International Links - Leiden, Netherlands

Twin Towns - Leiden Holland

With all the charms of Amsterdam and none of the hassle, Leiden makes for the perfect cultural getaway for families and young people. The home of the oldest university in The Netherlands, Leiden is full of bookshops, printing works and students on bikes - much like Oxford itself. Set against the stunning backdrop of traditional Dutch architecture and picturesque canals, Leiden is known as the ‘museum-city’ of the Netherlands.

If museums aren’t your thing, take a stroll down Leiden’s scenic shopping streets or hop on a canal-boat for a different angle of the town.

Leiden is situated just twenty minutes from Amsterdam airport, and forty minutes from The Hague.

Whether you’re visiting for a weekend, or a longer trip, Leiden is the perfect base for a holiday in the Netherlands. 

Oxford has been twinned with Leiden since 1946 - it is Oxford's oldest twinning link.

Oxford Leiden Link

The Oxford-Leiden Link was established immediately after the Second World War as part of a movement to foster friendship among nations, and has adapted and evolved over the years to reflect changing lifestyles.

It is estimated that about 10,000 people on both sides of the North Sea have been involved in our cultural, sporting and social activities since 1946, giving them a valuable insight into the cultures and customs of our two cities and countries. 

One of the most satisfying developments has been the introduction of multi-twinning events, in which young people from all Oxford's twinning links have come together to perform in concerts, festivals and stage productions, widening participants' experience and giving twinning a higher profile in the community.  

Two official exchanges are held every year - in May, a party from Oxford visits Leiden to remember the victims of war on the Dutch Remembrance Day, and in November, a party from Leiden visits Oxford for our Remembrance Day. Cultural and sporting groups exchange during the rest of the year, at times to suit themselves. A group from Oxford often visits Leiden on October 3rd when, every year, the citizens of Leiden celebrate the end of the city's siege by the Spaniards in 1574. The traditional 'hutspot' meal is eaten and herrings and bread are distributed from Leiden Town Hall.

For more information and how to become a member please visit the Oxford Leiden Association website.