Better choose Leiden


The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is coming to Amsterdam: the Dutch capital is thrilled, and so is Leiden. Leiden is a true knowledge city where ample scientific research takes place in areas such as Life Sciences & Health. Therefore, EMA’s upcoming move is an interesting development for the Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum (LUMC) and the companies located at the Leiden Bio Science Park. Besides being a knowledge city, Leiden is also great place to live. Over 12,000 working internationals  have settled with their families in Leiden or the Leiden region (Leiderdorp, Oegstgeest, Voorschoten and Zoeterwoude). This region has a lot to offer for internationals and their families. We would like to share with you some reasons why the Leiden region is worth considering as a place to live when you emigrate to the Netherlands.

Are you familiar with the Leiden region?
Leiden is a lively city with a historic city centre. In 1575, the first university in the Netherlands was founded in Leiden and, today, the city is known to have relatively well-educated residents. Leiden has approximately 123,800 residents and is situated in the Randstad, the largest urbanized area in the Netherlands. Due to its strategic location between the Hague and Amsterdam, the city is easily accessed by road and public transport. Leiden is an approximate 30 minute drive from Amsterdam, and regular direct trains connect to Amsterdam Centre, RAI and the Zuidas of Amsterdam. You can catch a train to these stations every 15 minutes or half hour.

The ‘Green Heart’, villages and international schools

In the centre of the urbanized Randstad lies the Groene Hart (‘Green Heart’), a green area of polders, lakes and small wildlife areas. Thanks to the Groene Hart, Leiden’s location is ideal: large cities at close proximity and easily accessible due to a solid infrastructure, and plenty of quiet spots and recreational options in the Groene Hart. Many Leiden residents get out on their bicycles in the Summer, or go for walks in the surrounding areas such as the nature areas de Vlietlanden and de Kagerplassen.


A number of small municipalities are located in this green environment: Leiderdorp, Voorschoten and Oegstgeest, for instance. These are also great places to live, each village has a characteristic centre and various housing estates where many (young) families reside. The area offers space, as well as good facilities such as medical and dental care, shopping centres, sports clubs and cultural facilities. In addition, the international schools are located here. The Elckerlyc International Primary School is located in Leiderdorp, and the Rijnlands Lyceum International school and The British School are located in Oegstgeest and Voorschoten, respectively. International families can also choose one of the Dutch schools in the region. There are several Dutch schools in the region that offer bilingual education.

Additional information on education in the Netherlands 

The Netherlands is a safe country, and Leiden scores highly in terms of safety and quality of living. Compared to cities like Amsterdam and the Hague, crime rates in Leiden are low, and its residents feel a comparatively high sense of safety. The national security monitor, an annual survey conducted among Dutch citizens, shows that residents from the Leiden region give positive ratings to themes such as quality of living and safety in their living environment. The survey also shows that their views on safety are more positive than average in the Netherlands. The residents of Leiden also have a more positive outlook when it comes to themes such as social nuisance, traffic nuisance and deterioration of residential areas.


Culture in Leiden

By Dutch standards, Leiden is a medium-sized city. The city centre boasts over 2800 unique monuments, many museums and a variety of restaurants and cafés. Leiden University and its students are part of social life in the city. The large number of young residents in Leiden also adds to the city’s lively atmosphere. Leiden also has a lot to offer when it comes to art and culture. Major events in the Leiden region are, for example, the national holidays Koningsdag (King’s Day, 27 April) and Bevrijdingsdag (Liberation Day, 5 May). Leidens Ontzet (The Relief of Leiden) is celebrated annually on 2 and 3 October in Leiden. During this local public holiday, Leiden residents commemorate and celebrate the fact that Leiden withstood the Spanish siege of the city during the Eighty Years’ War.
Additional information on everyday life in the Leiden region 


Due to the growing number of internationals settling in the Leiden region, the city’s character is becoming increasingly international. At present, over 12,000 internationals live in the region, 3600 of which are expats and their families. The number of expats increases by approximately 8 per cent per year. Many international students also live and study in Leiden.






Many internationals don’t just live in the Leiden region, they also work for companies in the city or region. A considerable number of internationals work at the Leiden Bio Science Park. During the eighties of the last century, this business park was developed and, today, approximately sixty large biotechnological companies and knowledge institutes are located there. The area is the largest life science cluster in the Netherlands. The Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum (LUMC: Leiden University Medical Centre) is located at the edge of the Bio Science Park. The LUMC takes a prominent position in leading international rankings, and conducts cutting-edge research in various medical fields.

Leiden is a charming city, surrounded by a large polder and nature area. It’s the perfect operating base for people who work in other, larger cities in the Randstad. Please do not hesitate to contact the Expat Centre Leiden for additional information about living in the Leiden region. The Expat Centre Leiden provides a warm welcome to expats who live in Leiden. We offer government services and information, and have created an extensive network for internationals in the city and the Leiden region.

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