Leiden University and Leiden Law School

Leiden University is the oldest university in the Netherlands. It was founded in 1575, as a gift from William of Orange to the citizens of Leiden.

Leiden University

Bastion of Liberty
It was the first university in the Netherlands where freedom of belief and religion was practiced, as reflected by the university’s motto, Praesidium Libertatis, Bastion of Liberty. It was in this atmosphere of freedom of speech that philosophers like Spinoza and Descartes were able to develop their ideas.

Master's programmes in English
Nowadays, Leiden is one of the most broad-based universities in the Netherlands, offering more than 80 Master’s programmes with some 270 specialisations in English.

Prestigious research
With the aim of promoting fundamental research, Leiden University has entered into an alliance with the most prestigious research universities in Europe to form the (League of European Research Universities).

Leiden’s legal tradition

Leiden Law School, the largest in the Netherlands, is located in a beautifully renovated national monument in the historic heart of the city.

The University was originally founded in February 1575. The university’s tradition in law is equally historic, and has always been a corner stone of the universities teaching and research. The teaching of legal theories dates back to the time of Hugo de Groot (Grotius, often referred to as the ‘Mozart of International Law’, started his studies at Leiden University at age 11). Hugo de Groot was one of the founders of the international public legal order and a strong defender of freedom of the open seas. See Winkepedia.

Dutch Civil Code
In more recent times, Leiden Professor E.M. Meijers was asked in 1947 to draw up a proposal for a new Dutch Civil Code. This eventually led to the present new Code, the first Civil Code in any country to have been completely rewritten since Napolean. The innovative character of the code as well as the solid comparative research supporting it, quickly made the new Dutch Civil Code a prime model for law reform.  
Legal infrastructures
Throughout history, economic changes such as deglobalisation, deregulation and growth of national, international and transnational trades has meant a need for a equally changing legal infrastructure to match. Leiden Law School has played a major role throughout these years in the change of legal infrastructures both at home and abroad and thus remains one of the most thriving and exciting Law Schools todate.

National monument
Leiden Law School, the oldest and largest in the Netherlands, is located in a beautifully renovated national monument in the historic heart of the city. In addition, Leiden Law School has established the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, located in a 400-year old building at Leiden University’s Campus The Hague.

Last Modified: 07-05-2012