Costs in Leiden

International students from the EU/EEA, Suriname or Switzerland can benefit from highly affordable tuition fees between 750 and 2,200 US Dollars per year at Dutch public universities. Depending on the degree programme and course selection, international students from all other countries pursuing undergraduate degrees can expect to pay between 6,000 and 15,000 US Dollars per annum. Master’s degree programmes at Leiden universities cost between 8,000 and 20,000 US Dollars per year. You can expect to pay at least 15,000-22,500 US Dollars for a degree at private universities such as Webster University Leiden as an international student.

As for living expenses, Leiden University estimates that you will require between 950-1350 US Dollars per month. This budget includes 500-850 US Dollars for rent and utilities, 200-250 US Dollars for food expenses, 75-100 US Dollars for transport and another 150-200 US Dollars for entertainment and miscellaneous expenses. Current Netherlands student visa rules enable you to work up to 16 hours every week, and full-time between June and August. Many international students in Leiden secure part-time employment and internships to offset living and tuition expenses.

Life in Leiden for International Students

Leiden has plenty of attractions and landmarks for you to enjoy while you take a well-deserved break from academics at one of Leiden’s universities. Additionally, the city is less than half an hour away from some of the Netherland’s largest and tourist-favourite destinations such as The Hague to its south and Amsterdam in the north.

International students can easily travel from their home countries straight to Leiden via Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, a major international hub that receives flights from all over the world. The Netherland’s excellent train network also enables you to travel all over the country and admire the beauty of the Dutch countryside, as well as nearby regions in Germany, Belgium and France.

Being a popular student city, Leiden is full of recreational event venues, nightclubs and outdoor areas where you can socialise with fellow students. Below are a few of Leiden’s must-visit venues for international students:

  • Naturalis Biodiversity Centre
  • National Museum of Antiquities
  • Hortus Botanicus Leiden
  • National Museum of Ethnology
  • Museum De Lakenhal
  • De Valk
  • Rijksmuseum Boerhaave
  • Japan Museum SieboldHuis
  • Hooglandse Kerk Church
  • Corpus Museum
  • Singelpark
  • Leiden American Pilgrim Museum
  • Temple of Taffeh
  • Young Rembrandt Studio
  • Huig Park

Leiden offers you the chance to study and live in one of Europe’s oldest student cities, with a vibrant atmosphere, sizable international student community and world-class universities. The fact that Leiden is just a short drive away from major cities such as Amsterdam means that Leiden universities offer you both the focused atmosphere of an academic town as well as the excitement of life in big cities without any of its disadvantages and distractions.

See all universities in the Netherlands.

Study in the Netherlands

Search for courses now

Sign up to

Sign up to, the home of quality study abroad advice.

Sign up now
Students with books and test tubes

International study advice

Read our key advice article to help you make the best decision for your education and start your International study adventure.

Person holding a compass
How to choose the ideal study destination for you

In this article we look at how to approach choosing where in the world you would like to study.

World map on a blackboard
Deciding to study abroad: The first steps

Read StudyLink's suggestions on your first steps when deciding where to study abroad, with helpful tips to make your decision easier.

Students reading a book
English Language Testing for International Students

Find out more about English language tests, your options and what is required as an overseas student.

Lady holding bank notes
How much does it really cost to study abroad in 2024? take a detailed look into the costs of studying abroad and all the aspects that you should budget for when embarking on your studies.

A visa document
10 Common Student Visa Question

We answer 10 common questions about applying for a student visa to help make your visa application quick and easy.

A visa document and a world map
International Study Visas

Find out more about international student visas for studying abroad, as well as how, where and when to apply for yours.

A piggy bank with coins
Funding and Scholarships for International Students

Find out more about funding and scholarships for international students, and what financial assistance might be available to you.

Person selecting a book from a shelf
How to choose the right course for you

How to choose a course that fits you? Check our top tips on choosing which course is best for you to help you make an informed decision.

See more international study advice
Search for courses